“In the last few months we’ve lost Jessica Klein, one of 90210‘s most prolific writers and producers, Denise Dowse, who played Mrs. Teasley, and now I’m very sad to say Joe E. Tata has passed away,” Ian Ziering wrote on Instagram. “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,” Ziering continued. “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. 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 to.”
Though a cause of death has not been confirmed, our sister site Deadline reports that Tata was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in 2018 and was under the care of his daughter Kelly.
Tata played Nat throughout all 10 seasons of Beverly Hills, 90210, appearing in 238 episodes over the course of its 293-episode run. He would later reprise his role in a 2008 episode of the CW sequel series 90210.
He also guest-starred in select episodes of Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., Hogan’s Heroes, the original Lost in Space, Mission: Impossible, Quincy M.E., Wonder Woman, The A-Team and Hill Street Blues. His last credit was a 2014 episode of Jennie Garth and Tori Spelling’s short-lived ABC Family comedy Mystery Girls.