DWTS Cast Mourns ‘Insanely Heartbreaking’ Loss


Several “Dancing With the Stars” cast members are mourning the “insanely heartbreaking” loss of their dear friend Denise Dowse, who died on August 13 at the age of 64 after a short battle with severe meningitis, which landed her in a coma on August 5 from which she never awoke.

Here’s what they are saying:

Denise Dowse was a Recurring Star of ‘Insecure’ & ‘Beverly Hills, 90210’

Dowse is an actress best known for playing assistant principal Mrs. Teasley on “Beverly Hills, 90210,” Judge Damsen on “The Guardian” and Dr. Rhonda Pine on “Insecure.”

On August 5, her sister Tracey Dowse posted to Instagram that the actress had contracted meningitis and fell into a coma.

Tracey wrote:

She is currently in the hospital in a coma 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.

She is a vibrant actor and director that should have many years ahead of her. Thoughts, prayers and support are greatly appreciated.

But on August 13, Tracey posted that her sister had died.

I want to take this moment to thank our friends and family for all of the love and prayers. 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.

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.

I ask for privacy and your continued prayers. I will provide, at a later time, her Celebration of Life information. I will update you here.
Again I am so grateful for all the calls, text messages, direct messages, and silent prayers for my sister. 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.

Tributes came pouring in from many actors who had worked with Dowse over the years, including several “Dancing With the Stars” alumni.

Ian Ziering Called the Loss ‘Insanely Heartbreaking’

On both the post announcing her death and on his own Instagram, actor and “Dancing With the Stars” season four alum Ian Ziering wrote a lengthy tribute about how much he loved Dowse.

Ziering wrote:

This is insanely heartbreaking. 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. 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. My sincere condolences to her family, and all others who she was dear to. God bless you Denise, pay forward that Legacy Key.

On the show, Steve Sanders was always a bit of a thorn in Mrs. Teasley’s side, so Dowse and Ziering shared many scenes together over the years.

Fellow “Beverly Hills, 90210” star and “Dancing With the Stars” alum Jennie Garth wrote, “Sending love to you” on Tracey’s post on Denise’s Instagram page.

On Ziering’s post, fellow “Beverly Hills, 90210” star and “Dancing With the Stars” alum Brian Austin Green left two heart emojis, and on Tracey’s post, Tori Spelling wrote, “Thank you Tracey for writing this. Condolences to you and your entire family. Denise was so special. So smart, charming, and funny. So beautiful inside and out. Her smile was contagious. Her hugs were the best. Grateful grateful for the time she spent in my life. Hugs to you all!”

Many other famous faces left words of condolences on Tracey’s Instagram post on Denise’s page.

Dowse’s “Insecure” co-star Issa Rae left a comment that reads, “Sending you much love. Ms. Denise will be so missed and her impact will be felt for generations. I am forever thankful for her guidance.”

Actress Tracee Ellis Ross wrote, “ohhhhh how I loved you. And oh you were sooooo loved! Thank you for all that you shared with me from ‘Girlfriends’ to ‘blackish’!”

“We love love loved Denise! She was the most amazing and talented person! I’m praying for her spirit and for your strength during this time!” wrote actress Kym Whitley.

This is the second big loss for the “Beverly Hills, 90210” family in the summer of 2022. In July, one of the original writers/producers, Jessica Klein, died after a battle with cancer.

On Garth’s “9021OMG” podcast, she remembered Klein as a “beautiful, beautiful human being.”

“Dancing With the Stars” returns for its 31st season on Monday, September 19, on Disney Plus.

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