Monday, May 17, 2004 | 8:48 a.m.
As a youngster during the Depression, Morrie Hazan developed a keen sense for the business world.
His father, Abraham, a flower peddler, would give Morrie flowers and tell him how much to charge. Morrie, however, discovered he could sell them for twice what his father wanted. Soon he had a thriving business from downtown Los Angeles to the beach, covering the route in a pony-drawn cart.
It was that drive and business sense, his family said, that made Hazan a successful businessman in both Los Angeles and Las Vegas from the 1940s until his retirement in the 1980s.
Morris A. "Morrie" Hazan, founder of the Western Linen Co. in Las Vegas and The Original Cookie Co. in Los Angeles, died Saturday from complications of Alzheimer's disease at his Los Angeles home. He was 86.
Services are scheduled today in Los Angeles at Hillside Mortuary's Memorial Park.
"My father was a character who was always doing things for everyone," said Lovee Arum of Las Vegas, wife of boxing promoter Bob Arum.
"During World War II at his Westside Market on Sunset Boulevard he would serve free spaghetti dinners to the GIs. It was his way to help the war effort," she said. He was not able to enlist because he had asthma, she said.
A frequent visitor to Las Vegas starting in the 1940s, Hazan enjoyed shooting craps. He befriended casino bosses at major resorts, including the Desert Inn and Flamingo.
"He told them that he wanted to build a motel here, but they advised him to instead open a linen supply business," Arum said. "In 1952 my father went into business with Louis Zipperman and they opened the Western Linen in Las Vegas."
Western Linen became one of the nation's highest volume linen-rental firms and serviced nearly every hotel in town at one time. Arum said all of her father's contracts with major resorts early on were done on a hand shake.
Hazan, who bought out Zipperman and became sole owner of Western Linen in the late 1960s, sold the company in the early 1980s.
Born Feb. 13, 1918, in Los Angeles, Hazan was the third of four children of Isle of Rhodes immigrants Abraham Hazan and the former Esther Alhadef.
After graduating from high school in Los Angeles, Hazan ventured into retail, opening his own produce stand. He later contracted to operate a produce section of grocery store on Sunset Boulevard. Eventually, he bought the store and renamed it Westside Market.
For a while, Hazan catered to the major Hollywood studios and, in the 1950s, purchased a fleet of trucks and opened Hazan's, a home-delivery supermarket. Each week he sent a truck with top-quality produce to Las Vegas hotels.
Hazan also became a top liquor retailer in Beverly Hills and a successful real estate investor.
He also founded The Original Cookie Co., which is known for its chocolate chip and sugar butter cookies. Arum said her father shipped the cookie dough to stores in malls across the nation and instructed them to open the kitchen doors while the cookies were baking so that the sweet aroma would waft through the malls, encouraging sales.
A philanthropist, Hazan was a supporter of several charities, including the City of Hope and Israel Children's Centers.
In addition to his daughter, Hazan is survived by his wife, Shila, of Los Angeles; another daughter, Judy Carmel of Los Angeles; a son, Bucky Hazan of Los Angeles; two stepchildren, Caryn Krasne and David Krasne, both of Southern California; five grandchildren, Dena duBoef, Todd duBoef, Candy Barasch, Bradley Carmel and David Hazan; and three great grandchildren.
Hazan was preceded in death by his sisters Raina, Tillie and Rita.
His family says donations can be made in Morrie Hazan's memory to OPICA, an organization that provides programs for Alzheimer's and other aging people, at 11759 Missouri Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90025; or Keep Memory Alive, 8400 S. Jones Blvd., Las Vegas, NV 89139.03