Madame Sylvia Wu, whose iconic restaurant Madame Wu’s Garden served Hollywood A-listers for decades, has died. She was 106 years old.
According to Los Angeles Timesthe popular restaurateur passed away on September 29.
When Wu, her husband and their three children moved from New York to Los Angeles, she was shocked by the inauthentic Cantonese dishes in the city, and she wanted to change that. So, he opened his first restaurant in Santa Monica in 1959, once his children were off to boarding school, and he had some free time on his hands.
Madam Wu’s Garden started from a small space and then upgraded to a huge site after picking up steam. According to Times, Wu started his new restaurant business by writing a letter to his church members and asking a friend, a studio executive, to spread the word. It paid off.
Wu’s restaurant quickly became famous for its celebrity clientele, including Cary Grant, Mae West, Frank Sinatra, Mia Farrow, Elizabeth Taylor, Johnny Carson, Carol Burnett, Walter Matthau, Robert Redford, Paul Newman, Tom Cruise and Steven As the stars were involved. Spielberg, among others.
He closed the restaurant in 1998 as hipper and more casual Chinese places opened and tastes changed in the city. At the time, he also talked about wanting to spend more time with his grandchildren, but it didn’t take him long to come out of retirement.
The restaurateur opened a new location, Madam Wu’s Asian Bistro and Sushi, in the then-New Grove shortly after, but it didn’t last as long, though people still loved it.
Wu is survived by his two sons, George and Patrick, and numerous grandchildren. Her husband died in 2011.