Actor Jeff Conaway, best known for his roles in the classic television series “Taxi” and in the movie musical “Grease” has died at a hosptial in Encino, Cal.
He was 60.
Conaway had long suffered from drug and alcohol addiction and had in recent years regained some of his fame through a dubious way, by appearing in the reality TV program “Celebrity Rehab,” died Friday.
He has been taken unconscious to Encino Tarzana Medical Center on May 11and placed in a medically induced coma.
The actor was removed from life support yesterday and died Friday morning at the Medical Center, according to one of his managers, Kathryn Boole.
She said that his family members, including his sisters, nieces and nephews and his minister, were with him when he expired.
“It's sad that people remember his struggle with drugs … he has touched so many people,” she said, according to reports. “[He was] always so interesting to talk to. We respected him as an artist and loved him as a friend. He was trying so hard to get clean and sober. If it hadn't been for his back pain, I think he would have been able to do it.”
After Conaway was hospitalized, Brock had said: “He's a gentle soul with a good heart … but he's never been able to exorcise his demons.”
Conaway first admitted his drug problems in 1985 during an interview with Associated Press.
“I thought, `If I stay in this business, I'll be dead in a year.’ There were drugs all over the place and people were doing them. I had started to do them. I realized that I'd die,” he told AP.
Born in New York City in 1950 to a family immersed in show business, he made his Broadway debut at age 10 in the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama “All the Way Home.”
After appearing in many TV shows, plays and bit parts in films for many years, in1978, he landed the role of Bobby Wheeler, the vain struggling actor on “Taxi”.
Conaway received two Golden Globe nominations for “Taxi,” but became disenchanted with regular series work. He quit the show in 1981 (it lasted without him through 1983).
In 'Taxi,' I kept doing the same scene for three years, he told the Toronto Star in 1989. I was underused -- it's natural when there are seven people involved in a half-hour show.
“I got very depressed. Hollywood can be a terrible place when you're depressed. The pits. I decided I had to change my life and do different things,” he told AP in 1985.
However, he was never again able to match the success and acclaim he had on “Taxi” or in the 1978 blockbuster film “Grease.”
Conaway is survived by his wife, Kerri Young Conaway; and a stepson, Emerson Hall.