Harold Dobbs; Bay Area Leader

<i> From Times Staff and Wire Reports</i>

Harold Dobbs, a longtime San Francisco supervisor who challenged Joseph Alioto for mayor and co-owned the prototype restaurant for the movie “American Graffiti,” has died after a lengthy battle with leukemia. He was 75.

Dobbs, known for his devotion to the city, died at his home Aug. 14.

“He was a man who would forgo his own business and personal life to serve the city,” said former Mayor George Christopher, who served on the Board of Supervisors with Dobbs. “His death is a great loss to San Francisco.”

A native of Rosell, N.J., Dobbs served as supervisor from 1952 to 1964. He ran for mayor in 1963, 1967 and 1971, finishing second behind Alioto in his final race. Dobbs campaigned against the popular Alioto using the slogan “Have you had enough?”


Dobbs was also a successful corporate lawyer, bowling center operator and restaurateur. With partner Mel Weiss, he established the original Mel’s Drive-In restaurant in 1947, which later became a chain.

The original served as the centerpiece for the movie “American Graffiti.”

Time magazine named Dobbs among its “100 Young Leaders of Tomorrow” when he was in his 30s.

Dobbs is survived by his wife of 53 years, Annette Dobbs; four children and many grandchildren.