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RIP Irvine Robbins, co-founder of ice cream empire

May 6, 2008 |  5:01 pm

Irvine_robbins_helped_bring_you_31_ Irvine Robbins opened his first ice cream shop in Glendale in 1945. He died yesterday of complications related to old age. More details about the man who, along with his  brother-in-law and partner, Burton Baskin, went on to create the Baskin Robbins empire, from Valerie J. Nelson:

When the Dodgers came to Los Angeles in 1958, they were greeted with Baseball Nut, complete with raspberries for the umpires. Lunar Cheesecake was launched the day after man landed on the moon in 1969. At the height of Beatlemania in 1964, a reporter asked Robbins what flavor would salute the Fab Four; Baskin-Robbins had yet to invent one, but Robbins replied, "Uh, Beatle Nut, of course" and had it in stores in five days.

He delighted in inventing new flavors and naming them, including Plum Nuts (plums, vanilla and walnuts), ChaChaCha (cherry chocolate chip), or his personal favorite, Jamoca Almond Fudge. By the time he retired in 1978, the company was selling some 20 million gallons of ice cream a year in more than 2,000 stores around the world.

The son of a dairyman, Robbins grew up scooping cones in his family's Tacoma, Wash., ice cream store for customers who always seemed to be having a good time. He recalled that he often "finished a day's work happy" and wanted that same feeling when he started his own business.

Read more in Valerie's story here.

--Veronique de Turenne

Photo: AP