Many of you may remember BeauRivage Restaurant on Pacific Coast Highway near Solstice Canyon, and its owner and host Daniel Forge, who just passed away at the age of 95. 

If you lived in Malibu in the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s or 2000s, Daniel and his wife Luciana played a role in your life, because it was the sort of place you went to celebrate—weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, in fact, whenever we commemorated anything it was always at BeauRivage. One of my sons was married at BeauRivage. I had my 65th birthday party there, and Karen’s mom’s 90th. 

It wasn’t just the restaurant and the food, and the quiet, and the piano player or guitar. It was really all Daniel and Luciana and a friendly and serene atmosphere they created. Malibu is just a small town and you would meet your friends and neighbors at their restaurant. The personality of them both and their ability to put us all at ease, slow us down, make us remember the joy of life, is one of the things that helped make this a town.  They also attracted the glitterati of movies and TV who were regulars and you nodded to them and that was it. If I sound nostalgic, I am, because today everything is noisier, faster, more frenetic and seemingly constantly in flux. I don’t even remember the paparazzi back then, although there were probably a few.

On Saturday there was a memorial at the old BeauRivage site and 100 people or so—many of the old timers and some of the younger—were there, several of the waiters and chefs, the pianists and customers and friends came to honor Daniel’s memory. We shared his life and his stories and many recalled his generosity to the community through all the tragedies that Malibu faced. 

I remember him saying that as a teenager he sadly remembered the Germans triumphantly marching into Paris and a few years later the Germans straggling out with the resistance on their heels. He was a man who lived life to the fullest, and also had a very personal and loving side. His granddaughters were both there on Saturday, and one, Lauren Elyse Forge, spoke of her grandfather. 

“When I was a little girl, my papa would take me by the hand and lead me to the decadent dessert table at BeauRivage—we both shared a sweet tooth,” she remembered.

“I was fortunate to grow close to my grandfather in his later years starting the summer after losing my dad, when I drove Papa to dialysis three times per week,” she continued. “The little Frenchman kept his spirits high, joking, adoring and flirting with the nurses to the end ... Although I know he’s always with us, he took a piece of our hearts when he left this world and he will be greatly missed.”

To that, we can all say: amen.

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