Grease is one of those classic films filled with songs that just about everyone can recite today. The movie also gave us some memorable characters including Danny Zuko and Sandy Olsson. Sadly on Aug. 8, 2022, news broke that Olivia Newton-John, who played Sandy, died at her home in California after a long battle with breast cancer. She was 73.
“Dame Olivia Newton-John passed away peacefully at her ranch in Southern California this morning, surrounded by family and friends. We ask that everyone please respect the family’s privacy during this very difficult time,” a post on her official Facebook page read.
Here are a few other actors from the iconic Grease movie who you may not have known also died.
Annette Charles who played Charlene “Cha Cha” DiGregorio
Annette Charles was best known for her role as the cha-cha dancing Charlene DiGregorio in the 1978 film.
She made several appearances in TV and movies over the years as well but left her career in the entertainment business after earning a bachelor’s degree from Antioch University Los Angeles in psychology and theater. She then got her master’s degree in social work from New York University and became a speech communication professor at California State University, Northridge.
Charles died on Aug. 3, 2011, from lung cancer.
Jeff Conaway who played Kenickie
In addition to playing fan favorite Kenickie in Grease, John Conaway was also known for his role as Bobby Wheeler in Taxi and security officer Zack Allan in Babylon 5.
He was married to Olivia Newton John’s older sister, Rona Newton-John, for five years. In 2008, he appeared on Seasons 1 and 2 of Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew for drug and alcohol treatment.
On May 11, 2011, Conaway was found unconscious and taken to an Encino, California hospital. Two weeks later, the decision was made to take him off life support. He died on May 27, 2011. He was 60.
Dennis Stewart who played Leo Balmudo
Dennis Stewart is best known for playing Leo “Craterface” Balmudo in Grease. The character was the leader of the T-Birds rival gang called the Scorpions.
After appearing in the 1978 film, Stewart reprised his role for Grease 2 in 1982.
He was diagnosed with HIV in 1993 and on April 4, 1994, died from pneumonia as a result of complications from AIDS. He was 46.
Eve Arden who played Principal McGee
Eve Arden, who had a long film and stage career, played Rydell High School Principal McGee in Grease. She reprised her role four years later in Grease 2.
On Nov. 12, 1990, she died from heart disease. She was 82.
Dody Goodman, who shared scenes with Arden in the role of Rydell High School secretary Blanche Hodel, died on June 22, 2008, following a long battle with colon cancer. She was 93.
Edd Byrnes who played Vince Fontaine
Edd Byrnes, who played dance show host Vic Fontaine during Rydell’s prom, was also known for his starring role in the television series 77 Sunset Strip. He had numerous guest-starring TV roles over the years as well.
On Jan. 8, 2020, died of natural causes. He was 87.
Another actor with a smaller part in the movie Alice Ghostley, who played auto shop teacher Mrs. Murdock, died on Sept. 21, 2007. She was 81. And Sid Caesar, who played Coach Calhoun, died on Feb. 12, 2014. He was 91.