When he was 7, Glazer’s father died, so he went to work (delivering newspapers). He worked hard, and he was successful developing a series of businesses with a childhood pal, Vincent Marotta. “They were best friends and 50/50 business partners in everything for 60 years,” says Glazer’s wife, Jeanne. No business was more successful than their North American Systems. The duo hired two engineers to work out an idea they had: to make an affordable consumer-level drip coffeemaker to replace the 1700s technology used by most consumers at the time: percolators. Their new machine, introduced in 1972, was a quick hit, ramping up to sell 38,000 machines per day within three years, making it the best-selling coffeemaker in America. They called it “Mr. Coffee”.
“They revolutionized the coffee industry,” Jeanne says. “The key was the television commercials. Having Joe DiMaggio as the pitchman was incredible.” The partners sold the company in 1987 for $182 million, and the Glazers retired to Florida, where Sam was known as a generous tipper at restaurants and (yes!) coffee shops. Glazer died March 22 from leukemia. He was 89.