Jeff Conaway: Wikis

  
  

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Jeff Conaway
Born Jeffrey Charles William Michael Conaway[1]
October 5, 1950 (1950-10-05) (age 59)[1]
New York, New York, United States
Spouse(s) Rona Newton-John
(1980-1985)
Keri Conaway
(1990-unknown status)

Jeffrey "Jeff" Conaway (born October 5, 1950[1], New York City, New York, United States[1]) is an American actor, best known for his roles in the movie Grease, and the US TV series Taxi and Babylon 5. He has also directed direct-to-video features.

Contents

Career

Conaway began acting on Broadway at age 2. He is most commonly known for playing "Kenickie" in the 1978 motion picture musical Grease and for his role on the television series Taxi (1978-1981), where he played grinning, high-energy, out-of-work actor Bobby Wheeler. Conaway left Taxi during the fourth season. On The Howard Stern Show, Taxi writer Sam Simon claimed that when Conaway was absent during the production of one episode, his dialogue was reassigned to the other cast members who delivered the jokes as well or better, which made the producers realize that Conaway was expendable.[2]

Conaway starred in the short-lived 1983 fantasy-spoof series, Wizards and Warriors. He made an appearance in the film, Jawbreaker, as the father of one of the teenage girls. In 1988, he appeared as a sleazy henchman in, Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. From 1989-1990, he was cast on The Bold and the Beautiful, in the role of "Mick Savage." He would later play Sgt. Zack Allan, on Babylon 5 (seasons two through five and the telefilm A Call To Arms, 1994-1999). He has made guest appearances on shows ranging from Barnaby Jones to George and Leo. He also appeared in the Disney film Pete's Dragon. In 2001, he was an F.B.I. agent in the film, "Do You Wanna' Know a Secret?"

Personal life

Racecar driver Emerson Newton-John is Conaway's son with first wife Rona Newton-John, older sister of Olivia Newton-John.

Substance abuse problems

After hitting bottom in the mid '80s, Conaway came to grips with the fact that he had a substance abuse problem. He successfully underwent treatment in the late '80s and often spoke candidly about his problem.

By the mid-2000s however, Conaway's problems with drugs had resurfaced. Conaway appeared in VH1's Celebrity Fit Club, but was forced to leave due to his relapse and entered rehab. In early 2008 Conaway appeared with other celebrities in the VH1 reality series Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. The show revealed that Conaway is addicted to cocaine, alcohol, and painkillers, and in a co-dependent relationship with his girlfriend Vicki, also a user of prescription opiates. Conaway had suffered a back injury earlier in his career, which had been exacerbated more recently as a result of lifting boxes in his home. Dr. Drew Pinsky implied that Conaway's bad back has been detrimental to his sobriety.

Conaway's appearance on the show's first and second seasons has drawn much attention due to his severe crippled state, his constant threats of leaving the facility and his frequent inability to speak clearly. Upon arrival at the Pasadena Recovery Center (which was filmed as part of Celebrity Rehab's first episode) a wheelchair-bound Conaway arrived in a very fragile state, mumbling to Dr. Drew that the night previous he had binged on cocaine and Jack Daniel's whiskey.

During the second episode of Celebrity Rehab's first season Conaway, clearly fed up with his dorsalgia, withdrawal symptoms and the humiliation of having to be assisted while using the toilet, told Dr. Pinsky that he is thinking of killing himself. After Pinsky asked him to elaborate upon how he would carry out a suicidal act, Conaway glared at the mirror in his room and said "I see myself breaking that mirror and slicing my **** throat with it. And those glasses, I could break them and I could slit my wrists with them."

Faced with the need for surgery, Conaway opted to leave the rehab facility during the series' seventh episode. During group sessions, Conaway revealed "torture" from his childhood, as older boys in his neighborhood would put him into dangerous situations, tying him up and threatening him. When he was 7-years-old, he was a victim of pedophiles and child pornographers.[3] Conaway stated that he had been an addict since he was a teenager.[4]

With John Travolta's support, Conaway took courses and auditing from the Church of Scientology to cope with his drug problem and depression,[5] although he did not intend to become a Scientologist.[6][7][8]

Conaway's appearance on Celebrity Rehab 2 did not go well. He admitted to Dr. Drew that he had relapsed on painkillers and cocaine, which was caused, Conaway claimed, by domestic issues with his girlfriend. During the season Conaway was obsessed with the belief that another back surgery (he's had several of them prior to season 2) would cure his quasi-crippled state; Dr. Drew, along with Conaway's back surgeon, vehemently disagreed saying that another surgery will most likely make things worse. There was a scene on the show where Conaway threatened to kill himself if he cannot get better. Conaway left shortly before rehab-graduation, due to an incident involving him kicking Vikki during an intense argument. To Dr. Drew's chagrin, Conaway continued (in front of a camera) using pain killers as soon as he arrived at his home. For a time, Conaway's state was unclear. However, on the January 12, 2009 edition of The Howard Stern Show, Dr. Drew Pinsky said that Conaway was no longer his patient and that he wished him "good luck."

In June 2009, Conaway and Vicki joined Celebrity Rehab cast mate Mary Carey at the premier of her spoof flick Celebrity Pornhab with Dr. Screw. Dr. Drew has said that he is saddened by the situation.[9]

In August of 2009 Conaway was interviewed by Entertainment Tonight[10]. In the interview, the actor claimed he was much better after a fifth back operation, and that he had yet to use painkillers again. He also discussed unscrupulous doctors and enablers.

Confrontation

On BBC Radio 2's Russell Brand Show,[11] Noel Gallagher claimed that he got into a confrontation with Jeff Conaway backstage at a gig resulting in Conaway pulling a knife on Gallagher.[12] According to his interview on the show the following week,[13] Conaway confirmed he regularly carries a knife and that he carried a hatchet with him in his youth, which he blames on "growing up in New York."

References

  1. ^ a b c d Jeff at filmreference.com Jeff Conaway Biography (1950-)
  2. ^ http://www.marksfriggin.com/news08/2-4.htm#thu
  3. ^ Celebrity Rehab episode, "Jeff reveals his traumatic history"
  4. ^ "Jeff talks about Vicki and drugs at home", Celebrity Rehab episode
  5. ^ Conaway, Jeff. Interview. Former Greaser Kicks Drugs with Scientology. Inside Edition. 2008-03-03.
  6. ^ Scott, Walter (2008-03-30). "Personality Parade". Parade.  
  7. ^ TV Guide; June 23, 2008; Page 8
  8. ^ "Celebs Check Into Rehab 2 With Dr. Drew"; vh1.com; June 10, 2008.
  9. ^ Celebrity Pornhab with Dr Screw’ Brings Out the Winners http://www.celebritysmackblog.com/2009/06/03/celebrity-pornhab-with-dr-screw-brings-out-the-winners/
  10. ^ Jeff Conaway on Micahel Jackson's Death
  11. ^ The Russell Brand Show on BBC Radio 2, March 1, 2008
  12. ^ "Grease star Jeff Conaway pulls a knife on Noel Gallagher"; mirror.co.uk; May 3, 2008
  13. ^ The Russell Brand Show on BBC Radio 2, March 8, 2008

External links








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