Harry Morton, founder of the contemporary Mexican restaurant chain Pink Taco and scion of one of America’s great restaurant families, passed away Saturday, November 23, at age 38, shocking the Hollywood players in his orbit. As son of Hard Rock Cafe founder and real estate mogul Peter Morton, Harry grew up in a rarified world of movie and rock stars, fast cars, designer clothes, and $25 million homes.
Harry was pronounced dead at 5:28 p.m. by a local coroner who, according to CBS Los Angeles, would only declare that “the autopsy and report are incomplete at this time, and will probably be completed in a couple of days.” Sources say Harry was discovered by his younger brother Matthew at Harry’s Beverly Hills Home.
The Morton family has certainly had its share of tragedy. Harry’s brother Matthew and his sister Grace are the children of father Peter and ex-wife Tarlton Morton, who passed away in 2017. Harry’s mother is Morton’s first wife, socialite and ’60s model Paulene Stone, who was the widow of Laurence Harvey. Harry’s half-sister, Domino Harvey, died of a drug overdose in 2005, right before a movie about her life starring Keira Knightley called Domino, a Tony Scott-directed action-thriller about a model-slash-L.A. bounty hunter, was released.
Harry Morton was born in Chadderton, England, after his father opened the Hard Rock Cafe in Hyde Park Corner London in 1971 with business partner Isaac Tigrett. Harry’s grandfather was Arnie Morton, who founded Morton’s Restaurant Group in Chicago, which included the Morton’s Steakhouse chain until it was sold in 1987 for $13 million. Peter Morton is said to be worth at least $800 million.
Harry Morton had plenty of his own claims to fame, outside of his famous family. He started out working summers in his father’s Hard Rock Hotel and Cafe in Las Vegas. In 1999, when he was just 18, Harry opened Pink Taco there, and eventually opened restaurants in L.A., Chicago, and Boston, with one coming in Miami. Website the Richest claims Harry Morton’s net worth was $300 million, but it’s not clear how much of that came from Pink Taco, which was purchased by private equity film Z Capital in 2017, with plans for a major expansion. Harry also at one time owned the Viper Room, the nightclub where River Phoenix died. Earlier this year, Harry purchased the $25 million, 5,000-plus-square-foot Trousdale estate that belonged to Elvis Presley and, at a later time, Harry’s father, who sold it in 2014.
When he was younger, Harry dated celebs like Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Demi Moore, Jennifer Aniston, and Hayden Panettiere. With great looks, a glam life full of cars, Rolexes, and of course romances, he turned down many a reality TV offer. Harry also volunteered as an L.A. Sheriff’s deputy and was named a reserve detective of the year by the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station.
“We are saddened by the passing of Harry Morton, the founder and former owner of Pink Taco,” Pink Taco spokesman Tim Ragones said in a statement, according to CBS Los Angeles. “Harry was a visionary and restaurateur ahead of his time, and his contributions, both professionally to our brand and personally to those he worked with, were numerous. Our thoughts and condolences are with his family.”
Correction: This article has been updated to reflect that Paulene Stone was married to Laurence Harvey when he passed.
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