Tawny Kitaen, Actress and '80s Music Video Vixen, Dead at 59

Actress Tawny Kitaen, star of movies such as Bachelor Party and hair metal band music videos in the '80s, has died. She was 59.

By Corinne Heller May 08, 2021 3:59 PMTags
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Tawny Kitaen, who starred with Tom Hanks in the movie Bachelor Party and in several of the '80s metal band Whitsnake's music videos, has died. She was 59.

The actress, who also went by the legal name Tawny Finley, passed away in her home in Newport Beach, Calif. on Friday, May 7. The Orange County coroner's office registered her time of death at 8 a.m. that day, according to public records obtained by E! News. The cause has not been determined.

Tawny is survived by her younger brother Jordan, younger sister Krista and daughters Wynter Finley, 28, and Raine Finley, 22, her children from her past marriage to retired MLB player Chuck Finley.

"We are heartbroken and saddened to announce the death of our mom," the actress' kids wrote on their mother's Instagram page on Saturday, May 8. "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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Tawny was born Julie Kitaen in San Diego, Calif. in 1961. In her 20s, she became famous as a model and music video vixen for '80s hair metal bands. While dating Ratt guitarist Robbin Crosby, she was the cover model of the band's debut self-titled EP and of their debut studio album Out of the Cellar, released in 1984. She also appeared in Ratt's "Back for More" music video.

She later went on to date Whitesnake frontman David Coverdale and starred in several of his band's music videos, including "Here I Go Again," "Still of the Night" and "Is This Love."

The two married in 1989 and divorced two years later.

Meanwhile, Tawny was forging a regular acting career. She starred in movies such as Bachelor Party and Witchboard in the '80s. In the '90s, she had roles on TV shows such as SeinfeldThe New WKRP in CincinnatiMarried...With Children and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, playing Kevin Sorbo's title character's first wife, Deianeira.

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In 2006, Tawny appeared on the reality show The Surreal Life. Also that year, she underwent legal turmoil: The actress was charged with cocaine possession. She completed court-mandated rehab. In 2008, she appeared on the reality show Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.

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In recent years, Tawny appeared on E!'s Botched and the mockumentary comedy series Moms Anonymous.

The actress' last posted on social media just one day before her death. On Twitter, shared a fan's drawing of her and thanked them for it.

She shared on Instagram a picture of herself with her brother, writing, "Me and my handsome brother."

Tawny is preceded in death by her father, Terry Kitaen, who died last month at age 82. She paid tribute to him on Instagram after he passed away.

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