By  on August 27, 2007

LONDON — Mark Birley, a true English gentleman who founded the legendary London clubs Annabel's and Harry's Bar, died Friday at age 77. The already-ailing Birley suffered a massive stroke and died in a London hospital, according to a spokesman.

Birley was famous for his perfectionism, impeccable style, ultrapolished clubs and sharp sense of humor. A tall, slim man with the bearing of a praying mantis, Birley's shirts and shoes were handmade in Italy and his suits in Savile Row. He had a taste for Cohiba cigars, fine whiskey and fine food, but also liked nothing better than to entertain at his home in Knightsbridge, serving simple roast chicken in his kitchen.

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