Tawny Kitaen (age 62)

August 5, 1961
San Diego
United States

[Tawny Kitaen] Introduction

Julie Ellen "Tawny" Kitaen (August 5, 1961 – May 7, 2021) was an American actress and television personality, best known for her appearances in music videos for heavy metal bands such as Ratt and Whitesnake. She began her career with roles in the television films Malibu (1983) and California Girls (1985), as well as the comedy films The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of the Yik-Yak (1984) and Bachelor Party (1984), and the horror film Witchboard (1986). In the 2000s, Kitaen transitioned into appearing on reality television series, such as The Surreal Life (2006) and Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew (2008).

[Tawny Kitaen] Early life

Tawny Kitaen was born Julie Kitaen in San Diego, California in 1961, the eldest of three children born to Linda Kitaen (née Taylor), a housewife and one-time beauty pageant participant, and Terry Kitaen, an employee of a neon sign company. Kitaen's mother had Scottish and Irish descent while her father was of Russian-Jewish heritage; she grew up in the Jewish faith. At the age of 12, she began using the nickname "Tawny" on her own initiative. Struggling with dyslexia, she dropped out of Mission Bay High School at the age of 14. Following a Peter Frampton concert at Balboa Stadium, she was inspired by the VIP treatment his girlfriend Penny was receiving, and set her sights on achieving a similar status.

[Tawny Kitaen] Career

(100 words): Tawny Kitaen modeled and acted in television commercials for Jack LaLanne's European Health Spas in the early 1980s. Her acting career began in 1983 with a minor role in the television movie Malibu, followed by the title role of the erotc adventure movie Gwendoline in 1984. Her other credits include Bachelor Party, Witchboard, White Hot, Dead Tides, and Seinfeld. She also appeared in several music videos for Whitesnake and Ratt in the 1980s. Her most iconic role was on shows such as Santa Barbara, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, and the VH1 reality shows The Surreal Life and Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.

(100 words): Kitaen also hosted America's Funniest People from 1992 to 1994, and appeared on the VH1 show Botched in 2018 to have her breast implants removed. According to a January 2021 Instagram post, a few months prior to her death, Kitaen claimed her time with Jack LaLanne's European Health Spas inspired her to become an actress. Despite some challenging health issues she faced over the years, she continued to appear in films and television series with passion for her craft. While she is no longer with us, her work will be remembered and cherished for years to come.

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  • Model (person)