Bell had opened a few fast food chains around Southern California after World War II, starting with a rival to McDonald's in San Bernardino. He also started Der Wienerschnitzel, but his biggest success was the Taco Bell concept he launched in Downey in 1962. When he sold to Pepsi in 1978, he had 868 stores. Bell died in Rancho Santa Fe in the San Diego area. Release
This seems like a recurring series: the founders of Southern California fast-food icons passing away. A partial list of other fast food places that originated in SoCal includes McDonald's, In-N-Out, Carl's Jr., Jack in the Box, Fatburger, Johnny Rocket's and Tail o' the Pup. Plus restaurants and other brand names such as Bob's Big Boy, IHOP, Sizzler, Denny's, El Torito, Du-Par's and Baskin-Robbins — and many more.