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However, after his wife walked out on him (she would later remarry and live in Hammond, Illinois), he moved to Hollywood, California in 1947.
After moving to Los Angeles, Stompanato owned and managed "The Myrtlewood Gift Shop" in Westwood.
The business sold inexpensive pieces of crude pottery and wood carvings as fine art.
Through connections to the LA Underworld, he became a bodyguard and enforcer for gangster Mickey Cohen.
Both parents were born in Italy but were married in Brooklyn. Stompanato was the youngest of four children: he had two older sisters, Grace and Teresa; and an older brother, Carmine.
In the same year Stompanato married for a second time, to 33-year-old actress Helen Gilbert. I did what I could to support him.” In October 1952 Stompanato left Cohen and started dating Helene Stanley, a former 20th Century-Fox contract player. The following year she became his third wife; however, they divorced two years later.They returned to Woodstock, where they had their first son, John Stompanato III.