Accomplished actress Denise Dowse has died at age 64 following a battle with a “virulent form of meningitis” that put her in a non-medically induced coma. The tragic news was confirmed by her sister, Tracey, on social media.
“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,” Tracey wrote in an Instagram post.
“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.”
Dowse was born on Feb. 21, 1958 in Honolulu. Her father worked professionally in the U.S. Navy, which caused her family to move relatively every two years. Her mother was a teacher.
Dowse began her career in the theater before moving to Los Angeles at age 30 and transitioned her career from the stage to the screen. When speaking on her passion, though, she once shared, “Of all of it, I love theater. It doesn’t pay the bills, but it feeds the soul.”
Dowse was best known for her roles as therapist Rhonda Pine on Insecure, Vice Principal Yvonne Teasley on Beverly Hills, 90210, Ray Charles’ manager, Marlene André, in Ray, Principal Garrison in Coach Carter, and Yvonne Burns on Criminal Minds. According to The Hollywood Reporter, she considered these to be among her favorite roles. Dowse also made guest appearances on countless other shows and films, including Sister Sister, Moesha, Girlfriends, All of Us, The Seat Filler, Guess Who, and Rocket Power.
The illustrious talent also dabbled in directing and made her feature film directorial debut with the upcoming biopic, Remember Me: The Mahalia Jackson Story, starring Ledisi. The film is currently in post-production and premiered at the Pan African Film & Arts Festival in Los Angeles this past April.
VIBE sends our deepest condolences to Tracey Dowse, the actress’ family and friends, and those affected by this loss.