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Remembering the stars of Grease who have sadly died

Dame Olivia Newton-John tragically passed away on Monday

grease stars who have died
Francesca Shillcock
Francesca ShillcockSenior Features Writer
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The world was shocked and saddened to hear that Dame Olivia Newton-John had passed away on Monday aged 73 following her 30-year-long journey with breast cancer.

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The actress, who was considered an icon by many, enjoyed huge success throughout her career and many well-known faces have been paying tribute to her, including her on-screen love interest and close friend of many years, John Travolta, who noted her "incredible impact."

WATCH: Grease legend Dame Olivia Newton-John dies aged 73

As the world of showbiz, film and music honours the late great Olivia, we take a look back at some of the other familiar faces from the iconic movie who are sadly no longer with us…

Olivia Newton-John – Sandy Olsson

Olivia was predominantly known for her music career in the early 1970s. She released albums and even represented the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest.

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grease danny and sandy© Photo: Getty Images

Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta as Danny and Sandy in Grease

But it was in 1978 when Olivia catapulted to stardom after appearing on the big screen as high school student Sandy Olsson, opposite John Travolta's Danny Zucko in Grease. Today, the musical movie is still considered perhaps the greatest of all time, and its legacy – and indeed Olivia's – continues 44 years after its blockbuster release.

Following the global success of Grease, Olivia's musical career continue to grow and she released Physical, which was hailed by her critics as her best album. The titular single from the album stayed at the top of the charts for over ten weeks. She was also hailed for her charity work and setting up the Olivia Newton-John Foundation, seeking to raise awareness and funds for cancer research.

olivia newton john

Olivia died on Monday aged 73

Jeff Conaway – Kenickie

Kenickie, played by Jeff Conaway, was one fifth of the T-Birds alongside Danny (John Travolta), Doody (Barry Pearl), Sonny LaTierri (Michael Tucci) and Putzie (Kelly Ward). Kenickie was known as being Danny's closest friend in the movie as well as the love interest of Betty Rizzo, played by Stockard Channing.

After the success of Grease, Jeff went on to star in TV series such as Taxi and Babylon 5. Throughout his career, Jeff was open about his struggles with addiction and substance abuse. In 2011, the actor was found unconscious. An autopsy later revealed that he had suffered pneumonia with sepsis after being taken off life support.

jeff conaway© Photo: Getty Images

Jeff Conaway played Kenickie

Eve Arden – Principal McGee

Famed actress Eve Arden portrayed the role of Rydell High School's Principal McGee. Eve was already hailed for her talent in the industry. In 1945, she was nominated for an Academy Award for her role in the film, Mildred Pierce.

She then went on to star in the sitcom Our Miss Brooks – for which she was awarded the first-ever Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in 1954. After Grease, Eve also reprised her role in the follow-up movie, released in 1982.

On November 12, 1990, Eve sadly died at home aged 82. Her death certificate stated that she had died due to cardiac arrest after suffering arteriosclerotic heart disease.

MORE: The late Olivia Newton-John's colourful California home revealed

eve arden© Photo: Getty Images

Eve Adren played the Rydell High Principal

Dody Goodman – Blanche Hodel

Alongside Principal McGee was her deputy, Blanche Hodel who was played by Dody Goodman. Before Grease, Dody was no stranger to acting and had appeared in many films, TV shows and Broadway productions. In 2008, she died aged 93 of natural causes.

Dody Goodman

Dody Goodman played Blanche Hodel

Sid Caeser – Coach Vince Calhoun

Sid Caeser played the role of Coach Vince Calhoun in the hit movie. Sid was predominantly known for his comedy acting work and he had been nominated for many awards in his early career.

He was perhaps best-known for hosting the comedy programme, Your Show of Shows, which were considered hugely influential in the comedy world. Sid also reprised his role as Coach in Grease sequel. He died in 2014 aged 91 after a short illness.

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Sid Caeser© Photo: Getty Images

Sid Caeser died in 2014

Dennis Stewart – Leo Balmudo

Dennis Stewart played the role of 'bad boy' Leo Balmundo, the leader of the T-Birds rival group, the Scorpions. Like others in the original cast, Dennis reprised his role as Leo in Grease 2, which starred Michelle Pfeiffer and Max Caulfield. After Grease, he had a number of other small TV and film credits.

In 1993, Dennis was diagnosed with HIV and, in 1994, he passed away aged 46 from pneumonia as a result of complications from AIDS.

Dennis Stewart© Photo: Getty Images

Dennis Stewart played Leo Balmudo, leader of the Scorpios

Edd Byrnes – Vince Fontaine

Vince Fontaine, played by Edd Byrnes, is a TV show host who visits Rydell High for the school's televised dance competition.

Edd Byrnes was already a well-known actor before appearing in the movie thanks to his role in the television series 77 Sunset Strip. He was also a singer who released the song, Kookie, Kookie (Lend Me Your Comb). In 2020, Edd died of natural causes at his home in Santa Monica. He was 87 years old.

Edd Byrnes© Photo: Getty Images

Vince Fontaine was played by Edd Byrnes

Annette Charles – Charlene 'Cha Cha' DiGregorio

Grease fans will remember Charlene 'Cha Cha' DiGregorio as the dancer who arrives at Rydell's school dance and immediately sets her sights on Danny – much to Sandy's upset.

Annette Charles© Photo: Getty Images

Anette Charles played Cha Cha

The actress who played her, Annette Charles, also appeared on TV shows such as The Incredible Hulk, The Flying Nun and Magnum P.I. throughout her career. She died in 2011 from cancer aged 63. 

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