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RIP, Rocky Aoki

2008_07_rocky.jpgThe founder of Benihana and controversial public figure Rocky Aoki, died at age 69 last night. Aoki first popularized teppanyaki cooking when he opened Benihana in New York in 1964. Since then, it's been quite the life: married three times, seven children, launched a porn mag, master boat racer, convicted of insider trading, very public and nasty legal battles with his children, and tens of millions of dollars made from his growing restaurant chain. We drove by the Santa Monica Benihana on Fourth Street the other night and noted a packed house. Here's a flying shrimp for you, Aoki. (Just watch where it lands.) [Bloomberg via Eater NY]