Jeff Conaway, the actor who rose to fame in the late 1970s as a greaser in the hit musical film “Grease” and as a cast member on the show Taxi, but had more recently appeared on Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew, died today at 60 years of age.
Conaway was removed from life support at Encino Hospital Medical Center, according to his sister Carla Shreve. He had pneumonia when he got to the hospital on May 10 and was unconscious from taking too many prescription drugs. He was placed into a medically-induced coma.
Conaway had performed in the Broadway version of “Grease” before the movie starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John came out in 1978.
Conaway played Kenickie, the Rydell High School buddy of Travolta’s Danny Zuko.
Later that year, Conaway started his role as Bobby Wheeler, the cab-driving actor in Taxi.
After three seasons on the show, Conaway broke his contract and quit, having grown tired of being typecast as a “blond bimbo.”
He returned to television in 1984 as Prince Erik Greystone on the fantasy series Wizards and Warriors. Then came a role on Berrenger’s, a short-lived 1985 nighttime soap.
The same year, Conaway starred in the Broadway production, “The News”, a rock musical that closed after just two days.
He later appeared in the soap The Bold and the Beautiful and the ’90s sci-fi cult TV hit series Babylon 5.
Conaway was already known for leaving VH1′s Celebrity Fit Club for a rehab attempt in 2006 when he joined eight other stars on the premiere of VH1′s Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew in 2008.
He was so intoxicated the morning he checked in, subtitles were needed to translate his speech.
That January, Conaway had said he had developed an addiction to cocaine and pain pills after undergoing back surgery, and when he tried to quit, he threw and blacked out.
When Celebrity Rehab 2 With Dr. Drew started in November 2008, Conaway returned to give it another shot.
Conaway was once married to Olivia Newton-John’s sister, Rona.
Besides his sister Carla, he is survived by his wife, Kerri Young Conaway; another sister, Michele Goffin; and a stepson, Emerson Hall.
See video of Conaway in action below, as well as Dr. Drew Pinsky‘s response to Jeff’s passing.