Co-Owner Of Restaurant Near Infamous Murder Site Was 81 – WM Leader

Steve Restivo, an actor seen in Pretty Woman, The Princess Diaries and more, who also formerly co-owned Vitello’s Restaurant in Studio City, CA, died at West Hills Hospital on November 5, after a year-long battle with lung cancer and complications from Covid-19. He was 81.

Confirming Restivo’s passing to WM Leader was his son Roy, a former 20-year senior television executive at NBCUniversal.

Actor Robert Blake sits at a table in front of Vitello’s Restaurant on Oct. 25, 2005.
AP Photo/Mike Meadows

Restivo enjoyed a screen career of more than 50 years, finding frequent roles alongside the likes of Hector Elizondo and Larry Miller in the films of Garry Marshall, including Beaches (1988), Nothing in Common (1986), Pretty Woman (1990), Frankie and Johnny (1991), Exit to Eden (1994), The Other Sister (1999), The Princess Diaries (2001), Raising Helen (2004) and The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (2004).

The actor also appeared in films including The Skateboard Kid 2, Inner Sanctum II, Hard Bounty and Sammy-Gate, finding guest-starring roles on the TV side in Quincy M.E., Cover Up, Remington Steele, The New Adam-12 and Nowhere Man


He and his brother Joe Restivo had owned Vitello’s for nearly 30 years prior to the murder of Bonny Lee Bakley—the second wife of Baretta actor Robert Blake—outside of the restaurant in 2001, which gave the Italian eatery a new kind of notoriety. (While Blake was charged with Bakley’s murder in 2002, along with solicitation of murder, conspiracy and special circumstances of lying in wait, a jury found him not guilty of the crimes in 2005. And though Bakley’s children brought a wrongful death suit against him shortly thereafter, her murder officially remains unsolved.)

In the aftermath, the restaurant saw a huge increase in customers, becoming a stop on tour-bus itineraries and earning frequent mentions on TV. Restivo was  also interviewed about the high-profile murder case on such TV programs as Dateline, 20/20, 48 Hours and, more recently, on Marcia Clark Investigates The First 48.

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

Memorial services will be held at Church of the Hills at Forest Lawn Cemetery on Friday, December 10 at 12:30 p.m.