Denise Dowse, the busy character actress who played Vice Director Yvonne Teasley on Beverly Hills, 90210Judge Rebecca Damsen op the guard and therapist Rhonda Pine on Insecure, has passed away. She was 64.
Dowse’s passing was announced on her Instagram account on Saturday by older sister Tracey Dowse, who praised her sibling as “the most wonderful sister, an accomplished, illustrious actress, mentor and director. She was my very best friend and last family member. ”
On August 7, Tracey wrote on Instagram that her younger sister was hospitalized and in a coma caused by a “virulent form of meningitis.”
On the big screen, Denise Dowse stood out as Ray Charles’ manager Marlene André in Ray (2004), starring Oscar winner Jamie Foxx, and she played another school principal, this one based on a real life teacher at Richmond (California) High School, in Coach Carter (2005), starring Samuel L. Jackson.
She said this was one of her favorite roles, as was her two-episode turn in 2011-12 as Yvonne Burns, the aunt of Shemar Moore’s Derek Morgan, on CBS’ criminal minds.
Dowse also did a lot of directing and was at the helm of Remember Me: The Story of Mahalia Jackson, starring Ledisi as the legendary gospel singer. The film opened at the Pan African Film & Arts Festival in Los Angeles in April.
Dowse returned as the strict but compassionate West Beverly Hills High Vice Principal Teasley in 23 episodes of Beverly Hills, 90210, over the entire 10-year run (1990-2000) of the Fox hit.
She then made 32 appearances as Judge Damsen in the 2001-04 CBS drama starring Simon Baker the guard and six as Molly’s (Yvonne Orji) therapist in the last three seasons of Issa Rae’s Insecure at HBO.
Denise Yvonne Dowse was born in Honolulu on February 21, 1958. Her father had a career in the United States Navy and her family moved virtually every two years. Meanwhile, her mother taught at school.
In 1976, while at WT Woodson High School in Fairfax, Virginia, she auditioned for a spot in the touring performing group Up With People, while also applying to the U.S. Naval Academy (which was the first year women had been there. were allowed).
“Right when I got the [Academy] physical training test, Up With People said, ‘We need a response, we need a response,’ and I had to make a choice,” Dowse recalled in a 2015 interview. do the theater for me? And I chose for myself.”
After graduating from Norfolk State University in 1980 and living with her parents in Germany for more than seven years — she also worked in theater while abroad — she moved to LA when she was 30. She found appearances as a perk, leading her to a line of dialogue on a 1989 episode of the NBC sitcom ALF.
“It brought me to the union and then I got an agent,” she said.
While building her acting career, she worked as an answering service operator and for five years as an office manager at a law firm in Westwood.
Dowse was also a recurring character on NBC’s Built to last in 1997, ABCs Secrets and Lies in 2015-16 and Bravos cheaters in 2017-18.
She also appeared in episodes of Roc, Seinfeld, Touched by an angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, NewsRadio, IS, Party of Five, Rate Amy, charmed, Law & authority, bones, Rizzoli & Islands, Murder in the First, 9-1-1, Grey’s Anatomy and Snowfall.
Her film resume included appearances in sneakers (1992), Bio Dome (1996), Spaceship Troopers (1997), Pleasantville (1998), Requiem for a dream (2000) and dr. Dolittle 2 (2001).
Dowse taught acting for 18 years and directed plays at the Amazing Grace Conservatory, a weekend performing arts school for students ages 8-18 in downtown Los Angeles.
In 2016 she headed the musical Recorded in Hollywood at the Kirk Douglas Theater in Culver City, then escorted Daughters of the Mock for The Negro Ensemble Company in New York a year later. She has won several NAACP Image Awards for directing during her career.
“Of all things, I like theatre,” she said. “It doesn’t pay the bills, but it feeds the soul.”