Clara Peller

In 1984 Wendy’s aired a commercial where three elderly women were remarking on how big the bun of an enormous hamburger was in front of them. When the top bun is lifted and a tiny patty of beef is revealed, octogenarian actress Clara Peller calls out, “Where’s the beef?” Her famous voice and catchphrase became an instant cult phenomenon across the United States. Clara Peller, who was a manicurist in Chicago, was hired on a temporary basis for a commercial set. The agency that produced the commercial recognized the value of her unique voice and no-nonsense personality, so they signed her up as an actress. She would be the star of commercials for Wendy’s and other products through her early 80s. When she died in 1987, this extraordinary woman was laid to rest in Forest Park’s Jewish Waldheim Cemetery.

Jill Wagner