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Tawny Kitaen, star of ‘80s rock music videos and actress, dies at 59

UPDATED: Sun., May 9, 2021

This May 28, 1998, photo shows Tawny Kitaen. Kitaen, the sultry redhaired actress who appeared in rock music videos during they heyday of MTV, has died. She was 59. Authorities in Orange County, California, say she died at her home in Newport Beach on Friday, May 7, 2021.  (Bruce C. Strong)
This May 28, 1998, photo shows Tawny Kitaen. Kitaen, the sultry redhaired actress who appeared in rock music videos during they heyday of MTV, has died. She was 59. Authorities in Orange County, California, say she died at her home in Newport Beach on Friday, May 7, 2021. (Bruce C. Strong)
By Daisy Nguyen Associated Press

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — Tawny Kitaen, the sultry redhaired actress who appeared in rock music videos during the heyday of MTV and starred opposite Tom Hanks in the 1984 comedy “Bachelor Party,” has died. She was 59.

The Orange County coroner’s office said she died at her home in Newport Beach on Friday. The cause of death was not immediately released.

Her daughters, Wynter and Raine, confirmed their mother’s death on Kitaen’s Instagram account.

“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,” their statement said.

Kitaen became the rock world’s “video vixen” after appearing on the cover of two albums from the heavy metal band Ratt and starring in several music videos for Whitesnake, including the 1987 smash song “Here I Go Again.” The video, played repeatedly on the burgeoning music television network, featured Kitaen performing cartwheels on the hood of a Jaguar.

She also starred as the fiancee to Tom Hanks’ character in the comedy “Bachelor Party,” and as Jerry Seinfeld’s girlfriend in a 1991 episode of “Seinfeld.” Other TV credits included a stint as co-host of “America’s Funniest People” and on the reality shows “The Surreal Life” and “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew,” in which she revealed her struggle with substance abuse.

Kitaen had a tumultuous personal life, which included a brief marriage to Whitesnake’s lead singer, David Coverdale, and a rocky marriage to baseball pitcher Chuck Finley, with whom she had two daughters.

“My sincere condolences to her children, her family, friends & fans,” Coverdale tweeted on Saturday.

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