Murray Lender of Lender's Bagels holds a heart-shaped bagel in this 1965 photo.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Murray Lender, who helped make bagels a breakfast staple for Americans nationwide with Lender's Bagels, has died at the age of 81.
A spokeswoman for Pinnacle Foods, which now owns the Lender's brand, said Lender passed away on Wednesday.
Lender's was founded in 1927 by Harry Lender, a Polish immigrant and Murray's father. It started as a family bakery in New Haven, Connecticut, beginning frozen bagel production in 1962 as Murray and his brother Marvin led the company's expansion.
The Lenders eventually sold the business to Kraft Foods ( , Fortune 500) in 1984, and it was acquired by Pinnacle in 2004.
"Murray was crucial in the development and expansion of the Lender's bagel brand," Pinnacle spokeswoman Elizabeth Rowland said in a statement. "His innovative idea of freezing fresh bagels made it possible to distribute Lenders nationally and for consumers all across America to experience an authentic New York style bagel."
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