Denise Dowse, 'Insecure' And 'Beverly Hills, 90210' Actor, Dies At 64

With over 120 film and television credits to her name, Dowse has steadily appeared on screen since 1989.
Actor Denise Dowse has died after being hospitalized with meningitis.
Actor Denise Dowse has died after being hospitalized with meningitis.
Greg Doherty via Getty Images

Denise Dowse, a veteran television and film performer who’s best known for her roles in “Beverly Hills, 90210” and “Insecure,” has died after being hospitalized with meningitis. She was 64.

Dowse’s death was announced Saturday on her Instagram account by sister Tracey Dowse, who celebrated her late sibling as “the most amazing sister, a consummate, illustrious actress, mentor and director.”

“I want to take this moment to thank our friends and family for all of the love and prayers,” the post read. “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 was my very best friend and final family member,” Dowse’s sister continued. “Denise loved all of you. I know that she is watching over us with all the love she has.”

Dowse was hospitalized in a coma in early August with her sister revealing at the time that her condition was “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,” Tracey explained, sharing that her sister is a “vibrant actor and director” and “should have many years ahead of her.”

With over 120 film and television credits to her name, Dowse has steadily appeared on screen since 1989, becoming a regular guest star on some of the most popular series of the next two decades, including “Seinfeld,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Charmed,” “Sister, Sister,” “Moesha,” “Full House,” “Murphy Brown,” “Chicago Hope,” “Girlfriends” and “ER.”

But her recurring role as Vice Principal Mrs. Teasley on Fox’s “Beverly Hills, 90210,” in which she appeared in 24 episodes over the show’s 10-season run, was perhaps her most beloved.

Dowse was memorialized in a touching tribute from Ian Ziering, her former co-star on the ’90s teen soap, after the news of her death broke.

“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,” he wrote. “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.”

More recently, Dowse made recurring appearances on series like “Snowfall,” “The Resident” and “Imposters.” Her most recognizable role as of late was in the final three seasons of Issa Rae’s acclaimed HBO comedy “Insecure” as Dr. Rhonda Pine, the therapist to Yvonne Orji’s character Molly.

In a tweet on Sunday, Orji said it was “truly a delight and pleasure” to work with Dowse on the series, which ended its run last year.

“She embodied the strength and wisdom in real life that her character #DrRhonda shared with Molly,” she wrote. “You will truly be missed and so fondly remembered. May your soul forever Rest In Perfect Peace.”

In addition to her television work, Dowse also appeared in a handful of films over her career, including “Ray,” “Bio-Dome,” “Starship Troopers,” “A Civil Action,” “Coach Carter” and “The Call.”

Dowse made her directorial debut with the upcoming biopic “Remember Me: The Mahalia Jackson Story” about the titular legendary gospel singer.

The film, which stars Ledisi, Columbus Short, Corbin Bleu, Janet Hubert and Wendy Raquel Robinson, served as the opening-night selection for the 30th Pan African Film and Arts Festival in April.

Dowse walked the red carpet at the premiere in her final public appearance.

Denise Dowse attends the 2022 Pan African Film and Arts Festival on April 19 in Los Angeles.
Denise Dowse attends the 2022 Pan African Film and Arts Festival on April 19 in Los Angeles.
Maury Phillips via Getty Images

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