Tawny Kitaen Has Died At 59

May 8, 2021 / Posted by:

This morning, I woke up to the unexpected and sad news that one of the glittering video vixens of the 1980s, Tawny Kitaen, died yesterday. Pour out several bottles of White Rain hairspray (I was going to say pink bottle AquaNet, but Tawny’s mane was far from crunchy and was more like a White Rain-dusted fall of lusciousness). Tawny was only 59 years old.

Variety says that Tawny died at her home in Newport Beach, CA yesterday morning. We don’t know her cause of death right now, but it seems like her death was unexpected. Tawny posted on Instagram just a day ago, and last month, she tweeted about how she was excited to book her first post-lockdown autograph convention for September and couldn’t wait to see her fans again. Tawny’s daughters with her ex-husband, retired professional baseball player Chuck Finley, confirmed the sad news of their mother’s death. 28-year-old Wynter Merin Finley and 22-year-old Raine Finley wrote this together on Tawny’s Instagram:

Tawny Kitaen (born name: Julie Kitaen) was born in San Diego, CA on August 5, 1961. Wikipedia says that Tawny gave herself the nickname of Tawny when she was 12. When she was 14, she and her girlfriends started going to rock concerts. Her first concert was a Peter Frampton show, and when she saw the kind of VIP treatment that Peter’s girlfriend at the time, Penny, was getting, she decided that’s the life she wanted.

Tawny’s modeling career started when she began dating Robbin Crosby, the guitarist for RATT. The band put her on the cover of their debut EP in 1983 and their debut studio album in 1984.  Tawny also made an appearance in RATT’s video for Back For More in 1984. 1984 was a big year for Tawny because she also made her movie debut as the title role in the French erotic-action comedy The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of Yik-Yak (Note to self: Watch The Perils of Gwendoline because it had me at “French erotic-action comedy“) and she co-starred with Tom Hanks in Bachelor Party as his fiancee Debbie. Here’s Tawny talking about the making of Bachelor Party back then:

Tawny also starred in the movies Witchboard and Instant Juice and guest-starred on the soap opera Santa Barbara.

In 1987, Tawny instantly became video vixen royalty when she starred in Whitesnake’s video for Here I Go Again, and showed us that she’s got an Olympic gold medal in auto acrobatics and hairography while giving two Jaguars the tingles:

Tawny in THAT video was many people’s sexuality. Why do I have a feeling that ERs will soon be filled with children of the 80s coming in with broken hips after trying to honor Tawny by doing flips on their cars?

Tawny went on to bring the sexiness and 80s heavy metal glamour in several more Whitesnake videos includes Still Of The Night, Is This Love, and The Deeper The Love. Tawny married the lead singer of Whitesnake, David Coverdale, in 1989. They divorced two years later. David paid tribute to Tawny on Twitter today:

After her days as Whitesnake’s video muse ended, Tawny continued to act in movies and TV shows like Three of Hearts, White Hot, Seinfeld, The New WKRP in Cincinnati, Married… with Children, several Hercules TV movies, and CSI.

Tawny married Chuck Finley in 1997 and their marriage ended in a bad, bad, violent way in 2002 when she was charged with domestic violence after attacking him. She took a plea bargain and finished a spousal battery counseling program. Tawny also had troubles with substance abuse. She was arrested for possession in 2006 and got a DUI in 2009. In 2008, Tawny was a cast member on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. Sadly, several of her cast members from that season, Jeff Conaway, Rodney King, and Nikki McKibbin, have died.

Tawny was also on the final season of The Surreal Life in 2006. And more recently, Tawny did YouTube videos where she gave her “take” on things.

Rest in peace, Tawny. The angels are now falling over every time you whip your mane around.

Pic: Wenn.com

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