By Bob Jaderberg
Marie Muzzarelli, co-founder of a Las Vegas-style showplace that featured some of the most popular entertainers in American history, died of natural causes Sept. 25 at LaGrange Hospital.
Mrs. Muzzarelli, of Hickory Hills, was 90 years old.
Marie Mitschele met the man she would marry, Arnold Muzzarelli, by chance at a Catholic Youth Organization dance. Marie and her friends had been debating which dance they should attend when one of the girls suggested they go to whichever dance the first arriving bus would take them to. No one knew then the many lives of entertainers, fans, wedding couples, dating couples, prom groups and the like that would be touched by something as random as a bus schedule.
Arnold and Marie later married, and together opened the Sabre Room, 8900 W 95th St. in Hickory Hills, in 1949 on the site of the shuttered Dynell Springs Spa. It was Arnold’s dream to bring a Las Vegas-type show palace to the Midwest and the Muzzarellis worked and lived the dream.
Arnold did a lot of the hard labor himself when the couple was building the now iconic restaurant and show lounge, but Marie was just as active as he was, according to a relative.
“She cooked, took reservations, did just about everything he did except for moving the marble,” she said.
After Arnold died in 1992, Marie continued to oversee the operation of the Sabre Room with the help of her family and friend Art Golden.
Confined to a wheelchair for the last couple of years, Mrs. Muzzarelli still found the time once a week to attend plays and shows in downtown Chicago and dine with her family.
“She did that and she still came in to the restaurant from time to time to oversee activities,” said her son-in-law, Rudy Voit.
Mrs. Muzzarelli, to the end, loved to listen to the music of Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Luciano Pavarotti, Voit added. The former two crooners sang at the Sabre Room during the showplace’s glory days.
Mrs. Muzzarelli was born in Chicago. She is survived by her daughters, Janice and Yvonne; her son, Arnold Jr.; three grandchildren; and family friend, Art Golden.
Visitation was held at Hills Funeral Home in Palos Hills. A funeral and remembrance service for Mrs. Muzzarelli was held at the funeral home and to St. Patricia Church. Entombment was at Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Hillside. A special memorial luncheon for family and friends was held in her honor at the Sabre Room.