Jeff Conaway, TV and Film Star, Dies at 60
by PopEater Staff, posted May 27th 2011 3:15PM
Actor Jeff Conaway, best known for his television and movie roles in 'Taxi,' 'Babylon 5' and 'Grease,' died Friday at age 60, RadarOnline.com reports and The Hollywood Reporter confirms. The news comes just a day after reports that the star would be taken off life support.
Radar calls it "the end a long, sad road of addiction that made him one of Hollywood's cautionary tales." Conaway, known for his roles as Bobby Wheeler on 'Taxi' and T-Bird Kenickie in 'Grease,' was a New York native whose brutal battles with substance abuse came to define the latter decades of his fame.
Conaway was checked into an LA hospital on May 11. As of May 26, he was reported to have been experiencing no brain activity. A source told Radar that Conaway's feeding tube had been removed as of Thursday afternoon and that "Jeff is in no pain whatsoever."
Conaway shot to stardom in 1978 with his starring role in 'Grease' and in the same year began a three-year run on 'Taxi.' Roles dried up in the 1980s as his addictions worsened, but Conaway later found steady work on the sci-fi hit 'Babylon 5.'
Conaway, who had no children, was married twice -- once to Olivia Newton-John's sister Rona from 1980 to 1985, and again to Kerri Young in 1990.
In 2008, a disheveled and unhealthy Conaway joined celebrity doctor Drew Pinsky's VH1 show, 'Celebrity Rehab,' to address his addiction to drugs and alcohol. Sadly, his sobriety attempt failed and last year, the actor was injured in a fall while under the influence of OxyContin and methadone.
According to E! Online, in that same year, Conaway scarily told Howard Stern he had attempted suicide many, many times. "I've tried to commit suicide 21 times. I'm terrible at it! I get depressed over how come I can't kill myself," Conaway said. "Mostly it's been with pills. I've taken enough pills to knock an elephant out ... God wants me on this planet for some reason or another."
This time, in May of 2011, it was originally reported that Conaway was hospitalized due to a prescription drug overdose, but Pinsky later insisted the star was suffering from pneumonia and sepsis, a dangerous blood infection. Pinsky tweeted on May 21, "We all need to pray for him. Not doing well today suddenly."
Of his televised problems with addiction, Conaway told THR in 2009, "I think people are just enamored with other people's problems because they have enough of their own, and they want to stop thinking about their own and think about somebody else's for a while. I think that's what television is all about, really."
Earlier this year, Conaway and on-and-off-again girlfriend Victoria Spinoza filed restraining orders against each other. The night before Conaway was hospitalized, Spinoza paid him a visit that ignited controversy within the star's family.
Conaway's sister, Carla Shreve, filed a May 18 restraining order against Spinoza, alleging that after a recent breakup, Conaway feared for his life.
"He had just secured an apartment ... and was calling friends and family anxious to start this part of his life without her," reads Shreve's restraining order request, obtained by PEOPLE.
The magazine calls Conaway's rocky relationship with Spinoza "volatile," noting restraining orders each filed against the other earlier in 2011. Spinoza's friend and spokesperson, Aubry Fisher, tells PEOPLE Spinoza cared for Conaway for seven years and deems the new restraining order "horrible and wrong."
"When Vikki went to visit Jeff in the hospital, she sat by his side," Fisher said, referencing the day before the restraining order went through. "They were in the process of reconciling."
Remember Conaway with his performance of 'Greased Lightning':