Jeno Paulucci, Pizza Roll Inventor, Dies at 93

This Jeno's Pizza Roll commercial, by Stan Freberg, is a parody of an earlier commercial for Lark cigarettes — the "show us your Larks" campaign, which filmed supposedly ordinary Americans flashing their coffin nails.

20100719-tpr-beauty.jpgJeno Paulucci, the man responsible for what are known today as Totino's Pizza Rolls, died on Thursday at home in Duluth, Minnesota, of renal and coronary failure, according to the New York Times obituary.

[Update: This Wall Street Journal obit has much more info and color.]

If his given name isn't a tip-off, you should know that Mr. Paulucci invented Jeno's Pizza Rolls in 1968, which later took on the Totino's name when Paulucci sold the company to Pillsbury in 1985.

Mr. Paulucci got his start in the ready-made food business as the creator of Chun King, a canned chop suey product at first, which he eventually expanded into a whole line of prepared Chinese foods.

At the time of his death, Mr. Paulucci was running Michelina's, which sold a line of ready-made pastas and Mexican food that he founded in the 1990s.

At Slice, our condolences go out to Mr. Paulucci's family, friends, and fans. And I count myself among his fans. I mean, how can you not love pizza rolls?

See also...

Totino's Pizza Rolls: How Can You NOT Love Them?!? »
How to Make Homemade Pizza Rolls »
Watch the "Pizza Roll Challenge" in Reverse »
When Would You Ever Need 120 Pizza Rolls?!? »