Joe, who played Nat Bussichio on the ’90S teen drama, died at the age of 85 on Thursday, August 25. Prior to his death, however, his daughter started a GoFundMe page asking for financial support to help care for the actor, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2018.
Initially, the funds raised were meant for Kelly to rent a car and move closer to her father in California. “His illness has progressed to its final stages,” she revealed. “He spends his days scared and confused. The few times I’ve seen him, there is relief and joy in his eyes.”
Now, however, the money will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association.
“Please continue to keep us in your prayers as I grieve the loss of my best friend,” she concluded her statement.
Ian Ziering, who portrayed Steve Sanders on all 10 seasons of the Fox hit, announced the news earlier on Thursday via Instagram in a touching tribute.
“In the last few months we’ve lost Jessica Klein one of 90210’s most prolific writers and producers, Denise Douse who played Mrs. Teasley, and now I’m very sad to say Joe E Tata has passed away,” the actor, 58, wrote alongside a photo of Joe as Nat and a second snap of the twosome posing together. “Joey was truly an OG, I remember seeing him on the Rockford files with James Garner years before we worked together on 90210. He was often one of the background villains in the original Batman series. One of the happiest people I’ve ever worked with, he was as generous with his wisdom as he was with his kindness.”
The Sharknado star also noted that the set of 90210 “often felt like the backdrop to the Joe E. Tata show” and that the cast was often entertained by the “incredible experiences in the entertainment industry” he would share. “He may have been in the back of many scenes, but he was a leading force, especially to us guys, on how to appreciate the gift that 90210 was,” Ziering wrote.
The New Jersey native concluded his post by saying that while his “smile dims today,” the “basking in fond memories moves him from my eyes to my heart where he will always be. My sincere condolences go out to his family and friends, and everyone else he was dear too. Rest In peace Joey 🙏.”
Throughout his time on the series, which aired from 1990 to 2000, Joe appeared in more than 200 episodes alongside Jason Priestley, Luke Perry, Brian Austin Green, Tori Spelling, Jennie Garth, Shannen Doherty and Gabrielle Carteris.
Joe then reprised his role for the first season of the 90210 CW reboot in 2009. He also reunited with Spelling, 49, and Garth, 50, during an episode of their ABC family sitcom Mystery Girls.
Many of Joe’s costars took to social media to remember the actor following his passing, including Priestley, 52. “Today we lost my dear friend and TV boss Joe E Tata,” who starred as Brandon Walsh on the series, wrote via Instagram. “Nat Busiccio was a huge part of Beverly Hills 90210 and Joey was a huge part of my life. Rest In Peace Joe. There will never be another.”
Spelling also gave a touching tribute to Batman alum, referring to Joe as one of “the kindest, funniest, most professional, amazing humans I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with and more importantly being friends with in my entire life.”