Giorgio Baldi, 66, whose Santa Monica trattoria was a favorite among celebrities such as Warren Beatty, Goldie Hawn and Rihanna, died Monday while on vacation in Mexico, his family said. The cause of death was not disclosed, but he had fought cancer a number of times.
FOR THE RECORD:
Giorgio Baldi: A brief obituary of restaurateur Giorgio Baldi in the April 16 LATExtra section said that Il Ristorante di Giorgio Baldi is in Santa Monica. The restaurant is in Santa Monica Canyon, which is within Los Angeles city limits. The Times has made the same error repeatedly in past articles. —
A native of Italy, Baldi was the chef and owner of Il Ristorante di Giorgio Baldi, a small, family-run Italian restaurant on Santa Monica’s West Channel Road that was known for its simple, if high-priced, food and heavyweight Hollywood clientele.
For several years, Baldi also ran a Giorgio in Malibu, where President Clinton dined in 1997 with music mogul David Geffen and actor Tom Hanks.
The Times’ S. Irene Virbila, writing in a 2000 review, called Baldi’s Santa Monica establishment “one of the most reliable Italian restaurants in town. The cooking is earthy and direct, with a menu and long list of specials that hardly vary.”
When there was criticism, it was often directed at Giorgio’s prices — a $90 lobster special was “big and boring,” Leslie Brenner wrote in a 2006 Times review, which also disparaged the service for non-A-listers for being haughty and rude.
Baldi was born on Sept. 13, 1944, in the Tuscan coastal town of Forte dei Marmi. He opened Giorgio with a partner in 1990.
He is survived by his wife, Roberta; a son, Edoardo, who runs the Beverly Hills restaurant e. baldi; and a daughter, Elena.
Gene Shefrin, 90, a longtime entertainment industry publicist who represented such stars as Tony Bennett, Dick Clark, Johnny Mathis and Don Rickles, died April 6 in Encinitas after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease, said his son Paul, who also is a publicist.
During his career, Shefrin also represented such celebrities as Don Adams, Jack Barry, James Caan, Perry Como, Sam Cooke, Vic Damone, Peter Falk, Connie Francis, Monty Hall, Peggy Lee, Guy Lombardo, Jackie Mason, Freda Payne, Richard Pryor, Kate Smith, Sarah Vaughan and author Irving Wallace.
Shefrin was born in 1921 in New York City, graduated from City College of New York and during World War II served in an Army Air Force bomber group.
He began his career in New York in 1945 and started his own company in Los Angeles in the 1960s. He retired in 1987.
Wine publicist later
operated own B&B
Ty Jurras, 95, a former wine industry publicist who operated a well-regarded Vermont bed and breakfast inn during a second career as an innkeeper, died April 6 at his Los Angeles home of complications from a fall, said his wife, former Times theater critic Sylvie Drake.
A native of Montpelier, Vt., Jurras was the son of Croatian immigrants. He grew up in Detroit, where his father worked as a stone cutter, then moved to Los Angeles at age 17. He attended Santa Monica College and UCLA, and served in the Army during World War II.
Jurras established a public relations firm in 1956 and represented the California Wine Institute, among other clients. From the late 1960s to the late ‘70s, he published the Canyon Crier community newspaper.
After selling the Crier and closing his firm in 1977, Jurras returned to Vermont to open the Chester House inn and antique shop. The inn became a favorite of Jerry Hulse, the late Times travel editor who frequently recommended it to readers. A fire in 1985 destroyed the inn.
Jurras had two daughters with his first wife, Estrella, who died in 1971. He married Drake in 1973.
—Los Angeles Times staff and wire reports