Beverly Hills 90210 Actor Denise Dowse Dies at 64

Beverly Hills, 90210 actress Denise Dowse has passed away at age 64. The consummate actor and director was born in Honolulu, Hawaii on February 21, 1958. After getting a Bachelor of Arts degree from Norfolk State University in Virginia, she began pursuing a career in acting in the late 1980s. This landed her roles on many popular television series throughout the decades, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, ER, Charmed, Rocket Power, and the recent Issa Rae HBO hit Insecure. However, her career also spanned many films, including Coach Carter, Requiem for a Dream, and Ray opposite Jamie Foxx, who won an Oscar for his performance as Ray Charles.


Her most recognizable role is likely that of Principal Yvonne Teasley on Beverly Hills, 90210, the prime-time teen drama that ran for ten years between 1990 and 2000. She appeared on 24 episodes of the series (playing Teasley for 23 of them, after a brief appearance as a different character in season 1), making her one of the only actors of color to ever make a regular appearance on the series. Even though she was only three years older than Gabrielle Carteris, who played her student Andrea Zuckerman, and less than a decade older than many of her other co-stars, which included Jason Priestley, Tori Spelling, Brian Austin Green, Shannen Doherty, and the dearly departed Luke Perry, Dowse excelled in the role by bringing a sense of gravity and warmth.

Related: How The Beverly Hills, 90210 Reboot Tributes Luke Perry

Per THR, Dowse passed away at the age of 64. On August 7, she had been hospitalized after falling into a coma due to a "virulent form of meningitis," and died just one week later. The news was confirmed by her sister Tracey Dowse, who says that Denise was "the most amazing sister, a consummate, illustrious actress, mentor and director."

Denise Dowse in Insecure

Another one of Dowse's many talents was directing. The actor frequently directed stage productions and, at the time of her death, had just made her feature-length debut, the gospel singer biopic Remember Me: The Mahalia Jackson Story, which premiered at the Pan African Film & Arts Festival this Spring. Remember Me stars Ledisi as Mahalia Jackson opposite an ensemble cast that includes Keith David, Corbin Bleu, Columbus Short, and Vanessa Williams, who starred in season 1 of the Beverly Hills, 90210 spinoff Melrose Place.

Denise Dowse will be dearly remembered by her friends, family, and fans. Indeed, tributes have already come pouring in from across the social media sphere by many who worked with her and knew her well, including Ledisi, who said she had "no words right now" in the comments on Tracey's announcement. Dowse's 90210 co-star Ian Ziering also chimed in, saying that "my scenes with Denise will always be remembered with the utmost in respect for her talent, and fondness for the loving soul she was."

Source: THR