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Mario Maglieri, club owner created rock heaven, dies at 93

Mario Maglieri, owner of the Rainbow Bar and

Mario Maglieri, owner of the Rainbow Bar and Grill and the Whisky a Go Go, died on May 4, 2017. Photo Credit: Getty Images North America / Mark Mainz

LOS ANGELES — Mario Maglieri, the Hollywood entrepreneur who doubled as a godfather figure to generations of rock stars from the Doors’ Jim Morrison to Guns N’ Roses’ Axl Rose, has died at age 93.

Maglieri died Thursday “surrounded by loved ones,” his family said in a statement. No cause of death was given.

For decades he operated two of Hollywood’s most venerable, legendary Sunset Strip nightclubs — the Whiskey A Go Go and the Rainbow Bar & Grill.

“Rest In Peace Mario Maglieri King of The Sunset Strip,” the marquee over the Whiskey proclaimed Friday.

It was at the Whiskey that the Doors found a following as the house band in the 1960s. Over the years Led Zeppelin, the Police, Van Halen and hundreds of other acts spanning generations have played there.

The Beatles dropped by during their first U.S. tour in 1964. George Harrison, annoyed by a paparazzi, threw a drink at him, hitting actress Mamie Van Doren instead.

At the Rainbow, Maglieri would keep many musicians in booze and food, occasionally having to throw them out when they caused too much trouble.

“The rowdiest? Oh, Guns N’ Roses! I had to put them out I don’t know how many times,” he told the Los Angeles Times in 1993. “They’re good guys, but they get out of hand.”

Born Feb. 7, 1924, in Seppino, Italy, Mario Mikeal Maglieri moved to the United States with his family at age 4.

He ran restaurants and clubs in Chicago for a few years before moving to Los Angeles in the 1960s to manage the Whiskey, eventually taking it over. A few years later, he and partners took over a nearby Sunset Strip restaurant and renamed it the Rainbow.

It was a heady time on the Strip, punctuated by up-and-coming young musicians and groupies, many living nearby.

He recalled good times in his 1993 interview, among them talking politics with John Lennon in the parking lot and watching Led Zeppelin have fun.

“Every time they were in town, they’d party in the middle booth,” he said. “And them guys know how to party.”

A public memorial is scheduled May 28 at the Rainbow.

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