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Joe E. Tata, Peach Pit Owner in ‘Beverly Hills, 90210,’ Dies at 85


Joe E. Tata, a personality actor whose roles in an extended television profession included henchmen in the unique “Batman” series and bit parts on “The Rockford Files,” but who was best referred to as the good-natured owner of the Peach Pit diner within the Nineteen Nineties teen drama “Beverly Hills, 90210,” died on Thursday in Woodland Hills, Calif. He was 85.

His death, at a care facility, was confirmed by his lawyer Richard W. Sharpe, who didn’t specify a cause.

Mr. Tata’s daughter Kelly Tata also shared the news of his death in a press release on a GoFundMe page that she began to help cover the price of his care. She said he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2018.

From 1990 to 2000, Mr. Tata played Nat Bussichio, the friendly owner of the fictional Peach Pit, in 238 episodes of “Beverly Hills, 90210.” As Nat, Mr. Tata served as a father figure and role model to the characters on the show, which followed a bunch of highschool friends within the affluent ZIP code.

Although the show had a sluggish start in its first season on Fox in 1990, it became successful and a pop-culture phenomenon that intercut romantic themes with serious issues, including teenage pregnancy and racism. The show’s popularity also made celebrities of its telegenic young forged, which included Jason Priestley, Shannen Doherty, Luke Perry, Jennie Garth, Ian Ziering, Brian Austin Green and Tori Spelling (whose father, Aaron Spelling, produced the show).

Joseph Evan Tata was born on Sept. 13, 1936, within the Bronx. His father, John Lucas, was a vaudevillian who made a reputation for himself as Rosey the Singing Barber. Complete information abut Mr. Tata’s survivors was not immediately available.

Mr. Tata landed his first television role in 1960, in an episode of “Peter Gunn.” He went on to have a prolific profession as a personality actor, with bit parts in dozens of television dramas and science fiction shows.

He provided the voice of several robots within the sci-fi series “Lost in Space” and played several henchmen in the unique “Batman” series, starring Adam West. He also played an alien on “The Outer Limits.”

Mr. Tata also became a well-recognized face in police and detective shows within the Nineteen Sixties and ’70s, with appearances in “Mission: Not possible,” “Police Story” and “The Rockford Files,” which starred James Garner.

But Mr. Tata’s most enduring role was on “Beverly Hills, 90120.” The scholars of West Beverly High were often shown hanging out after school on the Peach Pit, where Mr. Tata, as Nat, would hearken to their problems and dole out advice.

In an Instagram post on Thursday, Mr. Ziering said that while Mr. Tata “can have been at the back of many scenes,” he was “a number one force, especially to us guys, on learn how to appreciate the gift that 90210 was.”

The series led to 2000 after almost 300 episodes and gave rise to several spinoffs, including “Melrose Place” and the 2008 reboot “90210,” during which Mr. Tata reprised his role.

His most up-to-date acting credit, from 2014, was as a highschool principal within the ABC Family comedy series “Mystery Girls,” which starred Ms. Garth and Ms. Spelling.

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