Bobby Bank/WireImage Joe E. Tata
Joe E. Tata, the actor best known for playing Peach Pit diner owner Nat Bussichio on Beverly Hills, 90210, has died. He was 86.
former 90210 costar Ian Ziering posted the news of Tata’s death Thursday on Instagram. (Tata’s reps and daughter, Kelly, did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.)
In the touching tribute, Ziering noted how Tata’s death comes after the cast and crew recently lost two other members of their 90210 family.
“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,” he wrote beside two photos of Tata.
“Joey was truly an OG,” Ziering continued. “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 noted. “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.”
Aaron Spelling Prods/Courtesy Everett Collection Joe E. Tata on Beverly Hills, 90210
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Though Tata “may have been in the back of many scenes,” Ziering said “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,” he concluded. “My sincere condolences go out to his family and friends, and everyone else he was dear too. Rest In peace Joey 🙏”
Courtesy Everett Collection Joe E. Tata on Beverly Hills, 90210
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As fans know, Tata portrayed Nat Bussichio on Beverly Hills, 90210 for its entire run from 1990 until 2000. He later reprized his role in the 2008 CW spin-off 90210.
The Bronx-born actor was also known for his roles in the 1966 television series, Batman and The Time Tunnel, according to his IMDb page. His other credits included playing Private Neddick on No Time for Sergeants from 1964–1965) and the 1970s detective drama series The Rockford Files.
His final television credit came in 2014 when he played Principal Frost in ABC Family’s Mystery Girls.
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In October 2021, Tata’s daughter Kelly launched a GoFundMe page that revealed her father’s health took “a turn for the worse” in 2014 and he was officially diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in 2018.
“Now 86 years old, his illness has progressed to its final stages,” she wrote on the page at the time, which was set up to help with care and travel expenses. “He spends his days scared and confused. The few times I’ve seen him, there is relief and joy in his eyes.”
She added, “Nat was a loving father figure to the kids of West Beverly High. In real life, my Dad, Joey, is honest, kind, and a truly incredible father.”