Jeffrey Charles William Michael Conaway (1950 - 2011) MP

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Birthplace: New York, NY, USA
Death: Died
Occupation: Actor, teacher and coach
Managed by: Carlos Bunge Molina y Vedia
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

    • Keri
    • Rona
    • Helen
    • Charles
    • Michelle
    • Carla
    • Caroline
      ex-wife's daughter
    • Brett
      ex-wife's son
    • Emerson
      ex-wife's son

About Jeffrey Charles William Michael Conaway

American actor Jeff Conaway was best known for his roles in the movie Grease and the U.S. television series Taxi and Babylon 5. He directed the 1992 film Bikini Summer II. Conaway was on the hit TV show Celebrity Rehab, but since then relapsed, and died due to drug usage.

He was born Jeffrey Charles William Michael Conaway on October 5, 1950 in Manhattan, New York City, and raised in the Astoria, Flushing, and Forest Hills neighborhoods of the borough Queens. His father, Charles, was an actor, producer and publisher. His mother, Helen, an actress who went by the stage name Mary Ann Brooks, taught music at New York City's Brook Conservatory. They divorced when he was 3, and Conaway and his two older sisters lived with his mother. He also spent time living with his grandparents in South Carolina, which gave him enough of a Southern accent that when he accompanied his mother to a casting call for director Arthur Penn's Broadway play All the Way Home, the 10-year-old Conaway landed a featured role as one of four boys. The 1961 Pulitzer Prize-winning play was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play and ran 333 performances and one preview from November 29, 1960 to September 16, 1961. Conaway remained for the entire run, then toured with the national company of the play Critic's Choice.

Conaway worked as a child model, and attended high school at the Quintano School for Young Professionals. After playing with the rock band 3 1/2 for a time, beginning at age 15, he attended the North Carolina School of the Arts and later transferred to New York University.

While at NYU, he appeared in television commercials and had the lead in a school production of The Threepenny Opera. He made his movie debut in the 1971 romantic drama Jennifer on my Mind.

The following year, Conaway appeared in the original cast of the Broadway musical Grease, as an understudy to several roles including that of the lead male character, Danny Zuko, and eventually succeeded role-originator Barry Bostwick. He played the role for 2 1/2 years while his friend John Travolta, with whom he shared a manager, later joined the show, playing Doody in the chorus. The two would reunite in the 1978 motion picture musical Grease, in which Travolta played Zuko and Conaway his buddy Kenickie.

After breaking into series television in 1975 with Happy Days, followed by other sitcom and drama appearances and three more movies including Grease, Conaway was cast as vain, struggling, but goodhearted actor Bobby Wheeler in the workplace comedy Taxi, which premiered in fall 1978. He had appeared in an episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show for the same producers, and, he said in 1987, was originally considered for the role of John Burns, which eventually went to Randall Carver.

Conaway left Taxi after the third season. Part of the reason was his drug abuse after season one.Taxi writer Sam Simon recalled in 2008 that during production of Simon's first script for that show, a missing Conaway was found in his dressing room too high on drugs to perform, and that his dialogue for that episode was divided between his co-stars Danny DeVito and Christopher Lloyd who delivered the jokes well enough so that Conaway's absence had little negative impact on the actual episode. This caused the show's producers to realize that he was expendable and contributed to Conaway's eventual firing.

He then delved into the realm of "fantastic television," appearing as Prince Erick Greystone in Wizards and Warriors (1983) and (occasionally) as Zack Allen on Babylon 5 (1992). Active in the direct-to-video market, Jeff Conaway both directed and acted in Bikini Summer 2 (1992). His problems with substance escalated in later years, and after appearing on several intervention-style reality shows, Conaway succumbed to various health problems and died on May 27, 2011.

Source: Wikipedia, Starpulse