BELOVED MUSSO & FRANK BARTENDER
RUBEN RUEDA DIES AT 67 OF NATURAL CAUSES
Ruben Rueda, who worked his magic as a bartender at Hollywood’s iconic Musso and Frank Grill for a remarkable 52 years, passed away on Friday, April 26 of natural causes at age 67 at Whittier Hospital Medical Center. The announcement was made by Mark Echeverria, the restaurant’s COO/CFO/Proprietor, and a fourth-generation family member/owner.
“Ruben always knew just what a customer needed, whether it was an ear to bend, or a joke to lighten the mood,” commented Mr. Echeverria. “He brought professionalism and kindness to his work every day, and his loss will deeply affect many guests and colleagues who long counted him as a friend. Our family has run Musso’s for four generations, and to us, Ruben was, without question, a member of our family.”
Walking past Musso & Frank Grill in 1967 at the age of 19, Ruben Rueda, a native of Durango, Mexico, decided to simply walk in and apply for a job as a server assistant. After several years in that role, Ruben wound up serving as a bartender for the remainder of his 52-year tenure, working up until a few months ago. From his place behind the bar, Rueda crossed paths with many of the brightest luminaries of the literary, entertainment and music worlds of the last half-century, including such notables as Keith Richards as well as other members of The Rolling Stones, Johnny Depp, Rock Hudson, Orson Welles, Raymond Burr, Charles Bukowski, Steve McQueen, John Lennon, and Gore Vidal, among other regular customers.
When asked about his legendary role as “Hollywood’s Bartender,” Rueda would answer, “Mostly I like to talk to people, and I make people happy. That's my job. But I don't work at Musso & Frank because I want to work in a bar, I work here because I like these people because I know these people. I work in the greatest place on Earth. This is home. I see my customers more than I see my wife. I've been working here almost all my life. I'm a happy guy. And this place is here to stay!”
Mr. Echeverria adds, “Ruben helped define what Musso & Frank is all about by making guests feel both in another world and yet very much at home at the same time. He was renowned for treating each and every patron like a star—one of the many reasons he became such an integral part of the incomparable Musso & Frank ‘experience.’ I’m heartened that Ruben lived long enough to help us celebrate our 100th anniversary milestone. We will do everything in our power to honor his memory all year long, and for countless years to come.”
Rueda, who lived in Whittier, CA, is survived by his wife, Maria Olga Rueda, a son, Leonard, who also works at Musso & Frank Grill as both a server and a bookkeeper, and a daughter, Cynthia, mother to Rueda’s two grandchildren Brooke, a UCLA student, and Sebastian, a student currently attending a university in Spain.
Founded in 1919, the legendary Musso & Frank Grill, located at 6667 Hollywood Boulevard, is currently celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.
Story By: Jose Martinez
Photography Courtesy Of: Musso & Frank Grill