Tawny Kitaen, '80s Music-Video Vixen and Actress, Dies at 59
Tawny Kitaen, the '80s bombshell who became a star of the fledgling music-video form and acted in movies and on TV, has died. She was 59.
TMZ reports Kitaen died in Newport Beach, California, on Friday. No cause of death is yet known.
Just after 9 a.m. Saturday, her daughters Wynter and Raine confirmed her passing on Instagram, writing, "We are heartbroken and saddened to announce the death of our mom. We just want to say thank you for all of you, her fans and her friends, for always showing her such support and love. You gave her life everyday. We miss her and love her and we know her legacy will live on forever."
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Just five days prior to her death, Kitaen posted a nostalgic clip of her late parents frolicking in the ocean. One of the hashtags: #yourealizelifegoesfast.
Born Julie Kitaen in San Diego on August 5, 1961, she changed her name to Tawny as a tween and later said she became attracted to the rock 'n' roll scene after witnessing the over-the-top VIP treatment afforded to rocker Peter Frampton's girlfriend at a concert around 1975.
Kitaen was dating Ratt's guitarist, Robbin Crosby, at the time her fishnet-wrapped legs adorned the band's eponymous debut EP (1983), and she was pictured slithering into a cellar on the rock outfit's triple-platinum first album, "Out of the Cellar" (1984).
She made her music-video debut in Ratt's "Back for More" (1984).
Kitaen's notoriety as a sex symbol helped with an acting career that was launched with the 1983 TV movie "Malibu." She was the titular star of the action movie "Gwendoline" (1984) and had her biggest successes in the Tom Hanks farce "Bachelor Party" (1984) and the supernatural thriller "Witchboard" (1986).
Kitaen also made TV appearances over the years, including as one of Jerry's girlfriends on a 1991 episode of "Seinfeld."
Most famously, Kitaen became an iconic sex symbol of her era via appearances in several Whitesnake music videos: "Still of the Night" (1987), "Here I Go Again '87" (1987), "Is This Love" (1987), "Give Me All Your Love" (1988), the second version of "Fool for Loving You" (1989), and "The Deeper the Love" (1990).
She was married to Whitesnake's David Coverdale from 1989-1991, had an affair with O.J. Simpson while he was married to Nicole Brown Simpson, and was wed to MLB pitcher Chuck Finley from 1997-2002. The latter marriage ended after Finley accused Kitaen of domestic violence, an alleged attack that led Finley to miss his 2002 season debut with the Cleveland Indians. Charges were dropped when she agreed to undergo counseling, but Kitaen was forced to issue a written apology after disparaging remarks she made on Howard Stern's radio show in 2003.
Other reality-TV appearances included co-hosting "America's Funniest People" (1992-1994), nine episodes of "The Surreal Life" (2006), and "Botched" (2017), on which she appeared in order to have her breast implants removed. "There is truly a lot hanging on this exam," she said on the show. "Me getting my life back. Me getting back into life. Me being happy."
She is survived by her two daughters. According to social media posts, Kitaen's father died just a month ago.