Joe E. Tata, the actor best known for playing Nat on Beverly Hills, 90210, has died at the age of 85. The veteran actor and New York native, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease since 2018, was paid tribute to by his co-star Ian Ziering, who had mourned the death of another 90201 alum, Denise Dowse, only a week before. Taking to his Instagram on Thursday, August 25, Ian said Joe was “as generous with his wisdom as he was with his kindness.”
“In the last few months we’ve lost Jessica Klein one of ‘90210’s’ most prolific writers and producers, Denise Douse who played Mrs. Teasley, and now I’m very sad to say Joe E Tata has passed away,” Ian wrote alongside a photo of Joe as Nat. “Joey was truly an OG, I remember seeing him on the Rockford files with James Garner years before we worked together on 90210. He was often one of the background villains in the original Batman series. One of the happiest people I’ve ever worked with, he was as generous with his wisdom as he was with his kindness.”
“Though the peach pit was a 90210 set, It often felt like the backdrop to the Joe E Tata show,” the Sharknado alum continued. “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. He may have been in the back of many scenes, but he was a leading force, especially to us guys, on how to appreciate the gift that 90210 was. My smile dims today but basking in fond memories moves him from my eyes to my heart where he will always be. My sincere condolences go out to his family and friends, and everyone else he was dear too. Rest In peace Joey.”
Today we lost my dear friend and TV boss Joe E Tata. Nat Busiccio was a huge part of Beverly Hills 90210 and Joey was a huge part of my life. Rest In Peace Joe. There will never be another. https://t.co/HDPEXsL6Ui
— Jason Priestley (@Jason_Priestley) August 25, 2022
Jason Priestly took to his Instagram a few hours later to share a sweet tribute to Joe as well. “Today we lost my dear friend and TV boss Joe E Tata,” the actor, who played Brandon Walsh, wrote alongside a photo of the pair. “Nat Busiccio was a huge part of Beverly Hills 90210 and Joey was a huge part of my life. Rest In Peace Joe. There will never be another.”
Following her co-stars’ lead, Jennie Garth posted snaps of herself, Tori Spelling and Joe on the set of Beverly Hills 90210. Alongside the pics, she wrote, “Another great loss for our family today, I have a very sad heart but will always remember that smile and mischievously loving laugh.” She added, “I feel like there’s a reunion party going on at the Peach Pit in heaven and I find comfort knowing that there will be a seat there for me someday surrounded by my dear friends. Sending hugs to all that loved Joey today. Loss is so hard…”
Brian Austin Green, who played David Silver on the show, also shared a tribute to Joe in the form of an emotional video. The pair were seen hugging at Brian’s live podcast a few years earlier. “A friend of mine sent me this video from the BAG pod live event we did at Torrance high school a few years back,” Brian wrote. “Joey was a family member for sure and he will be missed but so fondly remembered.” The post also included an adorable snap of the two co-stars.
Joe started off his Hollywood career with bit parts on General Hospital, The Outer Limits and Mister Roberts. During the 70s and 80s he was a fixture on cop dramas like Adam-12, The F.B.I. and The Streets of San Francisco. He finally found fame in 1990 when he landed the role of the loveable Peach Pit diner operator Nat on Beverly Hills 90210. He was a beloved character on the teen drama for 10 seasons.
In 2018, his daughter Kelly Tata began a Go Fund Me page after the actor was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. “Nat was a loving father figure to the kids of West Beverly High,” Kelly wrote on the site. “In real life, my Dad, Joey, is honest, kind, and a truly incredible father.”