R.I.P. Tawny Kitaen, Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again” Video Vixen Dead at 59

Kitaen also appeared in the 1984 Tom Hanks film Bachelor Party and played Jerry Seinfeld's girlfriend in "The Nose Job"

Tawny Kitaen Whitesnake Here I Go Again video
Tawny Kitaen and David Coverdale in Whitesnake’s video for “Here I Go Again”

    Julie E. “Tawny” Kitaen, former actress and muse of the ’80s hard rock band Whitesnake, has died at the age of 59.

    The San Diego native passed away Friday (May 7th) at her home in Newport Beach, California, according to Variety. A cause of death has not yet been disclosed.

    Kitaen played the bride-to-be of Tom Hanks’ character in the 1984 film Bachelor Party. She also had a reoccurring role on the early ’90s sitcom The New WKRP in Cincinnati, and played Jerry’s girlfriend in Seinfeld’ classic 1991 episode, “The Nose Job”.

    But Kitaen is undoubtedly most synomonymous with Whitesnake, having appeared in several of the band’s videos throughout the 1980s, including “Here I Go Again”, “Still of the Night”, and “Is This Love”. She was also briefly married to Whitesnake frontman David Coverdale from 1989 to 1991.

    In a 2019 interview with Heavy Consequence, Coverdale recalled casting Kitaen in the video for “Here I Go Again”.

    “Claudia Schiffer was supposed to be ‘the Whitesnake woman,’ when she was the Guess Jeans girl. But that fell apart near the actual shoot. And I was taking Tawny out for dinner, when [director] Marty Callner called me, and said, ‘You have to stop by, we have problems.’ We went to his house on the way to dinner, he opened the door, his jaw hit the floor — as you know, Tawny was an absolute beauty — and he said, ‘That’s her! She’s the Whitesnake woman!’ And I said, ‘Marty, this is a friend of mine. She’s an actress.’ And she said, ‘No David, I’m happy to do it!’ So, sorry Claudia — you did very well afterwards, too.”

    Regarding Kitaen’s memorable choreography in the video, which included her doing cartwheels atop two Jaguar XJs, Coverdale said most of it was improvised on the spot: “It was so unusual to have a woman in a beautiful dress, doing cartwheels from a black Jag to a white Jag. It was fascinating,” Coverdale remarked. “Nobody had that. It was unique.”

    In the 2000s, Kitaen had appeared on several reality TV shows, including The Surreal Life, Botched, and VH1’s Celebrity Rehab. During her time on Celebrity Rehab, Kitaen revealed that she had long struggled with substance abuse, culminating an arrest for cocaine possession in 2006.