Tawny Kitaen, Whitesnake Music Video Star, Dead at 59

Actress Tawny Kitaen passed away on Friday, according to a report by Variety. Kitaen was best-known for starring in Whitesnake's music videos for "Is This Love" and "Here I Go Again." She was 59 years old.
Kitaen died at her home in Newport Beach on Friday, and her cause of death has reportedly not been determined. The actress's personal life has been well-documented in tabloids throughout the last four or five decades, including celebrity marriages, addiction issues and criminal charges. She is survived by two daughters from her marriage to baseball player Chuck Finley.

The coroner's office listed Kitaen's name as Tawny Finley, indicating that she has retained her name since divorcing Finley in 2002. While she is best known by her stage name, she was born Julie E. Kitaen. She got her start in the entertainment industry in 1976 when she first appeared on the game show To Tell the Truth.
Kitaen then found some work as an actress, including her notable role in the movie Bachelor Party. However, according to a report by TMZ her real fame came from the music industry, starting with a Peter Frampton concert when she was just 14 years old. She was reportedly invited backstage at Balboa Stadium in San Diego, California and given the VIP treatment.

Kitaen started working in the industry in 1983 by appearing on two album covers for the heavy metal band RATT. She was reportedly dating RATT guitarist Robbin Crosby at the time. She then appeared in the band's music video "Back For More," opening the door to the other music videos she is well-known for. Kitaen's acrobatic performance on the hood of a car in Whitesnake's music video has been parodied again and again in all forms of media.

Kitaen's acting roles after that included Witchboard, White Hot and Dead Tides, as well as an appearance on the Seinfeld episode "The One With The Nose Job." More recently, Kitaen became a regular on the reality TV circuit. After appearing on The Surreal Life and Botched, she was recognized for her confessional tenure on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.

Kitaen revealed the extent of her substance abuse issues on Celebrity Rehab, and shed new light on some of her legal troubles as well. The actress was charged with cocaine possession in 2006 and for driving under the influence in 2009.


Still, Kitaen remained friendly with fans right up until this week on social media. Many are mourning her online and speculating about her cause of death.