The world of show business was stunned this weekend when news emerged that model and actress Tawny Kitaen had died at age 59, as Rolling Stone reported.
Perhaps best known for her appearances in a series of music videos for 80s hair band Whitesnake, Kitaen was found dead on Friday at her Newport Beach, California home. No cause of death was immediately available, as Variety noted.
Kitaen’s two daughters, Wynter and Raine confirmed their mother’s death, issuing a statement that read, according to TMZ, “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 an love her and we know her legacy will live on forever.”
In addition to her star turns in heavy metal music videos, Kitaen was noted for her appearance alongside Tom Hanks in 1984’s Bachelor Party, and she also made appearances on the small screen in series such as Seinfeld and Married…With Children, according to Rolling Stone.
A native of San Diego, California, Kitaen – birth name Julie – got her industry start as a video vixen for bands such RATT and Whitesnake, memorably doing cartwheels and splits atop Jaguar automobiles to popular 80’s tune “Here I Go Again.” She was married briefly to the latter group’s lead singer, David Coverdale, though they divorced within two years, according to Billboard.
In the later years of her career, Kitaen made appearances in a number of reality shows, such as Botched, Celebrity Rehab, and The Surreal Life.
In 1997, Kitaen married former professional baseball star Chuck Finley with whom she had her daughters, according to TMZ. That marriage also ended in unfortunate fashion, however, with Finley claiming that Kitaen had physically attacked him in a dispute that rapidly prompted him to file for divorce.
Kitaen’s life was also plagued by well-publicized substance abuse issues, including arrests for DUI and drug possession, as TMZ noted.
Having left an indelible mark on the pop culture of the 1980s and then continuing to entertain audiences despite battling difficult personal demons of her own, Kitaen’s legacy will surely be remembered fondly by fans, family, and friends across the world.