Denise Dowse, known for her roles as Dr. Rhonda Pine on Insecure and Mrs. Yvonne Teasley in Beverly Hills, 90210, has passed away after a battle with viral meningitis. She was 64.
The news was confirmed by her sister Tracey Dowse, who took to the television star’s Instagram account on Saturday to write:
“I want to take this moment to thank our friends and family for all of the love and prayers. It is with a very heavy heart that I inform everyone that my sister, Denise Dowse has gone forward to meet our family in eternal life. Denise Yvonne Dowse was the most amazing sister, a consummate, illustrious actress, mentor and director. She was my very best friend and final family member. Denise loved all of you. I know that she is watching over us with all the love she has.”
She then asked for privacy during this difficult time and promised to update everyone at a later date about her Celebration of Life:
“I ask for privacy and your continued prayers. I will provide, at a later time, her Celebration of Life information. I will update you here. Again I am so grateful for all the calls, text messages, direct messages, and silent prayers for my sister. We could not have made it so gracefully and painlessly without all of the prayer warriors around the world. Thank you for giving so selflessly. I love you, Tracey.”
Denise had been in a coma for at least a week after a viral infection caused inflammation of the membrane surrounding her brain and spinal cord. Her sibling first revealed the medical condition on August 9, sharing at the time:
“I am requesting support and prayers be offered me and my sister, and my only immediate family Denise Dowse. She is currently in the hospital in a coma brought on by a virulent form of meningitis. Her doctors do not know when she will come out of the coma as it was not medically induced.”
Such a sad, sad outcome…
Many of her former castmates and fans have stormed social media to offer their condolences to the Dowse family, including her 90210 co-star Ian Ziering who said in the comments section of the announcement:
“This is insanely heartbreaking. Throughout all my years working on Beverly Hills 90210, my scenes with Denise will always be remembered with the utmost in respect for her talent, and fondness for the loving soul she was. Some of my heartiest off camera laughs were between she and I hammering out the the discipline her Mrs. Teasley would dish out to my Steve Sanders. My sincere condolences to her family, and all others who she was dear to. God bless you Denise, pay forward that Legacy Key”
Actor Jason Kelley then expressed in the comments:
“Tracey thank you for bravely sharing this sad news. So sorry to hear. Denise was my first professional stage director and coach. The wisdom and standard she demanded provided the foundations of my theatrical craft. We enjoyed bragging about our Virginia roots and she encouraged me to trust my instincts. Over the years we’d bump into each other on the boards (occasionally at The Cork for a drink) and most recently at The Road Theatre. It felt like a reunion. She is and was a Mother Queen to many and her spirit is sown into the community. Her presence will be missed but her Essence is going to continue in those artists, friends and family she gave so much of herself to.”
General Hospital actress Sonya Eddy also chimed in:
“I’m so sorry to hear this. Denise was one of my favorite people. One of the most giving, loving and gentle people I’ve met. I’m sending prayers and peace to her family and those who loved her.”
Denise had been on so many iconic shows throughout her career, including Grey’s Anatomy, Charmed, ER, Gilmore Girls, Buffy the Vampire Slayers, Coach Carter, The X-Files, Criminal Minds, House, Bones, Law and Order, Seinfeld, Full House, The Guardian, and Sister, Sister. Truly an accomplished talent.
Our hearts go out to her loved ones. Rest in peace, Denise…