Jeffrey Conaway, American actor, Died at 61


Dead, Jeffrey Charles William Michael “Jeff” Conaway on May 27, 2011, at the age of 61, he was an American actor known for his role of Kenickie in the movie Grease and two US television series Taxi and Babylon 5.

Born in the New York City borough of Manhattan on October 5, 1950, and raised in the Astoria, Flushing, and Forest Hills neighbourhoods of the borough Queens.

His father, Charles (deceased), was an actor, producer and publisher. His mother, Helen (deceased), an actress who went by the stage name Mary Ann Brooks, taught music at New York City’s Brook Conservatory.

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 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.

Having struggled with addiction for many years, Jeff had been trying to treat himself with pain killers and cold medicine in May, 2011.

He was found unconscious in his home on May 11, 2011.

He remained in a coma until his family terminated life support on May 27, 2011.

Although he struggled with addiction problems throughout most of his adult life, many of Conaway’s coworkers said he was always the consummate professional on the job.

After Conaway’s death, fellow Babylon 5 (1994) star, Bruce Boxleitner, stated publicly that he had never seen Conaway in any state but sober at work, and always arrived on-time and prepared.