Tawny Kitaen, ’80s Music Video Icon, Dies Aged 59

by : Cameron Frew on : 08 May 2021 15:38
Tawny Kitaen, '80s Music Video Icon, Dies Aged 59PA Images/20th Century Studios

Julie E. ‘Tawny’ Kitaen, an actress and ’80s music video star, has died aged 59.

Kitaen, who earlier starred in The Perils of Gwendoline, After Midnight and alongside Tom Hanks in 1984 comedy Bachelor Party, passed away yesterday morning, May 7.


Her death was confirmed by the Orange County coroner’s office, which listed her name as Tawny Finley, stating she’d died at her home in Newport Beach. Her cause of death hasn’t been confirmed at the time of writing.

Her death was reported by Variety. Kitaen was born in San Diego, California. In 1983, she appeared on the cover of back-to-back albums by RATT, a heavy metal band. She had also been dating the lead guitarist at the time.

After starring in RATT’s video for Back for More, Kitaen became most recognisable for her appearance in the video for Whitesnake’s Here I Go Again. This marked the beginning of her work with the band, going on to feature in Still of the Night, Is This Love and The Deeper the Love. She was also married to lead singer David Coverdale from 1989 to 1991.


She later appeared on a number of a reality TV shows, including The Surreal Life, Botched and Celebrity Rehab with Dr Drew. Kitaen was also married to baseball player Chuck Finley from 1997 to 2002, with whom she shares two daughters.

Reacting to the news on social media, one user wrote, ‘RIP. Whitesnake video was awesome.’ Another tweeted, ‘Wow… was just watching Tawny Kitaen’s Whitesnake videos not long ago. RIP.’ A third wrote, ‘RIP Tawny Kitaen. Everyone remembers the Whitesnake video, but I’ll always think of her as the star of Witchboard a truly scary, underrated 80s horror flick!’

Monsters of Rock also wrote, ‘We are so saddened to hear the news. Tawny was set to launch her new radio show on MOR this Memorial Day weekend. She was so excited to dive back into her love of rock music. Her passion was undeniable! You were such a warm soul with a big heart Julie. We will miss you love.’


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Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BJTC-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and taken up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: Film and TV, Music, Now


  1. Variety

    Tawny Kitaen, ’80s Music Video Vixen and ‘Bachelor Party’ Star, Dies at 59