Steve Restivo, an actor in Garry Marshall films and the former co-owner of Vitello’s, the Studio City restaurant that hosted Baretta star Robert Blake and his wife just before she was fatally shot, has died. He was 81.
Restivo died Nov. 5 at West Hills Hospital after a yearlong battle with lung cancer and complications from COVID-19, his son Roy Restivo, a former television executive at NBCUniversal, announced.
For Marshall — who frequently dined at Vitello’s — Restivo appeared as Count Vitello in The Princess Diaries films released in 2001 and 2004 and also worked for the director in Nothing in Common (1986), Beaches (1988), Pretty Woman (1990), Frankie & Johnny (1991), Exit to Eden (1994), The Other Sister (1999) and Raising Helen (2004).
Restivo also showed up on episodes of Quincy M.E., Remington Steele and The New Adam-12.
Steve and Joe Restivo had owned Vitello’s for nearly 30 years when Bonny Lee Bakley, Blake’s wife of six months and the mother of his young daughter, was shot twice at point-blank range while she sat in the car after they had dined at the Italian restaurant on May 4, 2001. (Blake said he had gone back into the eatery on Tujunga Avenue to retrieve a revolver he had left behind.)
Nearly four years later, including a year in jail, a jury acquitted Blake of murdering Bakley and also found him not guilty of soliciting a former stunt double (whom he first met on the set of Baretta, his 1975-78 ABC series) to kill his wife.
After the shooting, Vitello’s saw a huge increase in customers and became a stop on tour-bus itineraries. Restivo, meanwhile, was interviewed about the case on such shows as Dateline, 20/20, 48 Hours and more recently Marcia Clark Investigates the First 48.
Survivors include his wife, Sara; sons Roy, Vince and Steve Jr.; brother Salvatore; and sister Lucy Ricciardone.
Memorial services will be held at 12:30 p.m. on Dec. 10 at Church of the Hills at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Hollywood Hills.