Joe E. Tata, an actor beloved for his role as Nat Bussichio in Beverly Hills, 90210, has died at the age of 85. His daughter, Kelly, confirmed the news on the GoFundMe launched after Tata’s health began to decline in October due to Alzheimer’s disease. He was diagnosed with the illness in 2018. “I’m devastated to report that my father Joe E. Tata passed away peacefully on August 24, 2022. My father and I are forever grateful for the love and support of family, friends, and fans. I’m also especially grateful to Joanna Konjevod for caring for my father in his final years and allowing me to be there to hold his hand in his final moments,” she wrote. “Please continue to keep us in your prayers as I grieve the loss of my best friend.”
Born in the Bronx, Tata began his television career in the 1960s with roles in General Hospital, The Outer Limits, The Good Guys, and the original Batman series among others. While he continued to appear in a number of series throughout the ’70s and ’80s, his big break came with a role in Beverly Hills, 90210 as Nat Bussichio, owner of the Peach Pit diner. The show ran for ten seasons and ended in 2000. Tata later reprised his role as Bussichio in the show’s spinoff for three episodes in 2008. His last acting credit was in the show Mystery Girls, in which he played Principal Frost in 2014.
Ian Ziering, a former Beverly Hills, 90210 co-star, remembered Tata in a moving Instagram post. “One of the happiest people I’ve ever worked with, he was as generous with his wisdom as he was with his kindness. Though the peach pit was a 90210 set, It often felt like the backdrop to the Joe E Tata show,” he wrote. “My smile dims today but basking in fond memories moves him from my eyes to my heart where he will always be.”