Santa Barbara, Capitol star Tawny Kitaen dead at 59

Posted Monday, May 10, 2021 6:33:36 AM

80s icon and soap actress Tawny Kitaen (Lisa DiNapoli, Santa Barbara; Meredith Ross, Capitol) has passed away. She was 59.

Tawny Kitaen, known as the star of Whitesnake's breakthrough music videos and for her work as Santa Barbara's Lisa DiNapoli and Capitol's Meredith Ross, has died at the age of 59. The news of her passing was shared by her daughters, Wynter and Raine, on Instagram.

"We are heartbroken and saddened to announce the death of our mom," the sisters wrote. "We just want to say thank you [to] all of you, her fans and her friends, for always showing her such support and love. You gave her life every day. We miss her and love her and we know her legacy will live on forever."

Born on August 5, 1961, in San Diego, California, Kitaen got her start in show business in the 1983 TV movie Malibu and in the 1984 Tom Hanks film Bachelor Party. She joined the daytime world as Meredith Ross on the CBS soap opera Capitol in 1986, and in 1989, the actress checked in to Santa Barbara, where she took on the role of Lisa DiNapoli.

In addition to soaps, Kitean is known for appearing in several Whitesnake music videos in the 1980s (she was formerly married to Whitesnake musician David Coverdale), as well as for appearing in scripted shows like The New WKRP in Cincinnati, Eek! The Cat, Seinfeld, Married... with Children, Moms Anonymous, and in the reality programs The Surreal Life and Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.

"Just found out that Tawny Kitaen has passed away," wrote the actress' former Santa Barbara costar, Peter Love (Ric Castillo), on Facebook. "We'd recently gotten back in touch through Facebook. She was really funny and I enjoyed the conversations we'd had at Santa Barbara in publicist Mary Anderson's office. Tawny made me laugh a lot. She was married to David Coverdale at the time and would occasionally drive to work in one of the Jaguars from the 'Here I Go Again' video. Godspeed on your next adventure Tawny."

"So sad...Rest In Peace #TawnyKitaen," tweeted actress Barbara Campton (ex-Leanna Randolph, The Young and the Restless; ex-Maggie Forrester, The Bold and the Beautiful; ex-Mindy Lewis, Guiding Light; ex-Trista Evans, Days of our Lives). "In the early days when we did in-person auditions, I would frequently run into her and share a nice conversation. I thought she was incredibly beautiful and had the biggest and brightest smiles."

What are your favorite memories from Tawny Kitaen's time as Santa Barbara's Lisa and/or Capitol's Meredith? We want to hear from you -- so drop your comments in the Comments section below, tweet about it on Twitter, share it on Facebook, or chat about it on our Message Boards.

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