Denise Dowse, 'Insecure' and 'Beverly Hills, 90210' actor, dies at 64

Christi Carras, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

Denise Dowse, a prolific performer known for roles in "Insecure" and "Beverly Hills, 90210," has died, her manager confirmed Sunday to the Los Angeles Times. She was 64.

Dowse's sister, Tracey Dowse, shared last week on social media that the character actor had fallen into a coma induced by "a virulent form of meningitis." On Saturday, Tracey Dowse paid loving tribute to Denise Dowse via her sister's Instagram page.

"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," she wrote.

"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."

Additionally, Tracey Dowse requested privacy and "continued prayers" before adding that she would provide details about any memorial services "at a later time."

"I am so grateful for all the calls, text messages, direct messages, and silent prayers for my sister," she said. "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."


In the hit teen drama "Beverly Hills, 90210," Denise Dowse played Mrs. Yvonne Teasley, the vice principal of West Beverly Hills High School, from 1991 to 2000. She also appeared as Judge Rebecca Damson in all three seasons of the early 2000s legal drama "The Guardian."

More recently, she portrayed Molly's (Yvonne Orji) therapist, Dr. Rhonda Pine, in three seasons of Issa Rae's acclaimed HBO comedy "Insecure," which ran from 2016 to 2021. Her other TV credits included "Criminal Minds," "Grey's Anatomy," "Good Trouble," "Rocket Power," "Roc," "Touched by an Angel," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Law & Order," "Bones," "9-1-1," "Snowfall," "ER," "Charmed," "Imposters," "Secrets and Lies" and "Seinfeld."

On film, Dowse starred as talent manager Marlene Andre opposite Jamie Foxx's Ray Charles in 2004's "Ray." She also shared the big screen with Samuel L. Jackson in 2005's "Coach Carter" as Principal Garrison — inspired by a real-life educator in Richmond, California. Dowse's other movie projects included "Sneakers" (1992), "Bio-Dome" (1996), "Starship Troopers" (1997), "Pleasantville" (1998), "Requiem for a Dream" (2000), "Dr. Dolittle 2" (2001), "Guess Who" (2005) and "Her Best Move" (2007).

The daughter of a United States Naval officer, Dowse was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, and began acting in third grade, according to a 2015 interview with Brownstone Radio. While frequently relocating with her family, performing remained a priority and constant in Dowse's early life. By the time she reached high school, however, Dowse had a choice to make: Would she join the Navy and follow in her father's footsteps or pursue theater and follow her heart?


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