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Pink Taco Founder, WeHo Reserve Deputy Harry Morton Dead at 38

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Pink Taco Founder Harry Morton Dead at 38

BEVERLY HILLS (TMZ) — Harry Morton — the business tycoon and son of Peter Morton — has died … TMZ has learned.

Law enforcement sources tell us that Harry was found unresponsive Saturday afternoon at his Beverly Hills home by a family member. Paramedics were called, but we’re told Harry was pronounced dead at the scene and was then transported to the coroner’s office — where an autopsy is pending. Our sources say no foul play is suspected at this point.

UPDATE: Harry died after a heart attack brought on by several blockages in his arteries … according to the Morton family. The family’s spokesperson says the L.A. County Coroner found the 38-year-old restaurateur was suffering from coronary artery disease and also had a “mildly enlarged heart.” The family says another doctor confirmed for them that Harry had calcification in 3 of his main arteries … which caused a sudden cardiac arrest.

Harry is perhaps best known as the founder of the Pink Taco restaurant chain, which blossomed on the Sunset Strip in L.A. but has since expanded to other cities across the U.S. He is also part of a very famous family of restaurateurs. His grandfather, Arnie, cofounded the incredibly popular Morton’s The Steakhouse chain in 1978, and his dad, Peter, cofounded the Hard Rock Cafe empire in 1971. Harry worked at HRC for years, and later headed up the business’s development wing.

Pink Taco Founder, WeHo Reserve Deputy Harry Morton Dead at 38

Harry was also a volunteer sheriff’s deputy in and around L.A. — specifically, with the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station, where he was recently honored as a Reserve Detective of the Year. The station says he had dedicated hundreds of hours a year in support of the station’s Detective Bureau. In other words, he was big on giving back.

He founded Pink Taco in 1999 when he was just 18. He’s also the owner of the Hollywood nightclub the Viper Room — where Joaquin Phoenix‘s brother, River Phoenix, died of a drug overdose in 1993. Harry bought it in 2008 — it appears he still owns it to this day.

A spokesman for Pink Taco tells TMZ … “We are saddened by the passing of Harry Morton, the founder and former owner of Pink Taco. 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 and friends during this difficult time.”

Harry recently made headlines for buying Elvis Presley‘s former Bev Hills estate the singer bought the year he married Priscilla Presley. We’re told that Harry did not die there though — he was found at a separate Beverly Hills residence of his.

Harry dated Lindsay Lohan back in the 2000s. He’s also been linked to Demi Moore after her breakup from Ashton Kutcher, as well as Britney SpearsParis HiltonJennifer Anistonand Hayden Panettiere. It doesn’t appear he’s been married or has any kids of his own.

His half-sister, model/bounty hunter Domino Harvey, died of a drug overdose in 2005. Both of his parents — Peter Morton and Paulene Stone — are still alive today.

Harry was 38.

RIP

Tune in to TMZ on TV weekdays Monday through Friday (check syndicated/local listings)

TMZ refers to to a studio-established “thirty mile zone” to monitor rules for filming in Hollywood. The center of the zone was the offices of The Association of Motion Pictures and Television Producers, formerly at Beverly and La Cienega Boulevard. Tune in to TMZ on TV weekdays Monday through Friday (check https://www.tmz.com/shows/ for syndicated/local listings at the bottom of the page)

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Celebrity News

Bethenny Frankel to Deliver Half-a-Million Masks in Wake of Coronavirus

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(TMZ) — Bethenny Frankel is about to deliver half-a-million masks to doctors, nurses and other medical professionals who are at high risk for contracting coronavirus, and the decks have just been cleared to deliver them quickly.

FEMA has told hospital workers they can get masks outside normal channels and get reimbursement because the supply is so critically lacking.

Bethenny tells TMZ, she’s getting thousands of messages a day from medical professionals — many in New York but also other areas of the country — begging for help.

Bethenny is working with manufacturers from all over the world to make masks, and the number she’s making has ballooned from 10,000 to 500,000 N-95 masks and counting.

She says the masks will be available in a few and they will go directly to the people who need it, because the red tape is being eliminated.

Tune in to TMZ on TV weekdays Monday through Friday (check syndicated/local listings)

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Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation Donates $5M to Coronavirus Relief

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(TMZ) — Rihanna ‘s Clara Lionel Foundation just made a massive donation in an effort to help support those challenged by and working to stop the coronavirus.

RiRi has pledged $5 MILLION to support groups in the United States and around the world. We’re told the cash will be used to support a myriad of efforts including local food banks serving at-risk communities in the U.S., speed up testing and medical care in countries like Haiti and Malawi.

The donation will also help doctors and nurses on the frontlines … with protective equipment, maintenance of intensive care units and the acceleration of the development of vaccines and other methods to fight the disease. It will also be used to help distribute critical respiratory supplies.

CLF’s Executive Director, Justine Lucas, tells us, “Never has it been more important or urgent to protect and prepare marginalized and underserved communities — those who will be hit hardest by this pandemic.”

Rihanna founded CLF in 2012, the group has worked tirelessly to support and fund education and emergency response programs around the world. CLF is accepting donations on its website to continue its fight.

Tune in to TMZ on TV weekdays Monday through Friday (check syndicated/local listings)

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CA Medical Association Urges Plastic Surgeons for Emergency Help

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BEVERLY HILLS (TMZ) — Plastic surgeons can help a real cause … donating much-needed medical equipment to help doctors combat the coronavirus.

TMZ’s obtained this letter penned by the California Medical Association and sent to several prominent Beverly Hills plastic surgeons — along with the rest of the state’s outpatient surgery/procedural facilities — to urgently redeploy resources to meet the coming increase demand for health care services.

What’s more … the CMA’s also desperately trying to take an inventory of ventilation equipment that may be able to be redeployed to hospitals and other facilities currently dealing with COVID-19 patients. Specifically, hospitals are in dire need of masks and gowns.

Plastic surgeons across the state are also being asked to take a survey “to help identify our current health care resources as we all scramble to deal with the COVID-19 emergency.”

If the CMA — a professional organization representing California physicians — says it’s asking for as much equipment as possible, this could put a damper on celebs who may wanna take this time to get a touch up via their plastic surgeon.

As we first reported … “Botched” star and doc Terry Dubrow says celebs are clamoring for plastic surgery while everyone is out of the public eye during the coronavirus pandemic.

Tune in to TMZ on TV weekdays Monday through Friday (check syndicated/local listings)



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