Mario Oliver Dies: Prominent L.A. Nightclub Owner And Restaurateur Found Dead In Dominican Republic At 71

Mario Oliver, one of the kings of the Los Angeles nightlife scene when he ran the clubs Vertigo and The Gate and elegant restaurants like Tryst, Le Petit Four, and Linq, has died at age 71.

On Wednesday, authorities found his body inside a villa in Las Terrenas, Samaná in the Dominican Republic. Initial reports indicate he was choked to death and gagged when criminals broke into his home and took a safe-deposit box, several watches  Rolex, and other valuables.

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A report in Dominican Today indicates the National Police, the DICRIM, certified that the death was brought on by head trauma and manual compression of the neck (hanging).

Born in France, Mario Jacques Oliver Jutard shortened it when he began modeling in Paris. He soon became a fixture on the Paris nightclub scene, working everything from the door to DJ’ing. He migrated to Los Angeles in 1981.

Oliver became a driver of the Los Angeles nightlife scene in the 1980s through the early 2000s. He was linked romantically with Princess Stephanie of Monaco.

A 1987 Los Angeles Times article by Deadline founder Nikke Finke described him as possessing “continental charm, gracious manner and boyish sexuality. Oliver has cultivated an image of drinking champagne instead of wine, flying first-class instead of coach and having the prettiest woman in the room on his arm. From clothes to culture to girlfriends, he always seems to be in the lead. As one friend, David Gothard, explains, “Mario was born trendy.”

Vertigo was living proof of that style. It became one of the hottest clubs in the country. Its restrictive door policy attracted celebrities, with civilians lined up outside the club each weekend, hoping for a chance to step through the velvet ropes.

However, there was a dark side to the story. Oliver suffered two divorces and a suspended probation period for a reduced rape charge of sexual battery of a 19-year-old girl.

Oliver’s body was taken to the Institute of Forensic Science (INACIF) in San Francisco de Macoris. The police investigation by Dominican authorities continues.

There was no immediate information on survivors or memorial plans.

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