January 8, 2022

Restaurant co-owner near infamous LA murder site was 81 – deadline

Steve Restivo, an actor seen in A pretty woman, The diary of a princess and more, who was also a co-owner of Italian restaurant Vitello’s in Studio City in Los Angeles, has passed away. He was 81 years old.

His son, Roy – a longtime former television executive at NBCUniversal – said Restivo died on November 5 at West Hills Hospital after a year-long battle with lung cancer and complications from Covid .

Actor Robert Blake sits at a table outside the Vitello restaurant on October 25, 2005.
AP Photo / Mike Meadows

Restivo has enjoyed an on-screen career spanning over 50 years, finding frequent roles alongside Hector Elizondo and Larry Miller in Garry Marshall’s films including Beaches (1988), Nothing in common (1986), A pretty woman (1990), Frankie and Johnny (1991), Exit to Eden (1994), The other sister (1999), The diary of a princess (2001), Raising Hélène (2004) and The Princess Diaries 2: The Royal Engagement (2004).

Restivo has also appeared in films including The Skateboard Kid 2, Inner Sanctuary II, Hard premium and Sammy-Gate, finding guest roles on the TV side in Quincy me, Cover, Remington steele, The new Adam-12 and Nowhere man.

He and his brother Joe Restivo owned Vitello’s for almost 30 years before the murder of Bonny Lee Bakley – the Emmy winner’s second wife. Baretta actor Robert Blake – outside the restaurant in 2001, which gave the restaurant a new kind of notoriety. Blake was charged with the murder of Bakley in 2002, as well as solicitation of murder, conspiracy and special circumstances of waiting, but a jury found him not guilty of the crimes in 2005. And although Bakley’s children did brought legal action against Blake shortly thereafter, his murder officially remains unsolved.

In the aftermath, the restaurant saw a huge increase in customer numbers, becoming a stop on tourist bus routes and earning frequent TV mentions. Restivo has also been interviewed about the high-profile murder case on TV shows such as Date line, 20/20, 48 hours and, more recently, on Marcia Clark investigates the first 48.

Besides his son Roy, Restivo is survived by his wife Sara; his sons Vince and Steve Jr.; his brother Salvatore; and her sister, Lucy Ricciardone.

A memorial service will be held at 12:30 p.m. on December 10 at the Hills Church at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Los Angeles.


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