Actor Jeff Conaway died today after being taken off life support by his family. He was 60.
Earlier this month, he was found unconscious in his home. There is some dispute as to whether this was caused by a drug overdose or by pneumonia. But in recent years, Conaway had a very public struggle with substance abuse and alcoholism. One day while flipping threw the channels I saw Conaway screaming in a wheelchair. I quickly flipped the channel. That’s not how I want to remember him.
I remember Conaway as Bobby Wheeler on Taxi (which happens to be my favorite TV comedy.) Others remember Conaway from Grease. In the early 70’s, Conaway played the lead role of Danny in the Broadway version of Grease. Of course, John Travolta would play that role in the movie version but Conaway would be cast in the film as Danny’s best friend, Kenickie.
If you watched Taxi, you’ll remember Bobby Wheeler as the struggling actor who could never quite make it despite his talent. Here’s a scene where Conaway gets to show his acting chops. At least in this instance, he passes the audition.