Mario Maglieri is being remembered by rock music legends, many who got their start at one of his famous clubs. Maglieri, the owner of famed Sunset Strip clubs Rainbow Bar and Grill, The Roxy Theatre, and Whisky a Go Go, passed away on May 4 with his family by his side. Mario was 93 years old.
Mario Maglieri’s death was first announced on the Rainbow Bar and Grill Facebook page.
“Dear Rainbow friends and family,” the post read. “It is with great sadness to announce the passing of our beloved Mario Maglieri. Owner and founder of The Rainbow Bar and Grill and The Whisky a Go Go. He passed this morning while surrounded by loved ones. We will announce services shortly. “
The Whisky also posted the sad news on its Facebook page, calling Mario’s death “a sad day for Rock n’ Roll.”
Maglieri started out managing the Whisky, and he went on to buy the Villa Nova restaurant with business partner Elmer Valentine and Lou Adler, renaming it the Rainbow Bar & Grill in honor of Judy Garland, according to Ultimate Classic Rock.
Mario Maglieri was known as “King of the Sunset Strip,” and for good reason. His trio of famous clubs launched in the mid-1960s with the Whisky a Go Go, a famous hangout for The Doors, Janis Joplin, Frank Zappa, and Guns N’ Roses in their early days. The Rainbow opened in 1972, and The Roxy, in 1973, according to Rolling Stone.
For five decades, the legendary clubs have been an integral part of the L.A. rock scene. Warren Zevon’s Stand in the Fire album was recorded during a five-day residency at the Roxy. And Alice Cooper’s 1970s era celebrity drinking club, The Hollywood Vampires, hung out at the Rainbow and late Motorhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister was a such a fixture at the club that after his death, a statue was erected in his honor.
While Mario Maglieri catered to music legends, he was also a legend in his own time. In a 2013 interview with MXDWN, Mario’s son Mikeal Maglieri said his father has always been respected in the rock world.
“The Rainbow Bar & Grill first opened in 1972 as a restaurant for industry people and the Whisky A Go-Go has always been a venue where groups came to see groups play,” Maglieri said.
“When we opened the Rainbow, it was a natural hangout spot here on the strip. The fact that my parents have been in the restaurant business for most of my life and that my mother is an excellent cook are big parts of how it started. We have won awards because of the food from recipes by my mother.”
Mario’s son also his father formed friendships with the legendary stars that walked through the clubs’ doors.
“My father’s been the backbone in this industry,” Maglieri said.
“He’s a legend himself. Every rock star, celebrity and big name in the industry highly regards him because he’s spent most of his career standing outside the door of the Rainbow, Whiskey A Go-Go and The Roxy forming those close relationships.”
After Mario Maglieri’s death was announced, many famous rock stars paid tribute to him on social media, including Guns N Roses alums Slash and Matt Sorum and former Skid Row frontman Sebastian Bach.
“Lost dear old friend Mario Maglieri today,” Slash wrote. “Owner of Rainbow Bar & Grill & The Whisky, he kept RnR alive in Hwd. We will never forget you. RIP.”
Sorum posted a photo of the Whisky’s marquee tribute to Maglieri writing, “He fed me soup as a starving musician in the Seventies when I came to Hollywood. #RIP Mario I love you.”
Mario Maglieri is survived by his wife Scarlett, son Mikeal, and three grandchildren. A public memorial for Maglieri is set at The Rainbow on May 28 at 1 p.m.
Take a look at the video below for more on the amazing life of Mario Maglieri.
[Featured Image by Mark Mainz/Getty Images]