Julie E. “Tawny” Kitaen, the ’80s music video star and Bachelor Party actor, has died aged 59.
Kitaen’s death was confirmed by the Orange County, California coroner’s office (per Variety), which revealed that she died at her home in Newport Beach on Friday morning (May 7). A cause of death has not yet been revealed.
Born on August 5, 1961, in San Diego, California, Kitaen’s first dealings with the world of rock was when she appeared on the covers of RATT’s self-titled 1983 debut album and 1984’s ‘Out Of The Cellar’. Kitaen was dating the band’s guitarist Robbin Crosby at the time.
After appearing in the music video for RATT’s ‘Back For More’ in 1984, Kitaen then went on to star in a number of other videos, most notably Whitesnake’s 1987 smash ‘Here I Go Again’. She also featured in the videos for ‘Still Of The Night’, ‘Is This Love’ and ‘The Deeper The Love’. Kitaen was briefly married to Whitesnake’s lead singer, David Coverdale, from 1989 to 1991.
Film roles followed, with her most popular being when she portrayed Tom Hanks’ girlfriend in the 1984 comedy Bachelor Party. She also starred in Witchboard, White Hot, Dead Tides, and she appeared in the Seinfeld episode ‘The Nose Job’.
More recently, Kitaen appeared in several reality TV shows, including Botched, The Surreal Life, and a season of VH1’s Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew, the latter of which was recorded in 2008.
Kitaen leaves behind two daughters she shared with baseball player Chuck Finley, to whom she was married from 1997 to 2002.
A number of tributes have begun to pour in for Kitean, led by Whitesnake’s David Coverdale.
“Just woke up to some very sad, unexpected news…” he wrote. “Waiting on confirmation…but, if it is true, my sincere condolences to her children, her family, friends & fans.” Kitaen and Coverdale were married from 1989-1991.
Just woke up to some very sad, unexpected news…Waiting on confirmation…but, if it is true, my sincere condolences to her children, her family, friends & fans…🙏🙏🙏 pic.twitter.com/ioerp3ZRPa
— David Coverdale (@davidcoverdale) May 8, 2021
Steelheart bassist Marten Andersson also wrote: “Sad to hear about the passing of the Whitesnake video model (as well as Ratt cover model) Tawny Kitaen. A little bit of my youth died right now. Rip T.”
Sad to hear about the passing of the Whitesnake video model (as well as Ratt cover model) Tawny Kitaen. A little bit of my youth died right now. Rip T 🙏#tawnykitaen #ratt #outofthecellar #roundnround #supermodel #videovixen #Whitesnake #riptawnykitaen pic.twitter.com/1X3rfvnI1B
— Marten Andersson (@anderssonmarten) May 8, 2021
See more tributes to Kitaen below:
Rest In Peace Tawny Kitaen pic.twitter.com/1fhqqoz2UT
— WHITESNAKE Fan Page (@WSFanPage) May 8, 2021
Sending my heartfelt thoughts and Prayers to the Family, Friends, and Fans, of #TawnyKitaen who sadly has passed away at the age of 59. A staple of the 80s rock era and an actress Tawny has left an impact on this world. #RIPTawnyKitaen God Bless pic.twitter.com/KoGhhY6jqp
— Robby Vegas (@Robby_Vegas_) May 8, 2021
— Crime of the Truest Kind Podcast (@TruestKind) May 8, 2021
Absolutely heartbreaking to wake up to this news. Thank you Tawny for inspiring millions of rocker girls like me to be bold and unapologetically ourselves. You were such a queen and will never be forgotten! 👑❤️🤘🏼 #RIPTawnyKitaen pic.twitter.com/GDUoWluGix
— April Dalaman 💜 (@AprilDalaman) May 8, 2021
— Metal Marks (@heavymetalfarms) May 8, 2021
— 🎼 Mixty Motions™ (@MixtyMotions) May 8, 2021
RIP Tawny Kitaen – will have to blast some "Here I Go Again" for ya 😢 pic.twitter.com/tGVLhZydI2
— Ian Scotto (@IanScotto) May 8, 2021
So sad about Tawny Kittaen. I was a huge fan of hers and really wished her well. Selfishly, a bit of childhood also dies with her. And yes, I still listen to Whitesnake on occasion. #RIPTawnyKitaen pic.twitter.com/JKOd05rqzm
— Laura Axelrod 🌞📖🌻 (@Laura_Axelrod) May 8, 2021
— Jғᴏ (Wɪɴᴄʜᴇsᴛᴇʀ) (@squee_machine) May 8, 2021
Tom Hanks and Tawny Kitaen in Bachelor Party (1984) pic.twitter.com/mpsrKGtZcj
— Gerard Campbell 📽🎬📺🎼🚂 (@ThisIsGCampbell) May 7, 2021
— Patsy❤️💋 (@devotedfriend72) May 8, 2021
— Frogger Neal 🥀🏴☠️🚩 (@froggneal) May 8, 2021
Sending our heartfelt thoughts and Prayers to the Family, Friends, and Fans, of #TawnyKitaen who sadly has passed away at the age of 59. A staple of the 80s rock era and an actress in countless films and TV Tawny has left an impact on this world. #RIPTawnyKitaen #GodBless 🙏🏻 pic.twitter.com/fHYlxWh1fJ
— All Bets Are Off Podcast (@ABAOPod) May 8, 2021
Tawny Kitaen has died at age 59. Known to a generation of rock fans as the star of Whitesnake videos and Ratt album covers, she also acted in movies such as Bachelor Party and Witchboard. pic.twitter.com/yjhapH9foH
— Eric Alper 🎧 (@ThatEricAlper) May 8, 2021