Actress Julie E. “Tawny” Kitaen, the iconic “car hood girl” from WHITESNAKE’s “Here I Go Again” video, has died at the age of 59. According to Variety, the Orange County, California coroner’s office, which listed her as Tawny Finley, stated that she died at her home in Newport Beach on Friday morning (May 7), but a cause of death has not been revealed.
WHITESNAKE frontman David Coverdale was dating Kitaen while he was working on the band’s 1987 self-titled album. Kitaen, who had recently appeared in ‘Bachelor Party’ with Tom Hanks, would soon start appearing in numerous WHITESNAKE music videos, including those for “Here I Go Again”, “Is This Love” and “Still Of The Night”.
The scene of the actress sliding around on the hood of a Jaguar in the “Here I Go Again” video has been called one of the most iconic video moments ever filmed.
Coverdale and Kitaen married in 1989, however the union only lasted two years. Kitaen would go on to marry baseball player Chuck Finley in 1997 and then divorce him in 2002. She was also arrested for allegedly attacking her husband in their SUV a few blocks from their home. According to the Los Angeles Times, Kitaen pleaded not guilty to the charges of domestic violence, and the case was dismissed in 2003 after she attended court-mandated counseling. When she and Finley divorced, she released a statement saying she was being treated for a dependency on prescription drugs and vowed to become “the healthiest and the best mother possible” to her two daughters.
Prior to hooking up with Coverdale, Kitaen appeared in RATT’s “Back For More” music video and appeared on their album covers for “Out Of The Cellar” and the band’s self-titled EP.
Kitaen also appeared on an episode of the Internet show “The Metal Summit” two months ago. You can watch that clip below.