Tawny Kitaen — actress, television host, and heavy metal music video staple — has passed away, reports Deadline. She was 59. No cause of death has currently been given.
Kitaen was a major icon of the 1980s. She began as a model and segued into the music scene, first appearing on the covers of the first EP and the debut album by heavy metal band Ratt. Later she appeared in four videos for the band Whitesnake, including their signature tune “Here I Go Again,” in which she’s seen doing all manner of things with and to a car.
She was able to pivot into movies as well. She’ll forever be known as Tom Hanks’ fiancée (and later wife) in the 1983 comedy Bachelor Party, back before her co-star rebranded as his generation’s James Stewart. She also appeared in the horror hit Witchboard as well as the European adventure romp The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of the Yik-Yak — an Indiana Jones knockoff that distinguishes itself by including lots of bondage and S&M.
The ‘90s saw a slightly cleaner Kitaen. She co-hosted America’s Funniest People with Dave Coulier — an America’s Funniest Videos off-shoot in which people sent in videos that were intentionally, accidentally, funny. (Or so they hoped.) She appeared on an early episode of Seinfeld, Married…with Children, and various Hercules shows. In the aughts she popped up on a season of the reality show The Surreal Life.
When news of her premature passing broke, people were quick to honor her memorable work in the ‘80s metal scene.
— Jғᴏ (Wɪɴᴄʜᴇsᴛᴇʀ) (@squee_machine) May 8, 2021
— Ivana Knapp (@Ivana_Knapp) May 8, 2021
So sad about Tawny Kittaen. I was a huge fan of hers and really wished her well. Selfishly, a bit of childhood also dies with her. And yes, I still listen to Whitesnake on occasion. #RIPTawnyKitaen pic.twitter.com/JKOd05rqzm
— Laura Axelrod 🌞📖🌻 (@Laura_Axelrod) May 8, 2021
Sad to hear about the passing of the Whitesnake video model (as well as Ratt cover model) Tawny Kitaen. A little bit of my youth died right now. Rip T 🙏#tawnykitaen #ratt #outofthecellar #roundnround #supermodel #videovixen #Whitesnake #riptawnykitaen pic.twitter.com/1X3rfvnI1B
— Marten Andersson (@anderssonmarten) May 8, 2021
Sending our heartfelt thoughts and Prayers to the Family, Friends, and Fans, of #TawnyKitaen who sadly has passed away at the age of 59. A staple of the 80s rock era and an actress in countless films and TV Tawny has left an impact on this world. #RIPTawnyKitaen #GodBless 🙏🏻 pic.twitter.com/fHYlxWh1fJ
— All Bets Are Off Podcast (@ABAOPod) May 8, 2021
— Red River Podcast NY (@RRP_NY) May 8, 2021
Few women have left such an indelible mark on me. Tawny Kitaen is at least 15% of my sexuality. May she continue her reign as a video vixen goddess in the afterworld, all car splits and postcoital mane. #RIPTawnyKitaen pic.twitter.com/OIWolSbV32
— Jillian Luft (@JillianLuft) May 8, 2021
— Victoria Brownworth (@VABVOX) May 8, 2021
— Patsy❤️💋 (@devotedfriend72) May 8, 2021
And others remembered her for her work opposite Tom Hanks.
— Matt Murray & The MGM Morning Show (@MGMMorningShow) May 8, 2021
— Shawn Lon (@ShawnSTOM777) May 8, 2021
So honor the passing of Tawny Kitaen by watching some of her finest work, in the classic video for Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again.”