Joe E. Tata, who played the owner of the infamous Peach Pit hangout on Fox’s 1990s hit, “Beverly Hills, 90210,” has died. Ian Ziering, who played Steve Sanders on the drama series, confirmed the news of the veteran actor’s passing on his Instagram.
“One of the happiest people I’ve ever worked with, he was as generous with his wisdom as he was with his kindness,” Ziering penned in his heartfelt post. “Though the Peach Pit was a ‘90210’ set, It often felt like the backdrop to The Joe E. Tata Show. 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.”
Tragically, Tata was troubled with health issues in his later years, according to Us Weekly. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and as his condition worsened, he needed full-time care and support. Tata’s daughter, Kelly, created a GoFundMe page to help contribute to his care.
“I’m devastated to report that my father Joe E. Tata passed away peacefully on August 24, 2022,” Kelly Tata recently wrote in part on her GoFundMe page. “The remaining funds raised from this campaign will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association. Please continue to keep us in your prayers as I grieve the loss of my best friend.”
Tata, who was 85, played the role of Nat Bussichio for all 10 seasons of “Beverly Hills, 90210.” His character offered a fatherly backdrop and a familiar face even as the cast went through several changes throughout the years. He also played Nat in The CW’s 2008 reboot, “90210.”
But Tata was far from just a fixture on one series. He had acting in his blood (his father was a vaudeville star), and had roles on many classic television shows throughout the 1960s and ’70s, including “Batman,” “Magnum, P.I.”, “The Rockford Files,” “The A-Team,” “Wonder Woman” and “Lost in Space,” just to name a few.
Jason Priestly, who starred as Brandon Walsh on “Beverly Hills, 90210,” shared his grief on Twitter, referring to his late co-star as a “dear friend” and “a huge part of my life.”
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
Fellow “90210” alum Jennie Garth, who played Kelly Taylor, wrote a beautiful post with photos of she, Tata and co-star Tori Spelling, to prove that he was so much more than just another person she worked with. She said she finds comfort in the thought that theres a “Peach Pit in heaven” where she may meet him someday.
I have a very sad heart but will always remember that smile and mischievously loving laugh. 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 pic.twitter.com/qk4UfVHg4t
— Jennie Garth (@jenniegarth) August 26, 2022
For her part, Spelling, who played Donna Martin on the beloved teen series, also shared a tribute on Instagram, saying Tata was “one of the kindest, funniest, most professional, amazing humans I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with and, more importantly, being friends with, in my entire life.”