- October 24, 1936 - October 25, 2016
- Rancho Mirage, California
of Melvyn's Passing
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Arrangements made by
Wiefels Cremation and Funeral Services
Memories & CandlesPrevious
1 of 22 | Posted by: Jerry Kovel - Old Lyme, CT
“I was a very frequent customer at Melvyn's. I became friends with Melvin and the friendship lasted from 1986 when I arrived in Palm Springs until...Read More »
2 of 22 | Posted by: Polly Watson - Chico, CA
“Mr H was the most diversely interesting person I have ever had the honor of knowing. His Love of the Ingleside Inn/Melvyn's was expressed with great...Read More »
3 of 22 | Posted by: Karen Smith - Yucca Valley, CA
4 of 22 | Posted by: Bob Larsen - Palm Springs, CA
“wow! what a man fond memories from the automotive days at automatic radio ...arthur silbert
5 of 22 | Posted by: A friend
“The best dressed man in Palm Springs! Always a pleasure to see him looking so natty. Will miss you, Mel. Love, Tracey
6 of 22 | Posted by: A friend
“Ohhhhh man!This is so sad to me!!What a great person he was!!!I'm so sorry to hear this!!!!I remember working at ingle side inn! Beautiful place!!!
7 of 22 | Posted by: A friend
“Mel, you were a great help to many .... " Alav Ha-shalom" ....thanks for every thing and everyone you have helped in the years...You will be missed...Read More »
8 of 22 | Posted by: PJ Jay - Palm Springs, CA
“My Uncle Mel was Extraordinary. He was "The SUPER MAN" of our entire Family. He was loving. He was giving. He was caring. He was sharing. He was...Read More »
9 of 22 | Posted by: Rich Unger - Sarasota, FL
“Uncle Mel in growing up loved our uncle mike who was in the garment business and was very successful in his time.Uncle Mel went from Brooklyn to the...Read More »
10 of 22 | Posted by: Alan Abramowitz - Henderson, NV
“Rest in peace Mr. "H." I would say that the "H" also, now stands for HEAVENLY. You will be missed.
11 of 22 | Posted by: Lisa Marie Cross - Palm Springs, CA
“Our deepest condolences to your family and loved ones. We never had the pleasure of meeting you but we dined at your restaurant 2 weeks ago and we...Read More »
12 of 22 | Posted by: Nancy Paul - Oakville, ON
“Such sad news about a wonderful man. Rest in peace, Mr. Haber. Enjoy your new life!
13 of 22 | Posted by: Carol Brockman Castro - La Quinta, CA
“I guess God threw away the mould when He created Mel. Sometimes, when I visited The Ingleside Inn & Melvyn's alone, he would chat with me, make me...Read More »
15 of 22 | Posted by: Angie McCartney - Playa del Rey, CA
“We admired you in Life and will Always remember you Fondly.You were and you'll always be the true Spirit of Palm Springs !
16 of 22 | Posted by: Larry and Debra Lee - CA
“I have no words to describe my sadness.He was my idol.My greatest mentor. Thank you Dad for your guidance, support, tough love, and opinions.Losing a...Read More »
21 of 22 | Posted by: Gary Haber - Fontana, CA - Son
“I had the honor and privilege of working for Mr Haber for the past 13 yrs. He was my boss and friend. He was always ready to help when I needed it...Read More »
22 of 22 | Posted by: Hal Aguilar - Palm Springs, CA
Melvyn "Mel" Haber, internationally-acclaimed restaurateur and innkeeper/owner of the historic Ingleside Inn and Melvyn's Restaurant, passed away early Tuesday morning, October 25 from lung cancer and complications of pneumonia.
He will be remembered as a gracious host to the world's elite and a generous humanitarian and philanthropist.
His wit and talent for storytelling was legendary. In his signature self-deprecating manner, Mel Haber often recounted how he managed to parlay virtually no previous experience in the hospitality industry into an enormously successful business despite himself. He characteristically turned his jokes on himself, which was a large part of his charm that endeared him to countless visitors from around the globe.
As an engaging and lively speaker, no one came close to Mel Haber. Haber was regularly invited to speak to numerous groups. His personal journey as a novice restaurateur and hotelier who turned Melvyn's and the Ingleside Inn into celebrated successes served as an inspiring and motivational case history for all ages.
He was invited twice to speak at the prestigious Brandeis University luncheon. On one of those occasions he preceded comedian/TV host Steve Allen who commented, "I can't follow Mel Haber, I should give him my time!"
Haber was a natural promoter and was always eager to grant media interviews. Subsequently, the Ingleside Inn and Melvyn's have received media coverage from every major national and international television, magazine and newspaper outlet including The London Times, The New York Times, 60 Minutes, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, and countless others.
He was a great ambassador of the City of Palm Springs and earned the moniker, "Mr. Palm Springs" for which he will be remembered. He contributed his time and talent to local nonprofits having served on the board of Angel View as president for 25 years and most recently served on the board of SafeHouse of the Desert.
Mel Haber was also an author of two books. The irrepressible restaurateur documented his misadventures and encounters with the rich and famous at his renowned establishment in a 1995 humorous tome called "Bedtime Stories of the Legendary Ingleside Inn." In 2009, he wrote a second book "Palm Springs á la Carte: The Colorful World of the Caviar Crowd at Their Favorite Desert Hideaway," co-written by author Marshall Terrill.
Born in Brooklyn, Melvyn Haber was gifted with business acumen which he applied early on as an executive for a New York automotive novelty company that manufactured dashboard figures and accessories. Of this experience he would joke that the company successfully "produced hundreds of perfectly useless items."
After a visit to Palm Springs in 1974, Haber took a leap of faith and moved to Southern California to start a new life. During this visit he was taken to a property, which was to become the legendary Ingleside Inn. Haber immediately saw the property's charm and fell under its spell. He bought it on the spot and proceeded with massive renovations. In October 1975, on a glamorous opening night, Melvyn's and the Ingleside Inn welcomed the who's who of Palm Springs. It became an overnight success.
In 1979, he parlayed that success into one of the most beautiful and famous discotheques of its time, Cecil's. Patrons formed lines around the block; Cecil's drew numerous celebrities, athletes and dignitaries who danced the night away as Mel Haber encouraged them by blowing his whistle in the DJ booth. Mel continued his string of successful ventures in the 1980s with Doubles, a beautiful restaurant at the Tennis Club, as well as Saturdays, a cozy hamburger joint which also served as an after-hours dancing club. Mel sold Cecil's in 1984 but the community continued to clamor for Mel's return to the dance scene. In 1994 he opened Touché, a world-class dance and dining club in Rancho Mirage.
Mel often credited his success to his loyal staff, many of whom had been with him for up to 40 years – a great testament to the man who was more than a boss but a caring friend. Although the Ingleside Inn and Melvyn's Restaurant is in the process of being sold to a new operator, Mel's legacy will continue.
He is survived by daughter Autumn, 28, of Manhattan Beach, CA; son Gary, 50, of Fontana, CA; and daughter Shani Zimmerman, 47, of Plainview, NY. He was preceded in death by son, Lonny, in 1981. Autumn is the daughter of Mel and his former wife Stephanie Haber. Gary, Shani and Lonny are the children of Mel's first marriage to Pat Haber.
Funeral services for Mel Haber will take place on Thursday, November 3 at 9:30 a.m. at Temple Isaiah, 332 W Alejo Road, Palm Springs, CA. From the Temple, there will be a procession which will pass by his beloved restaurant and inn, Melvyn's and the Ingleside Inn, then continue to Desert Memorial Park 31-705 Da Vall Drive, Cathedral City, where he will be laid to rest. A rededication ceremony for Mel's star from the Palm Springs Walk of Stars will take place at 2:00 p.m. at the Ingleside Inn following the services at 200 W. Ramon Road, Palm Springs.
Funeral arrangements are being made by Wiefels Palm Springs, 760-327-1257.