Tawny Kitaen, Star of 1980s Music Movies, Dies at 59

Tawny Kitaen, an actress best known for her roles in rock music videos in the 1980s and starring with Tom Hanks in the movie Bachelor Party, died Friday at her home in Newport Beach, California. She was 59 years old.

Ms. Kitaen’s death was confirmed by a daughter, Wynter Finley, who said the cause was unknown.

Ms. Kitaen became a fixture on MTV in the 1980s when the network had its greatest cultural influence with music videos that played all day.

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

Julie Kitaen was born in San Diego on August 5, 1961. She studied ballet and gymnastics until she was 15. After appearing in a Jack LaLanne commercial, as well as television shows and films, she was best known as Mr. Hanks’ fiancée in the 1984 comedy Bachelor Party.

But it was her appearance on music videos that cemented her image in Generation X’s imagination as a free-spirited beauty who had the time of her life.

She once described working with Paula Abdul on the set of a video.

Ms. Abdul, then a choreographer, asked her what she could do. Ms. Kitaen said she showed Ms. Abdul some of her moves. Ms. Abdul then turned to director Marty Callner and said, “She has that and doesn’t need me.” Then she left, said Mrs. Kitaen.

“That was the biggest compliment,” she said. “So I got in the cars and Marty said ‘Action’ and I did what I wanted.”

She married Whitesnake front man David Coverdale in 1989 and the couple divorced two years later. In 1997 she married Chuck Finley, a major league baseball pitcher. They had two daughters, Wynter and Raine. The couple divorced in 2002.

Ms. Kitaen later appeared on reality shows and spoke openly about her struggles with addiction to cocaine and pain medication.

In a 2010 interview with The Daily Pilot, she described her volunteering work at a women’s shelter that had abandoned abusive relationships and said she herself was a domestic violence survivor. Ms. Kitaen said that after her divorce from Mr. Finley, she became involved with a man who was physically and verbally abusive.

“You don’t want to tell anyone because if you stay you will feel like an idiot – you are protecting them,” she said. “You do everything you can to keep other people from finding out that he is abusing you.”

Michael Goldberg, Ms. Kitaen’s agent, said she had appeared on various podcasts and radio shows over the past few years and enjoyed talking about her time as a character in rock history.

“People still love to hear these stories because the rock and roll lifestyle is something we all dream of, right?” he said. “And she lived it. And had so much to say. “

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

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