Honoring Six Beverly Hills 90210 Actors Who Are No Longer With Us
In 1990, a new wave of teenagers hit the small screen, featuring convertibles, backyard swimming pools, and pastel blazers. Aaron Spelling’s surprise high school hit Beverly Hills, 90210 wasn’t your typical teen drama. Gone were the gritty realities of after-school specials; instead, this show offered a glossy glimpse into the privileged lives of California high schoolers grappling with first loves, family secrets, and designer dilemmas. It was a world of fast cars, fast friendships, and even faster scandals, a stark contrast to the often bleak portrayals of youth on television at the time. 90210 didn’t just entertain; it sparked a cultural phenomenon, forever changing the landscape of teen television and leaving an indelible mark on a generation. In fact, shows like Dawson’s Creek, Melrose Place, Roswell, and pretty much everything on The CW today owe their very existence to this 1990s pop cultural phenomenon. It’s been more than three decades since the show made its debut on FOX, and while many of the series’ stars still pop up on the big and small screens, a few, sadly, have passed on. In this article, we’re going to pay tribute to six late actors from the show who might be gone but whose characters will live on forever as long as audiences continue to watch 90210.
Luke Perry: Iconic Heartthrob
Luke Perry forever etched his place in pop culture through his portrayal of Dylan McKay. Perry’s brooding charm and magnetic presence made him a symbol of the ’90s teen drama era. Beyond 90210, he showcased his versatility in various film and TV roles, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 8 Seconds, and Riverdale. Perry’s enduring impact on television extended to critically acclaimed projects like HBO’s Oz and the poignant drama Jeremiah. His return to the 90210 reboot in 2019, prior to his untimely death, delighted fans and showcased his enduring connection to the beloved series. Luke Perry’s sudden passing on March 4, 2019, due to a massive stroke, sent shockwaves through the entertainment industry. Beyond his on-screen charisma, Perry was admired for his kindness and humility.
Luke Perry remains an eternal symbol of an era, a beloved actor whose influence transcends generations, and a reminder of the fragility of life in the spotlight.
David Gail: Brenda’s Flame
David Gail, whose death in early 2024 served as inspiration for this article, achieved recognition as Stuart Carson, Brenda Walsh’s fiance, in his two seasons on 90210. He further graced the small screen with notable roles in prime-time soaps, including The Round Table, which also happened to be produced by Aaron Spelling. Gail continued to captivate audiences with his performances, taking on pivotal roles such as Dean Collins in Savannah and Eddie Bartlett in Robin’s Hoods. In the late ’90s, he ventured into the world of daytime television, portraying Dr. Joe Scanlon on Port Charles from 1999 to 2000.
Gail, whose cause of death was tied to cardiac arrest, will fondly be remembered for leaving a significant mark in the industry.
Joe E. Tata: The Heart of the Peach Pit
Joe E. Tata introduced himself to fans as Nat Bussichio, the owner of the retro-style restaurant Peach Pit. His portrayal brought warmth and authenticity to the series, making him a beloved character. Tata, the son of a vaudeville performer, made his TV acting debut in 1960 on the detective series Peter Gunn. Tata’s extensive career would go on to include roles in classic shows like The Rockford Files and The Bold Ones: The Lawyers, Lost in Space, and the original Batman series. He also appeared in dozens of made-for-TV movies.
Joe E. Tata passed away on August 24, 2022, after a four-year battle with Alzheimer’s, leaving behind a slew of memorable performances and a Peach Pit charm that continues to resonate with fans around the world.
Jed Allan: A True TV Icon
Jed Allan, another beloved figure in the entertainment realm, left an indelible mark with his role as Rush Sanders on 90210. A seasoned actor, Allan graced numerous television productions, earning widespread recognition for his portrayal of Don Craig on Days of Our Lives. With an extensive career spanning decades, he also played C.C. Capwell on the iconic 80s Santa Barbara. Allan’s magnetic presence extended to films such as Lassie and Heidi, showcasing his ability to take on drastically different roles.
The veteran actor passed away on March 9, 2019, leaving a void in the industry. The legacy of Jed Allan is not only in his endearing characters but also in the hearts of those he touched with his talent and goodness.
Brian Turk: A Versatile Talent Remembered Beyond 90210
Brian Turk portrayed Gabriel, a college friend of David Silver (Brian Austin Green). Turk’s engaging performance showcased his versatility as an actor. Beyond 90210, he contributed to popular TV series like Saved By the Bell: The College Years, Two and a Half Men and Carnivàle. His film credits include American Pie 2 and A.I. Artificial Intelligence.
Tragically, Turk succumbed to complications from brain cancer on September 13, 2019, but his indelible mark on the entertainment industry endures through his unforgettable characters and the lasting impact he left on audiences worldwide.
Denise Dowse: the Principled Principal
Denise Dowse, known for her compelling portrayal of Mrs. Teasley, the principal of West Beverly Hills High School, contributed a distinctive presence to the iconic series. Beyond being the head-strong administrator, Dowse showcased her acting prowess in acclaimed shows like The West Wing, Desperate Housewives, and even the classic sitcom Seinfeld. Her film credits include Requiem for a Dream and Coach Carter. With a career spanning theater, television, and film, Dowse established herself as a versatile and accomplished performer.
Denise Dowse passed away on August 13, 2022, after falling into a coma due to complications from meningitis. She will always be remembered for her impactful roles, leaving a lasting impression on audiences who admired her talent and dedication to her craft.