Did Jack Durant, owner and founder of Phoenix's most popular old-time supper club, really leave his restaurant to his dog?
Durant died without heirs, and with nearly $500,000 in certificates of deposit in a safe deposit box — not to mention Durant's, a dining tradition here since 1950, one that grosses millions of dollars every year. Although he'd been through five wives in his lifetime, Durant was unmarried at the time of his death; there was no widow to leave anything to. He had no children. But there was Humble, Durant's English bulldog, then eight years old and listed, as the story goes, as his chief beneficiary.
"To my dog, Humble," read Durant's last will and testament, "I leave my home, furniture, and cash in the sum of $50,000." The document also stipulated that a caretaker be hired to care for Humble in Durant's 2,500-square-foot Phoenix home, which was not to be sold while the dog was still living.
It wasn't. And Humble lived on there, reportedly trashing the place so badly that, when the house was sold after the dog's death (exactly one year to the day after his master's demise), most of the furnishings had to be junked and a lot of the flooring replaced. The house sold for about half its market value in 1989, the proceeds going to 21 of Durant's longtime restaurant employees. And the restaurant itself? Its full ownership reverted to Durant's silent partner, Jack McElroy, and not to Mr. Durant's beloved pooch.