Alan Canter, whose family deli has been a late night fixture in Hollywood for decades, has died. He passed Friday of natural causes, according to his family.
Relatives wrote a tribute on Facebook: “He kept his family legacy alive and built and L.A. landmark. He worked 18-hour shifts and took pride in hand-cutting each fruit cup. He taught his children how to run this business just as his father taught him. We are deeply saddened by this loss.”
Al Canter’s father, Ben Canter, and his brothers opened the original deli in 1931 in Boyle Heights. In 1953, Canter’s moved into its North Fairfax Avenue home, and became one of the city’s first 24-hour restaurants, a favored haunt for club goers, stars, rockers and just the merely hungry. The deli has also been the site of numerous parties, and hosts music in the famed Kibbitz Room. It is now run by the third and fourth generation of the family.
The deli’s website boasts that “many celebrities have passed through our doors. In the 50s Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller ate here, as did Jack Benny and Elizabeth Taylor. Other celebrity noshers include Sydney Poitier, Mel Brooks, Wilt Chamberlain, Charlene Tilton, Brooke Shields, Jacqueline Bisset, Catherine Oxenberg, John Travolta, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Buddy Hackett, Olivia Newton John, Muhammad Ali, Monty Hall, Bill Cosby, David Brenner, Rodney Dangerfield, Dick Van Dyke, Shelly Winters, Elizabeth Montgomery, The Cars, Henry Winkler, and Greg Morris.
“The producer of Miami Vice, Michael Mann, wrote here for hours at a time when he was writing for Vegas. The Neil Simon movie, “I Ought to be in Pictures”, with Walter Matthau was filmed here. Many celebrities who prefer to go “incognito” sneak in around 3:00 am for a late night nosh!
A memorial for Al Canter is scheduled for Monday at 12:30 p.m. at Mount Sinai Memorial Park in Los Angeles, the restaurant said.