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Comedian Joe Restivo dead at age 54

LOS ANGELES, June 9 (UPI) -- Joe Restivo, a one-time stand up comic and the former co-owner of Vitello's restaurant in Studio City, Calif., has died of lung cancer at the age of 54.

He died at his home in West Hills, Calif., The Los Angeles Times reported Friday.

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"Joe was a kind man who always had a smile and a funny remark," director Garry Marshall said "and he and his brother Steve would make going to their restaurant, Vitello's, like being a part of their family."

Joe and Steve Restivo had owned Vitello's for nearly 25 years when the 2001 killing of Robert Blake's wife, Bonny Lee Bakley, thrust the Italian eatery into notoriety. The restaurant was the last place Blake and Bakley were before she was killed.

After the killing, Vitello's was frequently mentioned on television, It saw a huge increase in customers after the incident, it also became a stop on tour-bus itineraries.

Restivo is survived by his wife, Sheila; his son, Rosario; his brothers, Steve and Salvatore; and his sisters, Lucy Ricciardone and Giovanna Culotta.

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