'Grease': Where Are They Now?

"Grease" is still the word.

Before "High School Musical," the most-successful movie musical about high school was "Grease." Now, 32 years after its original release, the hit musical about a group of 1950s greasers and bobby-soxers, starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John returns to theaters in a sing-along version. It's like karaoke on the big screen, with the lyrics at the bottom -- though it's unlikely all those diehard "Grease" fans will need them.

VIDEO: John Travolta sings for the Australian World Cup team.
John Travolta Sings for Soccer

The special release is only in limited cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Boston and Chicago, this weekend and next. But if fans outside major metro areas lobby hard enough, the film could be shown in their town the weekend after.

One town that refused to be left out was Ocala, Fla., Travolta's adopted hometown. When the film's organizers launched an online competition promising to show the film in the city with the most votes, Ocala residents flooded the site and won.

And, according to contactmusic.com, they will be treated to drinks and snacks by none other than Travolta.

"I want to thank you, my hometown, for showing your support for the Grease Sing Along and bringing it to the Regal Hollywood 16 in Ocala. I am so impressed that show times sold out, I would like to treat each Grease Sing Along ticket holder to a popcorn, soda and candy item when you attend the movie on July 8, 9 or 10," Travolta said in a press release.

When it was originally released in 1978, "Grease" broke all sorts of records, including the highest-grossing movie of that year and the highest-grossing movie musical at the time, surpassing "The Sound of Music."

The movie's soundtrack was just as popular, reaching number one in several different countries. In the UK, two duets "You're the One That I Want" and "Summer Nights" by stars Travolta and Newton-John both scored No. 1 hits. The movie's title song was also a No. 1 hit for singer Frankie Valli.

But it's the stars of the film -- Travolta, Newton-John, Stockard Channing -- who reached new heights in their careers following "Grease."

Here's a look at them then and now:

John Travolta/Danny Zuko

John Travolta as Danny and now

He can dance and sing too. Travolta was already famous from his years on sitcom "Welcome Back Kotter" and his starring role in the disco-era classic "Saturday Night Fever," for which he received his first Oscar nomination.

But his role as Danny Zuko, the greaser bad boy, reaffirmed his superstar status and showed the world that Travolta, who released a Top 10 single in the early '70s, really could sing!

Originally the role of Zuko was offered to Henry "The Fonz" Winkler, but after playing a similar character in "Happy Days," he turned it down for fear of typecasting.

Winkler's loss was Travolta's gain. Travolta went on to star in "Urban Cowboy" with Debra Winger. What followed were a string of flops, including "Two of a Kind" in which he reunited with Newton-John.

It took Quentin Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction" to revive Travolta's career. He's been hot ever since.

His personal life, in recent years, has taken some hits, though. Last year, his 16-year-oldson Jett, with wife actress Kelly Preston, died after a seizure. Months later, Travolta testified in the extortion case that grew out of Jett's death. Then recently, Travolta, now 56, announced some good news: they are expecting a baby.

Olivia Newton-John/Sandy Olsson

Olivia Newton-John as Sandy and now

The native Australian singer who played Danny's star-crossed good-girl love was already a Grammy-award-winning singer with hits like "If You Love Me, Let Me Know" and "I Honestly Love You." But she had very little acting experience.

Fortunately, for Newton-John, Marie Osmond turned down the role of Sandy because she didn't like how the character becomes a "bad girl" in the end. After "Grease," Newton-John's career soared. Her next film "Xanadu" was a critical failure but did well at the box office and the film's soundtrack went double platinum. Newton-John followed up with "Physical," her most successful album to date.

Following a battle with breast cancer in 1992, Newton-John became a health advocate. She also divorced first husband, actor Matt Lattanzi, with whom she has a daughter Chloe, and began seeing camerman Patrick McDermott. They dated off and on for nine years until McDermott mysteriously disappeared during a boating trip. Years later, he was discovered living off the coast of Mexico.

In June 2008, Newton-John, now 61, secretly wed John Easterling, founder and president of natural remedy company. Recently, she earned a new generation of fans with a guest appearance on "Glee."

Stockard Channing/Rizzo

Stockard Channing, who played Rizzo, then and now

A stage veteran, Channing had a few bit roles in films before accepting the part of Rizzo, Sandy's polar opposite, at the ripe age of 33.

After her success in "Grease," Channing was rewarded with her own sitcoms. Both were short-lived, and she returned to the stage, taking one of those roles in "Six Degrees of Separation" to the big screen several years later. "Six Degrees" revived her film career in the 90s and she appeared in "Smoke," "The First Wives Club," and "Moll Flanders."

In recent years, the 66-year-old actress is best known as First Lady Abbey Bartlet in the hit series "The West Wing," for which she received an Emmy Award.

Jeff Conaway/Kenickie

Jeff Conaway as Kenicke and now

Conaway, now 59, began acting on Broadway at age 2, but it was his role as Danny's sidekick Kenickie in "Grease" that earned him fame.

He went on to star as out-of-work actor Bobby Wheeler in Taxi. After a number of television and film appearances, he landed another series playing Sgt. Zack Allan on "Babylon 5."

But his substance abuse problems and his appearances on the "Celebrity Rehab" series are what he's probably best known for now. On the VH1 reality show, he admitted his addiction to cocaine, alcohol and painkillers and talked about his sexual abuse as a child and his co-dependent relationship with his addict girlfriend Vikki. During his second season on the show, Conaway left rehab before graduation and was seen taking painkillers after he arrived home.

Didi Conn/Frenchy

Didi Conn, who played Frenchy, then and now

With her unmistakable childlike voice, Conn was memorable in her role of high school-turned-beauty school dropout Frenchy in "Grease."

Her career never achieved the same heights, though. She went on to star in several television series, including "Benson" and the children's show "Shining Time Station." These days, Conn, now 58, makes an occasional guest appearance. But mostly she serves as celebrity spokeswoman for Autism Speaks, since her son Danny was diagnosed with autism.

Lorenzo Lamas/Tom Chisolm

Lorenzo Lamas, who got his start in 'Grease,' then and now

Following in his dad Fernando Lamas' footsteps, Lamas landed his first screen role in "Grease," playing Tom Chisolm, the guy Sandy dates and later dumps for Danny.

The film launched his career and in 1980 he landed the role playing actress Jane Wyman's grandson in the nighttime soap "Falcon Crest." He appeared in every episode over nine seasons. Following "Falcon Crest," Lamas starred in another series "Renegade" for five seasons before returning to the soaps, this time the daytime drama "The Bold and the Beautiful."

His personal life also plays like a soap opera. Lamas, now 52, has been married four times and has six children. In February he announced his engagement to his girlfriend of three months, 23-year-old Shawna Craig.

-- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 11115925. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 11115925. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 11115925. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 11115925. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 11115925. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 11115925. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 11115925. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 11115925. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 11115925. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 11115925.
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...