McDonald’s is pretty ubiquitous in America; with movies like The Founder and books like Napoli’s Ray & Joan more people are aware of the people responsible for the the Dollar Menu and Happy Meal. Napoli’s biography details the life of Ray Kroc, who eventually bought the company from the McDonald brothers, and his relationship with his third wife, Joan.
“You fell in love with your present wife before you married your second wife.”
“Yeah… yup, yup,” said Ray, grinning as the mostly female studio audience fell silent.
“But she was… not ready,” Phil Donahue countered.
“That’s right,” said Ray, unashamed.
“So you got married to somebody else. You’re married to someone else and she calls and says, ‘I’m ready.'”
“Well, not quite that way,” Ray paused and explained. “sometimes it takes ladies a long time to get ready.”
Kroc was an alcoholic and bit of a bully, especially his dealings with the original McDonald’s founders, but he did have vision and ambition. He fell blindingly in love with Joan, a married piano player almost three decades his junior, at first sight. Their courtship was bumpy, both were married when they first fell in love, and it took several attempts by Kroc to win Joan over.
After Ray’s death Joan took to spending his money on various charities- often donating anonymously- becoming one of the largest philanthropists of the 20th Century. Even if you aren’t a fan of McNuggets this is a fascinating read about two complicated individuals.