Saddled with a predilection, if not quite an outright addiction, to too much booze and excessive gambling, Toots Shor somehow avoided being just another Jewish tough guy/borderline crook and instead became one of the most legendary restaurateurs in the history of New York City. His food wasn’t gourmet fair, but that wasn’t really expected in mid-century Manhattan. The key to his success was his way with people, lubricated with plenty of whiskey, and that made his restaurant-saloon into a kind of Valhalla populated by legends of three worlds: sports, entertainment, and crime.

Directed by Schor’s filmmaker granddaughter, Kristi Jacobson, this affectionate but honest documentary portrait from 2006 is constructed largely from reminisces by authors Nicholas Pileggi (“Casino“), Pete Hamill, and Gay Talese; sports personalities Frank Gifford, Yogi Berra, and Joe Garagiola; uber-anchor Walter Cronkite, and many others. More comedy than tragedy, it’s the story of a man whose irresponsibility when it came to practically everything, especially money, was only matched by his sentimental attachment to both friends and family. A full-on gonif who once made his living as professional muscle, but apparently never crossed the line into Murder, Inc. territory, Toots was not a particularly “good” person by any normal definition — except often to the people he loved, and there were apparently quite a lot of them. It’s hard not to like a guy like that.

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