Bob Wian

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Bob Wian
Bob Wian about 1948
Wian about 1948
Born(1914-06-15)June 15, 1914
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US[1]
DiedMarch 31, 1992(1992-03-31) (aged 77)
Burial placePacific View Memorial Park, Corona del Mar, California
OccupationRestaurateur, businessman, fry cook
Years active1933–1969
Known forFounding Bob's Big Boy and the national Big Boy chain; inventing the double-deck hamburger
Board member of
  • Frances Abbott (1935–1956)[1][2]
  • June Ealey Baehler (1957–1992)[3]
Mayor of Glendale, California
In office
October 1948 – April 1949
Preceded byJoseph F. Baudino
Succeeded byGeorge R. Wickham
Bob Wian.svg

Robert C. Wian (June 15, 1914 – March 31, 1992) was the founder of the Big Boy restaurant chain. The restaurant started as a 10-stool hamburger stand in Glendale, California, opening in 1936 with an investment of $300 raised from the sale of his car. Wian sold Bob's Big Boy and rights to the Big Boy chain to the Marriott Corp. in 1967 for $7 million[4] ($54 million in 2020).[5]

Wian was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Robert E. Wian and his wife Cora. The Wians moved to Glendale in 1924 while the younger Wian was still a child.[6] Wian served as the mayor of the city of Glendale from October 1948[7] to April 1949[8] after serving on the city council in 1948[9][10] and replacing a mayor who was removed by a recall election.[11] He resigned four months later, citing conflicts with Bob's Big Boy and "a desire to make an occasional fishing trip".[12] Wian was also a member of the service organization 20-30 Club, serving as president of the local Glendale club, governor of the Southern California district,[13] and as national trustee.[14]

After selling Big Boy, Wian remained as a Marriott vice-president and president of the "Big Boy Restaurants of America" division for about a year, then sat on the Marriott board for an additional year before retiring. As a board member, Wian recommended Marriott approach his friend Roy Rogers about the use of his name to rebrand the corporation's RoBee's Roast Beef chain.

Wian married Frances Abbott in 1935,[1] who bore his only natural son, Robert Paul "Bobby" Wian (1936–1973). Following his divorce from Abbott in 1956,[2] he married June Ealey-Baehler in 1957, becoming step-father to her son, Chapman "Chappy" Baehler, and daughter Barbara Baehler.[3] The couple also adopted a son, Casey, and daughter, Julie. His joy in Casey and Julie, and his time with them too limited by business, influenced his decision to sell Big Boy.[15][16] Wian retired in the 1970s and enjoyed outdoor activities on his 800-acre ranch in Valyermo, CA where he lived until relocating to Newport Beach in 1985.[10] Wian died in Newport Beach, California, in 1992.[17]


  1. ^ a b c "Vital Records: Marriage Licenses Issued". The San Bernardino County Sun. September 11, 1935. p. 17. Retrieved November 17, 2017 – via WIAN-ABBOT—Robert Charles Wian, 21, Pennsylvania, resident of Eagle Rock and Frances Lenore Abbott, 18, New York, resident of Burbank. Free to read
  2. ^ a b "Divorces Granted". The Los Angeles Times. May 11, 1956. p. III–9. Retrieved May 19, 2018 – via WIAN. Frances L. from Robert C. Free to read
  3. ^ a b "Wian, June". Obituaries/funeral announcements. The Los Angeles Times. October 5, 2007. p. B9. Retrieved May 19, 2018 – via Free to read
  4. ^ "Marriott-Hot Shoppes Negotiating Acquisition Of Wian Enterprises". The Wall Street Journal. December 8, 1966. p. 10 es. Alternate Link via ProQuest.
  5. ^ 1634 to 1699: Harris, P. (1996). "Inflation and Deflation in Early America, 1634–1860: Patterns of Change in the British American Economy". Social Science History. 20 (4): 469–505. JSTOR 1171338. 1700-1799: McCusker, J. J. (1992). How much is that in real money?: a historical price index for use as a deflator of money values in the economy of the United States (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1800–present: Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved January 1, 2020.
  6. ^ Yamada, Katherine (November 1, 2003). "Wian estate designated historical landmark". Glendale News-Press.
  7. ^ "Wian Sworn in as Glendale's Youngest Mayor". Los Angeles Times. October 5, 1948. p. 15 – via Free to read Alternate Link via ProQuest.
  8. ^ "Glendale Mayors". City of Glendale. Archived from the original on 2016-03-06. Retrieved 2017-09-11.
  9. ^ "Four Elected to Glendale City Council". Los Angeles Times. September 29, 1948. p. 2 – via Free to read Alternate Link via ProQuest.
  10. ^ a b Lait, Matt (April 1, 1992). "Robert C. Wian, Founder of Bob's Big Boy, Dies at 77". Los Angeles Times.
  11. ^ "Recall Ousts Mayor, Three Councilmen". Los Angeles Times. August 11, 1948. p. B6 – via Mayor Joseph F. Baudino and three Councilmen were recalled in a special election today, the vote running approximately 4 to 3 against them. Free to read Alternate Link via ProQuest.
  12. ^ "Councilman resigns, wants to go fishing". The San Bernardino County Sun. August 31, 1949. p. 14. Retrieved February 2, 2018 – via His resignation from the council was accepted yesterday after he said his business interests and 'a desire to make an occasional fishing trip' conflicted with his civic job. Free to read
  13. ^ "District 20-30 convention set". The Los Angeles Times. June 10, 1944. p. 18. Retrieved December 4, 2017 – via Free to read
  14. ^ "Club to observe Founders' Night: Past presidents of 20-30 to be guests". The San Bernardino County Sun. August 23, 1945. p. 11. Retrieved January 26, 2018 – via Free to read
  15. ^ Searl, Laura (June 9, 1986). "Big Boy's original Bob takes it easy in Newport". Orange County Register. Santa Ana, CA. pp. D1, D4. Retrieved April 23, 2020 – via  'And my kids were growing up before my eyes. I decided it was time to leave.'  Free to read
  16. ^ Hansen, Christian (2002). The Big Boy Story: King of Them All. Santa Barbara: Haagen Printing. pp. 130–131. ISBN 9780967194363.
  17. ^ "Robert C. Wian, Restaurant Founder, 77". The New York Times. April 4, 1992.