Entertainment & Arts

Jeff Conaway, Grease and Taxi actor, dies aged 60

Jeff Conaway - 2006 photo
Image caption Conaway collapsed in his California home on 11 May

US actor Jeff Conaway, a star of the 70s musical Grease, has died aged 60.

Conaway played the swaggering teenager Kenickie, alongside John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. He also played Bobby in the comedy series Taxi.

His family decided to switch off his life-support machine after he had spent several days in an induced coma.

The actor had battled for years against drug and alcohol addiction, something that he blamed on pain from a lingering back injury.

He spoke openly about his addiction on the Celebrity Rehab reality show in 2008, his last TV appearance.

Conaway made his Broadway debut in 1960 at the age of 10 in the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama All the Way Home.

He got his big break with Grease in 1978, but also suffered a back injury during filming which led to an addiction to painkillers and other drugs.

Interviewed by Reuters news agency this month, his manager Phil Brock said: "Putting aside his demons, Jeff is the nicest, kindest, gentlest soul.

"He's a wonderful man, which makes it doubly sad that he is unable to conquer drugs. As a human being, he's the person who'd literally give the shirt off his back for someone."

He was perhaps best known for the role of taxi driver and struggling actor Bobby Wheeler in the 1978-1983 hit TV sitcom Taxi, which starred Danny DeVito and Christopher Lloyd.