Character actor Joe E. Tata, best known for playing Peach Pit owner Nat Bussichio on “Beverly Hills, 90210,” has died at age 85 after a battle with Alzheimer’s, one of the show’s stars announced Thursday.
On his Instagram page, Ian Ziering broke the news, saying Tata was “truly an OG.”
“I remember seeing him on the `Rockford Files’ with James Garner years before we worked together on `90210,”’ Ziering wrote. “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.”
He added, “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.”
Last year, Tata’s daughter Kelly created a GoFundMe page saying her father had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2018 and had unwittingly signed papers placing him in a conservatorship. In an update just last month, she said she was still battling the conservatorship in court, but is able to “visit my dad often.”
“Truthfully, he’s less and less talkative but still recognizes me, between naps,” she wrote.
The New York-born Tata appeared in an array of television programs over the years, including “Hogan’s Heroes,” “Lost in Space,” “Batman,” “Green Acres,” “Mission: Impossible,” “Love, American Style,” “Mannix,” “Adam-12,” “Cannon,” “Police Story” and “The Rockford Files.”
His death came 12 days after Denise Dowse, the actress who portrayed Vice Principal Yvonne Teasley on “Beverly Hills, 90210,” died at age 64.