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Arts & Culture

Big Macs and Bigger Checks: The Surprising Life Of Joan Kroc

Joan Kroc at a news conference in 1984.
Greg Vojtko
/
AP Photo
Joan Kroc at a news conference in 1984.

Ray Kroc is the man who transformed McDonald’s from a family restaurant in San Bernardino, California to one of the biggest corporations in the world. 

His life was a rags to riches story, and he was known to be tempestuous both in his business and personal life. The story that is not as well known is that of his wife Joan Kroc. She lived a lavish lifestyle, and used a private jet as others would a sedan. Yet she also became a formidable philanthropist. Writer and journalist Lisa Napoli profiles Joan Kroc in her book “Ray & Joan: The Man Who Made the McDonald’s Fortune and the Woman who Gave It All Away” (Dutton/2016).

Napoli speaks with host Frank Stasio about the enigmatic character and riffs on what the new Hollywood movie “The Founder” got right and wrong about Joan and Ray’s story. 

This segment originally aired Oct. 11, 2017.

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