Since 1978, when Grease first swept the globe and became one of the most well-known and cherished musicals of all time, 40 years have passed.
The word is grease! When Grease debuted in theatres in June 1978, it became an immediate success, and its cast members became overnight celebrities.
The movie, which is based on the same-named musical from 1971, follows Rydell High School students in 1958 when they return from summer vacation. Danny Zuko (John Travolta) and Sandy Olsson (Olivia Newton-John) enjoy a seasonal fling, as vividly recounted in the song “Summer Nights,” but when they return to class, they have conflicting expectations about where their relationship stands.
Because of his role in 1977’s Saturday Night Fever, the Pulp Fiction actor was already somewhat well-known, but Newton-John hadn’t yet achieved stardom in the United States. After Grease, the all-time highest-grossing movie musical, that situation altered.
Although they were hardly acquainted when filming for Grease began — and one of the first scenes they shot was a kiss — the Xanadu actress and the New Jersey native remained close friends even after they finished the movie until the latter’s death in 2022.
The “Physical” singer admitted to being anxious to Us Weekly in January 2021. It was a very memorable day, and since we hadn’t spent much time together, it was a nice way to get to know John a little better. Although we had some dancing and rehearsing time beforehand, today was our first acting day. It was beautiful. It was unique.
Travolta, for his part, thinks Sandy and Danny would still be together if the movie’s last scene had depicted them truly flying off into the sunset.
Wop bam boom and wop ba-ba lu-mop!
But what have Rydell High students been doing since then? Let’s find out, so grab your T-bird jacket.
Travolta, John (Danny)
John, who is without a doubt the biggest star to emerge from Grease, had his acting debut in the previous year’s Saturday Night Fever, and he continued his hot run in Grease as the hot Danny.
He has now grown to be one of Hollywood’s biggest stars. Before 1994’s Pulp Fiction arrived, he spent more than a decade wandering the A-list. Over the past two decades, he has enjoyed several successes, including Wild Hogs, Hairspray, From Paris With Love, and Get Shorty.
He gained popularity more recently for his portrayal of attorney Robert Shapiro in the television drama The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. He and Olivia Newton-John reconnected for a Christmas CD a couple of years ago, and they have since collaborated for a scaled-down Grease reunion.
Olivia Newton-John (Sandy)
The Australian singer, who was already a massive country artist and who was initially hesitant to star since she was too old to play a high-schooler (she turned 29 during filming! ), was without a doubt Olivia’s biggest and best career move.
She continued to travel for the next few decades and enjoyed further pop success with songs like “Physical.” Between 2014 and 2016, she performed 175 gigs as part of her Las Vegas residency.
It was revealed in May 2017 that her breast cancer has come back and spread to her lower back. She provided an update on her status in March 2018 and stated that she felt “very terrific.”
On August 8, 2022, Olivia tragically died at the age of 73. Leading the accolades, John Travolta said: “Olivia, you have greatly improved all of our lives. Your influence was tremendous. I adore you a lot.”
Stockard Channing (Rizzo)
She will always be best known for her performance as Pink Lady Rizzo, but Stockard has had a very successful acting career in roles unrelated to Rydell. She has received an Emmy and a Tony award, and she was nominated for an Oscar (for Six Degrees of Separation).
She was well-known for her seven-year role as First Lady Abbey Bartlet on The West Wing, and more recently, she made an appearance in The Good Wife. She also performs frequently on Broadway and most recently appeared in Apologia in the West End.
Jeff Conaway (Kenickie)
Jeff portrayed Danny in the original stage production of Grease (his friend John Travolta played Doody! ), and later enjoyed enormous success on television with programs like Happy Days and Taxi.
After playing Kenickie in the film, he struggled to maintain his success, but he continued to act in TV and movies. He had several addiction-related problems and has made appearances on several reality TV programs. At the age of 60, he passed away in 2011 from pneumonia.
Rona, the older sister of Olivia Newton-John, and Jeff were once married for five years.
Didi Conn (Frenchy)
Didi frequently attends Grease conventions and never hesitates to wear her Pink Ladies jacket.
She has kept acting throughout the years, making appearances in almost 40 TV and film projects, including The Wild Thornberries, Transparent, Grease 2, Happy Days, Cagney & Lacey, and Grease 2.
Didi surprised viewers in 2019 by competing on ITV’s Dancing on Ice.
Barry Pearl (Doody)
Barry originally played Sonny in the stage adaptation, but he will always be best recognized for his role as T-Bird jokester Doody.
He later appeared in shows including ER, Beverly Hills 90210, House, Murder She Wrote, and Criminal Minds. He recently appeared in Grease Live with Didi.
Kelly Ward (Putzie)
Following her role as the blonde T-Bird Putzie, Kelly pursued a career in filmmaking.
He is currently employed by Disney Television Animation as a voice director, and among many other projects, he has directed voice performances for Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. The University of Southern California is where he also offers a musical theatre course.
Michael Tucci (Sonny)
Following his performance as the film’s buffoon Sonny, he went on to play a variety of TV characters, including a regular part opposite Dick Van Dyke in Diagnosis Murder.
He portrayed Melissa McCarthy’s father in The Heat in 2013, and he’s a teacher at St. Francis High School in California right now.
Jamie Donnelly (Jan)
Jamie keeps acting after portraying nerdy Pink Lady Jan. She has recently made appearances in the television shows Ray Donovan, can Hardly Wait, Cyrus, and Veep.
She co-starred with Johnny Depp in the film Black Mass in 2015.
Dinah Manoff (Marty)
After Grease, Tony Award winner Dinah appeared in films like Child’s Play, Welcome Home, and Ordinary People.
She has participated in several Grease events, but since 2008, she has not received any acting credits.
Lorenzo Lamas (Tom)
One of the rare actors who truly played his age was Lorenzo, who was only 18 when he played Sandy’s romantic interest, Tom.
His most well-known roles since then have been in the soap operas Falcon Crest and The Bold and the Beautiful. Additionally, he served as a judge on the American program Are You Hot? and even had a reality show about his family called Leave It To Lamas.
Annette Charles (Cha Cha)
After portraying the seductive dancer Cha Cha in Grease, Annette had a few other roles.
She sadly went away from brain cancer in 2011 at the age of 63—just three months after Jeff Conaway had gone.
Leo “Craterface” Stewart Dennis C Stewart
Dennis, a famous actor, and dancer played the ideal bad guy in Craterface, and he later came back for the 1982 sequel.
Over the ensuing ten years, he played a variety of roles in both film and television. He passed away at the age of 46 in 1994 as a result of complications from AIDS.
Some FAQs About Grease Cast & Characters Guides:
Rizzo from Grease is where?
Betty Rizzo, Stockard Channing
And if that weren’t enough, Stockard is a regular on Broadway, landing parts in It’s Only A Play, Other Desert Cities, and Apologia, which will soon make its West End debut.
In the movie Grease, Olivia Newton-John was how old?
Newton-John insisted on a screen test with the movie’s co-lead, John Travolta, feeling disillusioned by her Toomorrow experience and worried that she was too old to play a high school senior (she was 28 at the time of Grease’s filming).
What caused Sandy from Grease to pass away?
breast cancer that has spread
Pop singer Olivia Newton-John, who made an impression as Sandy in Grease, passes away at 73. Stage IV cancer was present in the British-Australian chanteuse, well remembered for her role in the 1978 musical smash. breast cancer that has spread
Where was the Grease movie shot?
It became the highest-grossing musical picture ever when it was released. Malibu, Burbank, and Los Angeles, California, USA, are where Grease was filmed. John Marshall High School, Venice High School, Huntington Park High School, and Leo Carrillo State Beach were among the sites used for filming. CA’s Malibu.
In Grease, where is Rydell High meant to be?
Three distinct real Los Angeles high schools make up Rydell High. Venice High School’s exterior, Huntington Park High School’s interior, and John Marshall High School’s playing field are all three high schools. Sandy and Danny attended the prom