Beverly Hills, 90210 star Joe E. Tata has passed away at the age of 86.
The actor – who played Peach Pit owner Nat Bussichio – reportedly died after a battle with Alzheimer’s.
It was Tata’s former co-star Ian Ziering who announced the sad news on Instagram this morning. In a touching tribute, Ziering reflected on other cast and crew who passed away in recent months, including Denise Dowse, who played school principal Mrs Teasley.
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“In the last few months we’ve lost Jessica Klein, one of 90210‘s most prolific writers and producers, Denise who played Mrs. Teasley, and now I’m very sad to say Joe E Tata has passed away,” Ziering – who played Steve Sanders on the show – wrote beside two photos of Tata.
“Joey was truly an OG, he aded. “One of the happiest people I’ve ever worked with, he was as generous with his wisdom as he was with his kindness.”
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Ziering said that although Tata “may have been in the back of many scenes” and played a supporting role to the young cast, Ziering said “he was a leading force, especially to us guys, on how to appreciate the gift that 90210 was”.
“Though the peach pit was a 90210 set, It often felt like the backdrop to the Joe E Tata show. The stories of days gone by that he would share, incredible experiences in the entertainment industry that he was a part of would keep us all captivated,” Ziering shared.
“My smile dims today but basking in fond memories moves him from my eyes to my heart where he will always be,” he concluded. “My sincere condolences go out to his family and friends, and everyone else he was dear too. Rest In peace Joey 🙏.”
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In October last year, Tat’s daughter Kelly launched a crowdsourcing page for her father to up to help with care and travel expenses. Here, she detailed his battle, revealing it all began in 2014 when his health took “a turn for the worse”. In 2018, Tata was officially diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
“Now 86 years old, his illness has progressed to its final stages,” she wrote on the page. “He spends his days scared and confused. The few times I’ve seen him, there is relief and joy in his eyes.”
“Nat was a loving father figure to the kids of West Beverly High. In real life, my Dad, Joey, is honest, kind, and a truly incredible father.”
As Ziering mentioned, the ad news comes one week following the death of Denise Dowse. The actress recently fell into a coma brought on by a virulent form of meningitis and she sadly never recovered. She was 64.
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