Music videos

1980s music video star Tawny Kitaen dies at 59


Tawny Kitaen, an actress who became famous in the 1980s for her roles in rock videos and who starred with Tom Hanks in the movie “Bachelor Party”, died Friday at her home in Newport Beach, Calif. She was 59 years old.

Her death was confirmed by her daughter Wynter Finley, who said the cause was not known.

Ms. Kitaen became a mainstay of MTV in the 1980s, when the network was playing music videos all day and was in its prime.

With her flowing red hair and acrobatic movements, Ms. Kitaen has appeared in videos for groups like Whitesnake and Ratt, appearing both sultry and playful. She danced on the hood of a white Jaguar in the music video for Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again” and graced the cover of Ratt’s 1984 album, “Out of the Cellar”.

She was born Julie Kitaen on August 5, 1961 in San Diego. She studied ballet and gymnastics until the age of 15. After appearing in an advertisement for fitness mogul Jack LaLanne and in television shows and films, she gained greater visibility as Mr. Hanks’ fiancee in the 1984 comedy “Bachelor Party”.

But it was her appearance in music videos that solidified her image in Generation X’s imaginations as a free-spirited beauty having fun like crazy.

She once described working with Paula Abdul, who was a choreographer at the time, on the set of a video.

As Ms. Kitaen recalls, Ms. Abdul asked her what she could do, and Ms. Kitaen showed Ms. Abdul some of her movements. Ms Abdul then turned to the director, Marty Callner, and said, “She has this and doesn’t need me.” And then, said Mrs. Kitaen, she left.

“It was the biggest compliment,” she said. “So I got in the cars and Marty was like ‘Action’ and I did whatever I wanted to do.”

Ms. Kitaen went on to appear on several television shows, including “The New WKRP in Cincinnati” in the early 1990s and more recently the comedy “Moms Anonymous” on the streaming service Seeka.

She married Whitesnake frontman David Coverdale in 1989. The couple divorced two years later. In 1997, she married Chuck Finley, a pitcher from the Anaheim Angels (now the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim). They had two daughters, Wynter and Raine. The couple divorced in 2002.

Ms. Kitaen is survived by her daughters, a brother and a sister.

Ms Kitaen then appeared on reality shows and spoke openly about her issues with cocaine addiction and pain relievers.

In a 2010 interview with the Daily Pilot, she described her volunteer work at a shelter for women who had left abusive relationships and said that she herself was a survivor of domestic violence. After her divorce from Mr Finley, she said, she became involved with a man who was physically and verbally abusive.

“You don’t want to tell anyone because you just feel like a complete fool to stay – you are protecting them,” she said. “You do everything you can to prevent others from finding out that he is mistreating you.”

Michael Goldberg, Ms Kitaen’s agent, said that in recent years she has appeared on various podcasts and radio shows, and that she enjoys talking about her role in rock history.

“People always love to hear these stories because the rock’n’roll lifestyle is something we all fantasize about, isn’t it? ” he said. “And she lived it. And I had so much to say about it.