Actor Jeff Conaway’s tragic life came to an end Friday, when he died after being taken off life support at Encino Hospital Medical Center. He was 60, and will probably now best be remembered for his appearances on “Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew,” which obviously didn’t succeed in rehabilitating him.
Last week doctors had essentially determined that Conaway, who has had problems with drugs for years, was brain dead. He was admitted to the hospital May 10, unconscious and with pneumonia, after ingesting a bad combination of prescribed drugs. He was placed in a medically induced coma at the hospital.
Conaway was a handsome blond who came to fame and fortune playing in the late 1970s and early 1980s as a not-too-bright struggling actor in the hit show “Taxi,” and performing in both the Broadway and film versions of “Grease.”
But he was not happy with his success. He broke his “Taxi” contract because he didn’t like playing “a blond bimbo,” according to The Los Angeles Times. And the lead role that he played in Broadway in “Grease,” Danny Zuko, was cast with John Travolta. Conaway got a lesser part.
Conaway complained of being depressed during his stint on “Taxi,” and said he started using drugs at age 15, when he was in a band.
In recent years the actor rose to prominence, or notoriety, when he was one of the celebrities on Dr. Drew’s show in 2008. According to the Times, “He was so intoxicated the morning he checked in that subtitles were required to translate his slurred speech.”
Conaway, looking like a train wreck, had become addicted to cocaine and pain medications after back surgery. He later claimed that he had essentially hammed it during his tantrums and arguments on “Celebrity Rehab,” but just looking at him told you he was in big trouble.
And so he was.
Attorney Gordon Johnson
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice
firstname.lastname@example.org :: 800-992-9447 :: Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.