In one of the untimely deaths this weekend, Jeff Conaway, notably of Taxi and Grease, died. He was never a great actor, but played some memorable roles, most notably for me Bobby Wheeler in Taxi. It wasn’t a great show, and while I haven’t watched it in a while I’m fairly confident it doesn’t stand the test of time, I did watch it a lot at the time. Danny DeVito and Christopher Lloyd were really the brilliant part of the show, and to a lesser extent Andy Kaufman and Marilu Henner (I was not a fan of Judd Hirsch, the putative star of the show, and Tony Danza just played dumb). Anyway, Conaway died too young after what sounds like an unpleasant descent in his post-fame years:
While he continued to act, Conaway was suffering from substance abuse problems, which came to a head in 1985 following his divorce from Rona Newton-John, the sister of Grease star Olivia, after five years of marriage. In 1990, he married Kerri Young, and had a subsequent fiery six-year relationship with Victoria Spinoza, a singer known as Vikki Lizzi. Earlier this year they filed restraining orders against each other, trading accusations of theft and violence, but were eventually reconciled.
Based on some of the videos posted up on YouTube, the dude totally fell apart toward the end, so it was probably time to go. In any event, rest in peace.