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 Jeff Conaway

Jeff Conaway

Birth
New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Death 27 May 2011 (aged 60)
Encino, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Burial Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend
Memorial ID 70465880 · View Source
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Actor. Best remembered for the role of 'Kenickie' in the classic motion picture musical "Grease" (1978) and for his role as Bobby Wheeler on the 1970s ABC sitcom "Taxi." He began on Broadway at age ten, appearing with Colleen Dewhurst and Lillian Gish in "All the Way Home" (1960). At the age of twenty, he made his feature film debut as a heroin addict in "Jennifer on My Mind" (1971). After making his television debut in the syndicated "Sea to Shining Sea" in 1974, he made numerous guest appearances on the shows, "Movin' On" for NBC (1974-76) and ABC's "Happy Days" (1974-1984). During this period, Conaway served as an understudy during the Broadway run of "Grease," eventually taking over the lead role of Danny Zuko. A film adaptation of the musical "Grease" would mark Conaway's big screen break in 1978, though the role of Danny Zucko went to John Travolta, Conaway was cast as the second male lead, Kenickie. Within the same year, he was cast as Bobby Wheeler, the out-of-work actor who moonlights as a cab driver on the classic ABC sitcom, "Taxi." He held his own, opposite such veteran actors as Danny DeVito and Judd Hirsch. Conaway earned Golden Globe nominations for his performance in 1979 and 1980. During his stint on "Taxi," Conaway continued to try to further his career with TV movie turns in two ABC TV films, "For the Love of It" (1980) and "Nashville Grab" (1981). Conaway left "Taxi" in 1982 in hopes of a feature film career, but he was back on TV the following year in the role of Prince Erik Greystone on the short lived CBS fantasy adventure series, "Wizards and Warriors" (1983), and supporting Joan Collins in ABC's "The Making of a Male Model" (1983). Conaway was cast as in other TV movies but by the mid-1980s, his problems with drugs and alcohol were coming to light. The actor was open about his addiction and the steps he was taking to get his life back on track. After a his first stay in rehab, Conaway was cast as in NBC's "Dirty Dozen: The Fatal Mission" (1988), and the feature film, "Elvira: Mistress of the Dark" (1988). He joined the CBS daytime drama, "The Bold and the Beautiful" (1987- ), but after less than a year on the series, the actor was back in the headlines when he sideswiped a bicycle rider on Santa Monica Boulevard in L.A. and was arrested for drunk driving. He was ordered to 60 days house arrest and three years probation with mandatory attendance at Alcoholics Anonymous five days per week for three years. During the 1990s Conway starred in numerous low budget films, and made his directorial debut with "Bikini Summer 2" (1992). Conaway found stability portraying security chief Zack Allan on three seasons of the syndicated science fiction series, "Babylon 5." He returned to his Broadway roots in 1997, this time playing disc jockey Vince Fontaine in the revival of "Grease." Conaway would later appear on VH1's "Celebrity Fit Club," but forced to leave the show due to a drug relapse in 2008. A frail, wheelchair-bound Conaway relocated to another VH1 reality series, "Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew." When Dr. Drew and the rehab facility deemed they could not help the ailing Conaway, he left and was taking painkillers on camera shortly thereafter. In 2010, Conaway's health declined further after he fell in his home and suffered a broken hip, a broken arm, a fractured neck and a brain hemorrhage. His recovery from this accident furthered his addiction to pain-killers. Jeff Conaway was found unconscious on May 11, 2011 and was hospitalized in a medically induced coma, from which he never recovered. He was married twice, first to Rona Newton-John in 1980 (sister of singer Olivia Newton-John) they divorced in 1985. He married his second wife Kerri in 1990.

Bio by: katzizkidz


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: katzizkidz
  • Added: 27 May 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 70465880
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Jeff Conaway (5 Oct 1950–27 May 2011), Find A Grave Memorial no. 70465880, ; Maintained by Find A Grave Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend.