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Rest In Peace Jeff Conaway

Hey folks. Quint here.

The first film I saw theatrically wasn’t Star Wars or Indiana Jones or any of the assumed first theater movies of my generation. My first film was a Disney production called PETE’S DRAGON.

I love that movie to death. Pre-dating Roger Rabbit by a solid decade the film told the story of an orphan boy on the run from his abusive redneck foster family. He is aided by an animated green dragon. Combining live action and cartoons drew me right in… Mickey Rooney as a drunk lighthouse keeper named Lampie was great, the songs were great, I wanted my own not-so-imaginary dragon, but I probably most affected by the Gogans. This dirty, hillbilly child abusing family was a disturbing threat, especially from a child’s perspective.

When I attended DragonCon in 1998, I saw that Jeff Conaway was going to be there signing, so I brought my Pete’s Dragon 1-sheet. Conaway played one of the Gogan boys. He gleefully sang along with Shelley Winters about tying this poor young boy to railroad tracks, slicing and dicing him… all manners of truly horrible shit.

That trip saw me meeting a lot of figures from my childhood… from C-3PO to John Carpenter, but it was my brief interaction with Jeff Conaway that I remembered most fondly. Not only was he kind, but seemed to genuinely enjoy the experience of speaking with the people coming up to him.

I remember his eyes lighting up when I pulled out the Pete’s Dragon poster. He said that he always gets Grease, Babylon 5 and Taxi fans, but nobody really ever came to him with Pete’s Dragon things. He told me he held a special place in his heart for Pete’s Dragon, one of his very first movie experiences.

We talked a little about shooting that movie and he went on to talk about his disappointment at losing the role of Danny Zuko to John Travolta since he played that character in the Broadway production and thought he was a shoe-in for the movie. Even this he didn’t dwell on, saying he was happy to still be included as Kenickie and talking about how wonderful that film turned out to be.

He didn’t charge me for a signature (a rarity at Cons even then) and just seemed happy to talk movies with a strange fat kid from Texas.

Conaway died yesterday while in hospital. He was in a coma and his family decided to take him off life support.

I had been unaware of his trouble with substance abuse or the sad circus his recent health troubles have caused, but I truly hope he’s found some peace. My impression of the man was nothing but kindness and sincerity.

My thoughts are with Mr. Conaway’s friends, family and fans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-Quint
quint@aintitcool.com
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Readers Talkback
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  • May 28, 2011, 5:58 a.m. CST

    Never realized he was in Pete's Dragon

    by Pitofbenders

    Loved that movie as a kid, need to revisit it, also forgot how crazy it was as far as the abuse you mentioned. Though drunk Rooney is classic

  • May 28, 2011, 6:03 a.m. CST

    I LOVED him in Grease, and...

    by Ditko

    well, I love Grease too. Bite me!

  • May 28, 2011, 6:11 a.m. CST

    R.I.P. Jeff Conway.

    by glodene

    He was pretty cool in Taxi.

  • May 28, 2011, 6:12 a.m. CST

    He also directed a Jessica Hahn-sploitation movie called Bikini Summer 2.

    by Doctor_Strangepork

    So strange to remember that.

  • May 28, 2011, 6:13 a.m. CST

    we need Pete's Dragon on blu-ray

    by Gorgomel

  • May 28, 2011, 6:14 a.m. CST

    Bye Zack

    by ballyhoo

    Thanks for watching over the station for all these years.

  • May 28, 2011, 6:30 a.m. CST

    And lets not forget Wizards & Warriers.

    by punchydugan

    A show that beat TV's Hercules and Xena to the punch by about 10 years. I hoper Mr. Conaway is at peace now

  • May 28, 2011, 6:30 a.m. CST

    Harry, you didn't know about his substance abuse?

    by Inexplicable_Nuclear_Balls

    That must be a pretty big rock you've been living under. RIP Jeff... I hope there are 72 Rizzos waiting for you to give them buns in their ovens.

  • May 28, 2011, 6:50 a.m. CST

    A hicky

    by MrSean

    from Kenickie is like a hallmark card...

  • May 28, 2011, 6:54 a.m. CST

    I never saw Grease, but I thought he was great in Taxi.

    by Ingeld

    Wizards and Warriors was painful. RIP Mr. Conaway

  • May 28, 2011, 6:55 a.m. CST

    I was at the Dragoncon in 1998

    by disfigurehead

    But i don't remember him being there. All i remember is seeing GWAR. Rest in peace.

  • May 28, 2011, 6:56 a.m. CST

    Pete's Dragon

    by Lao_Che_Air_Freight

    Jim Dale absolutely rules that movie. The "Every Little Piece" number is knock-down hilarious, it kills me everytime they pull back and show them singing to that empty pier. RIP Jeff - Grease and Pete's Dragon will keep you forever around in our house.

  • May 28, 2011, 7:21 a.m. CST

    wow that sucks

    by elsewhere

    Loved Pete's Dragon and Grease as a kid. Still do. Was he in a coma because of drugs? What exactly was he addicted to? Need more info.

  • May 28, 2011, 7:27 a.m. CST

    I've never seen Grease, and barely remember Pete's dragon, but...

    by Rebel Scumb

    he was awesome on Babylon 5

  • May 28, 2011, 7:29 a.m. CST

    Heard it on the news this morning...

    by Sprinky

    RIP Jeff Conaway. :(

  • May 28, 2011, 7:31 a.m. CST

    Unpredictable

    by JethroBodine

    Not to speak ill of the dead, but I too met Jeff Conaway, by way of a Con (Get it? Anyway...) and at this particular Con (Circa 1997/8-ish) he was very, VERY, unpredictable and erratic. Anyway everyone at the Con was happy to see him, I know I was. I had always liked him and had admired his work, and had always thought it would be nice to see him in more roles and in better parts. To me until that time, it always seemed that he just never got the kind of role that could show off the true potential that I thought he might have. But at this Con, I think I saw what might have led to his problems getting hired and getting better parts. While people made their way through his autograph line he was rude, sharp/short, and even terse with some people in his autograph line, and acted as if those people that were in the line to see him and pay for an autograph were actually bothering him and that he was upset that he was having to pay even the slightest bit of attention to their accolades, much less sign an autograph or have a picture made with him. And then for other people he was extremely gracious, and kind. Full of smiles and gratitude. It was odd to say the least. It was like watching a string of blinky Christmas tree lights going off and on, one second he was brilliant, vibrant, and full of warmth, and the next second he was just plain dark and cold. I got the feeling that if you so much as looked at him in a way that percieved to be wrong or if he though he got a bad vibe from you, he was going to let you know about it right then and there. But on the flipside, if he felt like being nice to you, you'd never know he had that other side to him. I've met my fair share of celebs both at Cons and otherwise, and most of the time the experience is just an absolute blast, (Especially at a Con.) and sometimes it isn't. It happens. And I also realize that even celebs can have a bad day, even when they are in an environment created especially for them for the express purpose of being fawned over by their fans, hell they are just people, and people are entitled to be grouchy or have a bad day every now and then. But, I will always remember my Jeff Conaway experience as being off-putting and just plain weird.

  • He'd seen it on TV or something and liked tit so much, he visited. They hired him and he became Zack Allen. He joins: G'Kar Stephen Franklin Zathras :(

  • May 28, 2011, 7:32 a.m. CST

    Make that "wandered" :)

    by Mahaloth

  • May 28, 2011, 7:35 a.m. CST

    A hickey from Kinickie is like a hallmark card

    by Dharma4

    I love Grease. Feel good movie, Yo.

  • May 28, 2011, 7:35 a.m. CST

    @jethrobodine

    by elsewhere

    Interesting. Sounds like he was bi-polar.

  • May 28, 2011, 7:35 a.m. CST

    Love Pete's Dragon, love Grease, love Babylon 5...

    by ClayG

    In fact, "Taxi's" the only bit of Jeff Conaway's work that I'm not terribly well-versed in. I watched "Wizards and Warriors", too. And I too, got to meet him at Dragon*Con a couple of times. He was down-to-earth, appreciative of his fans...he was a real guy, not some 'star.' With real-world problems, apparently--but we all have those. I hope people remember him for the talent he displayed onscreen, and the class he displayed offscreen. Rest in peace.

  • May 28, 2011, 8 a.m. CST

    RIP Jeff but what about Dana Wynter and William Campbell?

    by tphile2

    Where was the memorials for Dana Wynter of Invasion of the Body Snatchers and William ST Squire of Gothos Campbell? They had significant careers that AICN should have remembered. AICN should show better respect for the departed

  • May 28, 2011, 8:11 a.m. CST

    I saw Pete's Dragon on the big screen. I was too young to know

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    who Jeff Conaway was. I knew he was in Taxi, but was never big on the show. Now that I think about it FRIENDS seemed to copy Joey Tribiani from that character to some extent. Yeah he was great in Grease, but not only as a fan of the the show, but as someone who saw his acting progress I think he did his best work in Babylon 5.

  • May 28, 2011, 8:13 a.m. CST

    Always thought he HAD to hate Travolta . . .

    by Nice Marmot

    Can't believe I didn't know he was in Pete's Dragon. Of course that family was all slimy & covered in filth. Used to creep me out bad as a wee lad.....

  • May 28, 2011, 8:13 a.m. CST

    Hellbent On His Own Self-Destruction...

    by Graphix67

    Certainly sad but, whenever I think about the countless individuals fighting for their lives everyday with diseases that they never asked for, I just can't generate sympathy for the ones that court and flirt with their own end over and over and over again.

  • May 28, 2011, 8:16 a.m. CST

    I forgot Pete's Dragon had "Hey, it's that guy" as one of the Gogans

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    And at that point Shelley Winters decided the Gogan look was for her, and stayed in character the rest of her life.

  • May 28, 2011, 8:31 a.m. CST

    do not fall into the trap of metering out sympathies

    by Arcadian Del Sol

    Jeff Conaway was loved by someone, somewhere. Their grief deserves our sympathies, no matter what choices Mr Conaway made in his life.

  • May 28, 2011, 8:33 a.m. CST

    :(

    by Briestro

    Wow. Well, RIP, I was a huge B5 fan. That's 3 main cast members from B5 dead now, even though Jeff's character wasn't really a main one, he became a main one over time. B

  • I swear to God that is the funniest thing I've read in a long time! Thanks, grammaton, I needed a good laugh.

  • May 28, 2011, 8:35 a.m. CST

    Jeff was a great guy

    by Peter David

    I got to know him on the set of B5 when I was out there while they were shooting one of my episodes. The crew loved him; he was pleasant, convivial, without pretense. He was also just damned grateful to be there. He'd been struggling with addiction problems even then, trying to get past them and Joe Straczynski decided to give him a chance to get back into showbiz at a time when no other producer or casting agent would touch him. I always gave Joe full marks for that, trying to jumpstart Jeff's career. Unfortunately in the long term it didn't work out, as we all know. What a waste. PAD

  • Its sad and everything, but I had never heard of him before yesterday.

  • May 28, 2011, 8:40 a.m. CST

    Damn if that's real I'm pleasantly surprised Peter David commented.

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    Well whoever wrote it I agree. It's a shame because as stated earlier I thought his best work was on B5 probably because from a character standpoint it was his most serious one. Wizards and Warriors was short-lived and a little campy. Bobby was just some young actor character. Kinickie was, well Kinickie. But Zach had to come to grips with right and wrong, to fully embrace Nightwatch, or to fight for justice. There were depths of Conway we hadn't seen before.

  • May 28, 2011, 8:41 a.m. CST

    You're welcome cinematt

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

  • May 28, 2011, 8:44 a.m. CST

    sunwukong86, you must be a youngster. Nothing wrong with that but

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    You should take the time to watch Grease, and Babylon 5 (although Conaway wasn't in it until the 3rd season or something like that). Taxi wasn't my thing, but others enjoyed it.

  • May 28, 2011, 8:46 a.m. CST

    Pete's Dragon!

    by kafka07

    Loved that movie as a kid. Not the first movie I ever saw, but likely the fourth or fifth. Snow White was my first movie. RIP Jeff Conaway.

  • Suffice it to say, not every deserves praise upon their death. However, I do feel sorry for his family members who had to go through a lot the last two decades of his life...

  • May 28, 2011, 9:43 a.m. CST

    RIP Jeff,

    by klytusnotdead

    Now maybe Dr. Drew, can stop his ridiculous celeberity Rehab crap, 3 have died that he was caring for. end of line

  • May 28, 2011, 9:51 a.m. CST

    I don't even remember him from Babylon 5

    by cookylamoo

    But I did see one of the four performances of "the News" on Broadway. Horrible show, but Jeff could certainly sing.

  • May 28, 2011, 10:05 a.m. CST

    NO LOVE FOR HIS WORK IN ELVIRA : MISTRESS OF THE DARK??? FOR SHAME!!!

    by CreepyThinMan

  • May 28, 2011, 10:05 a.m. CST

    He was a main character in the last few seasons

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    actually they were arguably the best seasons when B5 seceded from Earth. I'm not saying they were the best because of him, but as I mentioned earlier I believe it was his best tv role to date.

  • May 28, 2011, 10:10 a.m. CST

    Koloth and Trelane are dead and no obit? This is a geek site.

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    How was this missed? I loved the DS9 episode that had the return of Kang, Kor, and Koloth.

  • May 28, 2011, 10:32 a.m. CST

    Rest In Peace, Mr Conaway

    by CHRISTIAN_BALE_TRASHED_MY_LIGHTS

  • May 28, 2011, 10:36 a.m. CST

    Grammaton

    by Peter David

    I doubt that saying, "Yes, that's really me," is of much use because that's exactly what someone who wasn't me would say. But yeah, I'm really me. If you've any doubt, swing by my website at www.peterdavid.net and ask, and I'll confirm it there. I was also on a B5 panel with Jeff at Dragon*Con. What I SO wanted to do was turn to him and say, "Jeff, there's a question I've always wanted to ask you: What does a yellow light mean?" But I didn't know how he'd react because "Taxi" was still a bit of a sore spot. So I didn't. Now I wish I had; he probably would've just gone with it, to the delight of the audience. I was so hoping that he'd really manage to pull himself together so I could see him at another Dragon*Con. Wasn't meant to be. Damn. PAD

  • May 28, 2011, 10:38 a.m. CST

    Wizards & Warriors

    by Peter David

    And yeah, I love that series, too. I saw the first episode and immediately thought, "There's no way this'll last. It's too good." My favorite moment was Jeff's character having a picnic with the princess, played by Julia Duffy. She opens the picnic basket and offers cheerfully, "Quiche?" And Jeff says in a manly way, "No thanks. I don't eat that." PAD

  • May 28, 2011, 10:48 a.m. CST

    It was all of maybe 5 episodes wasn't it?

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    I was just a kid at the time. Some things never change. Every hero needs the chubby geeky comic relief sidekick.

  • May 28, 2011, 10:50 a.m. CST

    I'll take you at your word. Especially since today's the first day

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    I've seen "Peter David" as a talkback name.

  • May 28, 2011, 10:58 a.m. CST

    Taxi was a sore spot?

    by OutsideChance

    That's a shame, since he did (IMO) his best work there. He had great comic timing, especially during the previously mentioned "yellow light" scene.

  • May 28, 2011, 11:03 a.m. CST

    grammaton cleric binks, re: Peter David

    by OutsideChance

    He's been a fairly regular poster for quite a while, actually.

  • And confirmed on his site that it's him. Slap "site:peterdavid.net "aintitcoolnews"" into a google search bar, and you'll probably find enough references.

  • May 28, 2011, 11:04 a.m. CST

    Cotton_McKnight

    by zinc_chameleon

    As much as we love film, Hollywood is run by accountants and lawyers. When an actor signs a contract today, abstinence from liquor and drugs while under said contract is often stipulated, for insurance reasons. The same way an abstainers' policy reduces your auto insurance.

  • May 28, 2011, 11:09 a.m. CST

    Rest In Peace, Bobby...

    by QuietMan297

    ...I knew him from the tv series Taxi before I went back and saw that he was also in Grease. Life is too short. Thanks for the laughs, and even a few tears.

  • May 28, 2011, 11:27 a.m. CST

    Sad tragic news.

    by v3d

    The season of Celebrity Rehab that Conaway appeared on was the first I watched from beginning to end. You could see was trying very hard to break the addiction that had him in its grip. My thoughts go out to his family.

  • May 28, 2011, 11:35 a.m. CST

    Wizards and Warriors was painful to watch.

    by Ingeld

    I had just finished reading and re-reading Tolkien so I was looking for any kind of movie or television show of high fantasy to fill in the void so to speak. Wizards and Warriors was not it. It was like wanting more Batman after only seeing The Dark Knight film and only getting the 1960s Batman series--except not even that good.

  • May 28, 2011, 11:36 a.m. CST

    R.I.P Kenickie.

    by alan_poon

    Time to go up to that malt shop in the sky.

  • May 28, 2011, 11:52 a.m. CST

    Last Words:

    by snappy

    Well-a Well-a Well-a Ungh.

  • May 28, 2011, 11:55 a.m. CST

    Nice work, Quint.

    by THE_CHOPPAH

    Now THAT'S how you write a personal obit.

  • May 28, 2011, 11:56 a.m. CST

    One of the first VHS tapes I had as a kid...

    by Acquanetta

    ...was Pete's Dragon. I remember being a little freaked out by the dentist scene.

  • May 28, 2011, 12:05 p.m. CST

    Cotton

    by Peter David

    In Jeff's case, yes, it was because of his addiction problems. He was considered unreliable and unpredictable. At the time he had apparently gotten himself together, but casting agents weren't interested because there were worries he'd relapse. Joe took the chance on him and for quite some time, Jeff lived up to that confidence. PAD

  • May 28, 2011, 12:06 p.m. CST

    RIP

    by HughHoyland

    I remember the first time I seen him on Babylon 5. IMO he fit in perfectly right from the start. I'm glad he eventually went on to have a larger role in the series. Taxi honestly wasn't my style so I really dont have much reference there. I had seen Grease but was more interested in Olivia N.J. than anybody else in the film lol. Sorry to hear that he had struggled with addiction (and appeared to for a very long time). I know that John Travolta has stated several times he really wanted to help him if he could. A shame it got him in the end, :[ but on the brighter side he did accomplish some great things before it did.

  • May 28, 2011, 12:06 p.m. CST

    Jeff has joined other cast members of B-5 beyond the rim

    by David Werring

    Met Jeff out in burbank in 2004/2005 he was my last autograph after tracking down every member of the B-5 cast..he was the last...after a 7 year quest to get everyone...which happen to include melissa gilbert with Bruce boxlightner. to sign my 8-10 cast shot... I already had andrea katsulas (forgive spelling) and richard biggs...now Jeff... He was very warm and polite..we ended up talking about this that and other things...he was supposed to do a short story for the next b-5 the lost tales..which had only one dvd...but i guess it never made it round... God rest your soul jeff..and we will see you again ...beyond the rim....

  • May 28, 2011, 12:12 p.m. CST

    Quint - Best Thing I've Ever Read About Jeff

    by LizardMan

    What a moving little piece you wrote here - in so few words, you really summed up the heart of this guy. I wish I hadn't seen his "work" over the last few years. What he had become was such a sad final act.

  • May 28, 2011, 12:19 p.m. CST

    Thanks Quint

    by DrMorbius

    Loved the anecdote. Peace be with you Mr. Conaway.

  • May 28, 2011, 12:22 p.m. CST

    I'll admit it. I have a soft spot for Grease.

    by THE_CHOPPAH

    It's corny, but it's damn entertaining. It's a shame Jeff was never able to really capitalize on the phenomenon it became. And then there's Taxi. One of the best sitcoms ever, one of the best TV ensembles ever, dramas included. RIP Jeff Conaway. It's a damn shame he died so young and struggled through so many years of misery.

  • May 28, 2011, 12:24 p.m. CST

    Another victim of the decline of medical care

    by thelordofhell

    His addictions all ballooned when he kept taking overdoses of pain medication for his back troubles. Troubles he never would have had if this country had a good preventative medical establishment. Instead, we do nothing but give pain killers and symptom alleivers and do absolutely squat about the main problem. Other countries are curing cancer for christ's sake. All we're doing is finding a way to make an erection last longer.

  • May 28, 2011, 12:35 p.m. CST

    @mistermanreturns

    by pk68

    How is RIP tacky? It's stand for Rest In Peace. Duh....

  • May 28, 2011, 12:40 p.m. CST

    I should check You Tube for Wizards and Warriors clips. I'm sure it's painful

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    to watch now, but as a young kid into Dungeons and Dragons it was cool stuff,short lived as it was.

  • May 28, 2011, 12:44 p.m. CST

    Damn fine actor...

    by SonOfTorah

    Jeff surprised the heck out of a lot of people by giving a stand-out performance as Zack Allen in Babylon 5's 4th season. The man should never be considered a mediocre actor in any way, and it's a damn shame he had problems with substance abuse. Another B5 cast member leaves us. :( Andread Katsulas, Richard Biggs and now Jeff. Cryin' shame.

  • May 28, 2011, 12:45 p.m. CST

    Ooh, ouch yeah. This was 80s cheese. Good cheese as a kid but

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    tastes mature. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdWDudfObIU&feature=related

  • May 28, 2011, 12:50 p.m. CST

    Biggs death was a shocker. Katsulas I think smoked himself to death.

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    Jeff, as good an actor as he was unfortunately brought it on himself. Some people can shake it, some can't. In hindsight it's surprising that Ray Charles and Johnny Cash didn't die earlier.

  • May 28, 2011, 12:54 p.m. CST

    RIP Jeff

    by Lukes Lost Hand

    Guess you've headed to that malt shop in the sky.

  • May 28, 2011, 12:55 p.m. CST

    I'm starting to think...

    by Al Delvechio

    that this Dr. Drew fellow aint worth a damn...

  • May 28, 2011, 12:56 p.m. CST

    Dr. Drew just tries to put a straight face on people who

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    can't keep their pants zipped.

  • May 28, 2011, 1:18 p.m. CST

    Grease was the first film I ever saw at the Cinema

    by david starling

    In 1978, I was 7 years old, and went to see Grease - whatever the cheesiness now that people harp-on about, its still a classic movie (and at home the soundtrack was played regularly!!). Very sad that Jeff Conaway has passed-away. I know he may have regretted not having the part of Danny, but without Kenickie (as well as Rizzo and Frenchie!!) the film may have been less. I remember him for Babylon 5 as well. He'll be missed.

  • May 28, 2011, 1:23 p.m. CST

    Nice, Quint

    by Rebeck2

    That's the kind of simple tribute that means more than his resume or anything else. Well done.

  • May 28, 2011, 1:31 p.m. CST

    Coughlin's Laws

    by Rebeck2

    I forget who said it, but I love this quote... "Every life is an act of bravery". The older I get the less I judge.

  • May 28, 2011, 1:40 p.m. CST

    In Fringe Alt-universe...

    by DougMcKenzie

    He gets to keep the role of Danny in Grease and becomes the star he was meant to be. A great actor and much better singer than Travolta. He was exploited (Although willingly) at the end of his life. His co-dependent spouse drove him right into the grave.

  • May 28, 2011, 1:44 p.m. CST

    A troubled man who didn't get the help he needed.

    by MoffatBabies

    With so many solutions that are usually ignored when it comes to opiate addiction/dependence (Iboga, Ascorbate) IN THE US, it shocks and angers me when I read about another death or ruination related to or directly caused by said addiction/dependence. I can only assume in his case, it was addiction. However, many with dependency rather than addiction ( very, VERY different animals) are treated for addiction, making what was a physical problem into a shame issue that wasn't necessary, many times destroying relationships, jobs, etc. Clearly, from stories I've heard in the media AND stories related to me from 2 individuals personally, the problems he faced went far beyond simple addiction. My guess would be manic-depression/bi-polar, based on the nature of said interactions, which can intensify addiction in the manic phase, when bi-polars can very much feel as though they are very , very invincible and capable of anything they set their minds to. (which has blessed US, in my opinion, with all kinds of great art and performance throughout history, something anyone interacting with anyone suffering with this disorder would do well to remember) It makes me so sad to realize that when it comes to people like Jeff, most professionals treat the patient in the same ways they would treat anyone else, simply because they are either afraid of the treatments or are skeptical (in spite of multitudes of evidence proving otherwise), OR are unwilling to admit that the only current treatments are very "scorched earth" and unscientific (Lamictal-type drugs, Lithium, both of which have some horrific and detrimental side-effects). Oh they'll point to the PDRs and DSM-IV's of the world. But what they will not admit is that the approach to the DSM is not based on hard science, but instead a kind of "agreed lack of understanding made official" by the APA. Some say "well, that's the best we have", but is it? Even more are now saying in fact that this manual does more harm than good. (see recent articles, including a very well-researched one in Wired Magazine) Why all this detail? Related to a man I knew only for his performances and exploitation through reality TV? Because it's an opportunity. Because maybe one person reading this will treat someone close to them suffering from this better. Because he did not get the help he needed, even though I'm sure his friends and loved ones tried to the best of their ability. And because in his least years here, I believe he was exploited more than he was helped. And because many here would attribute his death to his "self-destruction" rather than any kind of disorder or dis-ease. When it comes to the human brain, we are still fiddling around in darkness. But many of our doctors and "scientists" are acting as if they have the answers when in fact they have very few, some say close to none. Rather than throw our hands up and say that's just "the best we can do for now", we must instead approach with AT LEAST enhanced compassion and understanding care rather than treating these people as if they are just "another nutcase" while history is showing that more often than not, many of these people are contributing to society in higher percentages than the general population when it comes to innovation, invention and creativity. I'm sorry you didn't get what you needed, Jeff. Maybe we'll learn from your life. I hope so. RIP... and love to those who truly helped you.

  • May 28, 2011, 1:51 p.m. CST

    Guardian of B5

    by Unscripted

    I like to think he'll still be there they turn the lights out. I found his character transformation over the seasons fascinating - it's subtle, but Zack "grows up" a lot as responsibility descends on him. An excellent portrayal by a skilled and dedicated actor.

  • May 28, 2011, 1:56 p.m. CST

    what a wonderful way of paying tribute.may he RIP

    by ginny101

  • May 28, 2011, 2:02 p.m. CST

    unscripted, he was if you recall, or maybe not

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    I forget if it was the last episode, or one of the movies, but I think it's that latter where he's the last one to go.

  • May 28, 2011, 2:34 p.m. CST

    mistermanreturns

    by Michael

    If you have alternatives that you feel are better, you should suggest them. Otherwise, I'll stick with what has always worked in the past.

  • May 28, 2011, 2:36 p.m. CST

    Good tribute. He should of been a bigger star.

    by hallmitchell

    He has great presence in Grease.

  • May 28, 2011, 2:41 p.m. CST

    @grammaton binks

    by Unscripted

    I well recall the episode. I meant that I'd like to think Zack is still on duty, somewhere in the future, even if it's not ours.

  • May 28, 2011, 2:43 p.m. CST

    Judge not, bibleman, lest ye be judged.

    by D Ropaela

    "Handed everything"? I'm pretty sure the guy worked hard at his talents. Yes, he fucked up big time in many respects, but you should understand that just because someone's been in some TV shows and movies that they're not necessarily fabulously wealthy. Show biz is full of sharks taking their bites, so who knows how Mr. Conaway was able to handle all that when he was a young man and breaking through. You don't know. I don't know. Kindly shut the fuck up.

  • May 28, 2011, 2:43 p.m. CST

    "The older I get the less I judge."

    by D Ropaela

    Fucking a. Amen, rebeck2.

  • May 28, 2011, 3:08 p.m. CST

    RIP Zack Allen

    by shutupfanboy

    Thats how I will remember him plus a story from a friend of mine who bought the rights for the B5 CCG. Its not a flattering story, so I'll get it go. I was hoping he would attend WizardWorld Philly after he did one early this year. A shame.

  • May 28, 2011, 3:21 p.m. CST

    A B5 CCG?

    by MoffatBabies

    Normally, I would ask that the acronym gods strike you down for that one, but it sounds like a fun game.

  • May 28, 2011, 3:31 p.m. CST

    Bobby Wheeler

    by Sage Stallone

    Sorry to see him go. He was really great in "Taxi" and as Kenicki in Grease. ( I believe he played Danny Zuko on Broadway as well.) Farewell Bobby wheeler! Farewell Kenicki! Say Hi to Latka for me!

  • May 28, 2011, 4:10 p.m. CST

    Bibleman

    by rsswope

    As a Christian minister who deals with people with addiction, please stop disgracing the bible by making stupid and evil statements. It is better to be silent and thought a fool than to speak out and prove it.

  • May 28, 2011, 4:13 p.m. CST

    Goodbye, Mr Conaway

    by SonOfChiba

    I kinda grew up with Taxi and loved him in the show - he really was a beautiful, energetic, soulful guy in that and that's how I'll choose to remember him. I sincerely hope he is at rest now and free of the demons that he fought with for so long. So long, Bobby.

  • May 28, 2011, 4:25 p.m. CST

    Wynter's Gone

    by TinkerTIW

    My first memory of Dana Wynter was from SINK THE BISMARCK! Damn, she looked fine in a British officer's uniform.

  • May 28, 2011, 4:35 p.m. CST

    HE MADE A GREAT BEST FRIEND IN GREASE

    by BSB

    Alex Rieger, apparently not so much. RIP Jeff.

  • It was well done. That episode and the one in which he "acts" as Louie (Devito) and goes in his place for his high school reunion--also a great episode--and one that was stolen for a SpongeBob episode between Spongebob and Mr. Krabs. (I know that because I have little kids.)

  • Greased lightning indeed.

  • May 28, 2011, 4:41 p.m. CST

    He was really good on Babylon 5!

    by Bob Cryptonight

    It wasn't a big role, but it was pivotal to the theme of how people can learn to hate each other based only on fear.

  • May 28, 2011, 4:55 p.m. CST

    B5 best multiplayer CCG ever.

    by shutupfanboy

    Beats Magic, Naruto, Star Trek, Dragonball Z and others. The shame of it being canceled and my friends getting the license is that WB kept asking for more money. When my friends thought they got it, they invited Jerry Doyle, Conway and a few others to do the autographs for it. It never got released due to WB's greed thus they had to cancel the signings.

  • May 28, 2011, 5:10 p.m. CST

    I've seen Grease more than any other film.

    by billyhitchcock1

    Jeff was one of the reasons why it was so great. I love the bit where he gets hit in the head by the car door and his necklace lands in his eye and he completes the scene like it. great guy. hey kenickie, where you at?

  • You go Jeff!

  • May 28, 2011, 6:05 p.m. CST

    Quint

    by biberkopf5

    Rest in peace Jeff. Also, everyone agrees Quint is the finest writer on this site, correct?

  • May 28, 2011, 6:40 p.m. CST

    Wow, B5 is really losing cast members, and at young ages.

    by Yamato

    Its not like Andy K, Biggs and now Jeff were old guys. Too bad, I liked him a lot as Zach Allen.

  • May 28, 2011, 6:46 p.m. CST

    RIP Jeff

    by Professor_Bedlam

    You will be missed!

  • May 28, 2011, 7:30 p.m. CST

    Met him at that same Dragon*con

    by bert

    and although he was very nice, I didn't appreciate the mention of "Jesus Christ" and "praying for me" on the photo he signed for me. (I'm very openly gay, and was there with my boyfriend) other than that, I did like him as an actor, and it's always sad when someone's addictions win out. R.I.P. Mr. Conaway.

  • May 28, 2011, 7:32 p.m. CST

    Re: B5 deaths

    by bert

    Well. . Mr. Conaway *was* 60. . while not "old", it certainly wouldn't be considered "young ages" Biggs was a shocker due to heart issues, but Andreas wasn't a youngster either! and keep in mind, there are still TONS of B5 cast members alive.

  • May 28, 2011, 8:17 p.m. CST

    Wella, wella, wella oomp.

    by GrandMuffTarkin

    Dead.

  • May 28, 2011, 9:01 p.m. CST

    RIP Kinick

    by robtaylor

    Damn that sucks to hear that 2 parts of my childhood have gone within a week... Kenickie AND the Macho Man? I was in Grease at school, started off as Kenickie and then took over Danny... kinda the reverse... I always liked Jeff Conaway's personality, he seemed such a nice guy just trapped in pain... Hopefully Travolta, Lloyd and DeVito show some class and show up at the funeral... they were nothing without Jeff...

  • May 28, 2011, 9:01 p.m. CST

    RIP Kinick

    by robtaylor

    Damn that sucks to hear that 2 parts of my childhood have gone within a week... Kenickie AND the Macho Man? I was in Grease at school, started off as Kenickie and then took over Danny... kinda the reverse... I always liked Jeff Conaway's personality, he seemed such a nice guy just trapped in pain... Hopefully Travolta, Lloyd and DeVito show some class and show up at the funeral... they were nothing without Jeff...

  • May 28, 2011, 10:35 p.m. CST

    "My first film was a Disney production called PETE’S DRAGON."

    by HyphenatedWords

    We've always had a lot in common, Quint. I was five when my family went to see Pete's Dragon. I was spellbound. One of the greatest aspects of growing up in the '70s and '80s was the lack of instant gratification with home video. You'd see a movie once or twice, and that was IT. You just expected to NEVER SEE IT AGAIN. Films lived in the imagination then. I watched my own version of Empire a thousand times before ROtJ came out. So it was with Pete's Dragon. I remember seeing it on video for the first time, what a treat it was. I recognized Conaway from Grease and Taxi then and thought it looked like he was having a BALL. He's lanky and full of prat falls.<br> <br> Best line? "Aww! We done had our bath in May!"<br> <br> I cassette tape recorded the songs off the television on my little tape recorder and listened to it constantly. I knew they thought of Julie Andrews before they got Helen Reddy. I knew they were hoping it would be come a classic like Mary Poppins. It didn't in scale, but it sure did in depth for the fans who love it.

  • May 29, 2011, 1:40 a.m. CST

    Pete's Dragon

    by dukeroberts

    I cannot count the number of times I saw that movie as a kid on The Movie Channel. And I have seen Grease so many times as well. I used to watch Taxi as a kid too. And, I loved Wizards & Warriors as a young 'un as well. Isn't it strange how someone can touch you in little ways wihout you realizing it, until they are gone? Rest well, Jeff. You entertained many millions, millions of times over. I, for one, thank you heartily.

  • May 29, 2011, 1:41 a.m. CST

    Peter David?

    by dukeroberts

  • May 29, 2011, 1:41 a.m. CST

    Peter David?

    by dukeroberts

    I loved reading your stuff in my formative years. Big fan.

  • May 29, 2011, 5:11 a.m. CST

    That was a lovely obituary Quint.

    by smellmycheese

  • He gives them the tools to succeed, it's up to them whether or not they want to work at it. Celebrities have different problems that go along with their addictions because they are so used to fame. Dr. Drew is uniquely qualified to deal with alot of these egos. However, no type of counseling or rehab program is 100% effective. Hell, it's hard to be even 10% effective. But, going through the process with other people that have gone through similar life experiences makes it easier than trying to do it by yourself...

  • May 29, 2011, 8:53 a.m. CST

    Never should have left Taxi.

    by paulloch

    One of my favorite scenes is when he goes to a kids party dressed like the easter bunny. Sees the kids parent is a casting director, then does a scene for her and the kids from "Who's LIfe is it Anyway?" : "Okay, kids just pretend Mister Bunny is paralyzed from the neck down" before Shelley Long and David Caruso, he really became the cautionahry tale of leaving the hit TV show. Does anyone remember his albums he released, when he couldn't find acting work.

  • May 29, 2011, 9:33 a.m. CST

    Sorry

    by Kirk Whitham

    Sorry to see him go, but the man did this to himself.

  • May 29, 2011, 9:38 a.m. CST

    Thanks Duke

    by Peter David

    But to all of you, seriously: On this particular thread, let's not talk about me, okay? This is about Jeff and the last thing I want to do is hijack it just by being here. PAD

  • May 29, 2011, 9:51 a.m. CST

    Post 0

    by F-18

    Post 0

  • May 29, 2011, 11:51 a.m. CST

    he was.le

    by Orion

  • May 29, 2011, 11:53 a.m. CST

    he was let go from taxi according to wikipedia.

    by Orion

    Damn shame. Hopefully hes in a better place, if that sort of thing exists, but atleast hes out of pain

  • May 29, 2011, 12:55 p.m. CST

    Nice hair.

    by schulzcreative

  • May 29, 2011, 1:52 p.m. CST

    an 80s classic

    by oisin5199

    I'd forgotten he was in Pete's Dragon, loved that movie when I was little. Back when I was a kid I used to make up movies in my head and 'cast' actors in roles. For some reason, Jeff Conaway seemed to get a lot of work in those films. Maybe more than he actually got in reality. Too bad he had all those problems. RIP.

  • May 29, 2011, 2:15 p.m. CST

    When I met him, I had a different experience

    by LookWhosTalkbackingNow

    I was in Fort Worth and I ran into a certain someone at the IHOP right there off the expressway. I'm also a huge Pete's Dragon fan and so naturally I was interested in talking to the guy about what it was like to be on the set of such a magical film. He said he wouldn't say a word unless I paid for his breakfast. So I say, "Sure, why not?" The next thing I know, he orders three additional breakfasts. Keep in mind, he's nodding out the whole time. I think he forgot I was there because he started shouting at the guy next to him. "Jew! JEW!!" I was disgusted. Then, instead of eating the breakfasts, he spat in each of them and called me a jew too. He said jews screwed him out of money on Pete's Dragon and jews kept him out of the film adaptation of Grease. This guy had a lot of pent up hostility for the jews. I know this is a hard time for all of you, but it is time that you start considering the idea that maybe he deserved to die. It is harsh to say that, I know. If he signed my obscure poster at a nerd fest, I'd love him too and be completely ignorant toward who the guy was or what he said. The sad truth is that he was an anti-Semite and while many of the points made by anti-Semites are valid, that does not make it okay for them to say them in a public forum. And no matter how watered-down and arbitrary the information posted on AICN has become, we can't overlook the fact that this guy was in Pete's Dragon.

  • May 29, 2011, 2:32 p.m. CST

    lookwhostalkbackingnow

    by Bob Cryptonight

    Not cool.

  • May 29, 2011, 2:43 p.m. CST

    Jeff was o.k. in my book

    by blueant

    He was a much better actor than losers like David Spade. Shame he had problems that overwhelmed him. Hope he's in a better place.

  • May 29, 2011, 3:20 p.m. CST

    He was great in Grease....

    by symon

    Must've been rough on him, too. Not only did they give his part to John Travolta, they even let Travolta sing "Greased Lightning," Kenicki's big song from the musical. Must have sucked. And am I the only one who thinks Celebrity Rehab should be paying for this funeral? Addiction isn't entertainment. I hope Dr. Drew is ashamed of himself.

  • May 29, 2011, 3:26 p.m. CST

    Re:Tyson

    by Monolith_Jones

    He was convicted in 92 and released in 95. That's 14 years in between for the scandal to die down. I don't believe it was ever an ethical issue, or at least not for everyone involved in the second film. I think they believed that Mel Gibson wold negatively affect the films box office.

  • May 29, 2011, 3:56 p.m. CST

    I still haven't seen "Grease." Why?

    by Behemoth

    Because I am a heterosexual man. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

  • May 29, 2011, 6:35 p.m. CST

    from chasin petes dragon

    by paul burnett

    from chasin petes dragon to chasin the dragon, at least he lived his life to the full

  • May 29, 2011, 7:39 p.m. CST

    "...many of the points made by anti-Semites are valid"

    by DoctorWho?

    Such as?

  • May 29, 2011, 7:42 p.m. CST

    Are there any "valid points" made by white supremacists?

    by DoctorWho?

  • May 29, 2011, 8:16 p.m. CST

    re:lookwhostalkbackingnow

    by boogy110

    lol,please tell me this is a true story.

  • May 29, 2011, 8:19 p.m. CST

    My Jeff Conaway impersonation.

    by boogy110

    Ah..Aaaaah.....Aaaaaaaaaahhhhh. nnnnnn.. Aaaaaaaah...shsh sh sh shut up...aaaah...aaaaaaaah..

  • May 29, 2011, 8:36 p.m. CST

    Gutted to hear this news

    by manonfire

    I'm not gonna pretend that I was well versed on his complete filmography but Grease was such a mainstay in my childhood viewing and it succeded thanks in no small part to Mr Conaways great performance.The guy def had charisma. Gone but not forgotten..RIP sir. "A hickey from Kenicky is like a hallmark card"

  • May 29, 2011, 8:57 p.m. CST

    Pete's Dragon

    by Keith

    First movie I ever remember seeing. At a drive-in cinema in Australia, 1977.

  • May 29, 2011, 9:03 p.m. CST

    hyphenatedwords

    by Keith

    "One of the greatest aspects of growing up in the '70s and '80s was the lack of instant gratification with home video. You'd see a movie once or twice, and that was IT. You just expected to NEVER SEE IT AGAIN." Very much so. I once tried to explain this idea to my young niece and nephew. They couldn't get their heads around it. It wasn't really until the mid-to-late 80s that even the sell-through VHS existed. If you loved a movie and wanted to have your own copy, you either taped it off the TV (the most common method), copied it from a video store copy (second most common) or actually bought one of the tapes sold to video stores (very uncommon; they cost somewhere between $70 and $100). First time I remember seeing sell-through VHS movies at retail prices (i.e. around $20 at the time) was 1987. And there weren't that many of them.

  • May 30, 2011, 9:19 a.m. CST

    glodene

    by maxjohnson1971

    Damn. Heron did die. Bummer. When the fuck is Secrets coming out on CD? My 5 vinyl copies are getting warped and worn out.

  • May 30, 2011, 12:38 p.m. CST

    Yeah, Behemoth...

    by Rebeck2

    Everybody who likes musicals is a "fag". You got it, buddy. And I guess love stories, old black and white movies, serious drama, and subtitled foreign films are also just for the gays. Enjoy your sad narrow-minded little life. Oh yeah, and your title of "movie geek" has been revoked.

  • May 30, 2011, 3:11 p.m. CST

    Hay Peter David

    by smackfu

    I like ur Hulks. Smashy smashy

  • May 30, 2011, 7:36 p.m. CST

    Jeff has left the building..

    by Dark Doom

    From Taxi to B-5, the guy was a part of my younger life, sad to see him go. And drugs just suck, sad. Hope you are in a better, less painful place, Mr. Conaway. Peace be with you fellow traveler..

  • May 30, 2011, 8:30 p.m. CST

    R.I.P., J. Conway

    by Dillactus

  • May 31, 2011, 12:52 a.m. CST

    Dude Bobby from Taxi is dead!

    by tombseye

    He was muy bueno on that show!

  • May 31, 2011, 10:27 a.m. CST

    Saw him last month...

    by TDH1138

    I was doing a Con appearance in Anaheim last month and he was there. I ran into him when i was washing my hands in the men's room. Asked me if I was having a good show,. He was very nice but he looked bad. Its a shame.

  • May 31, 2011, 2:45 p.m. CST

    Never followed every aspect of his career...

    by ZaphodBeeblerox

    I remember him from Taxi, but mostly from Grease. B5 was on the air when I had no cable or internet thanks to a financially draining divorce so I missed that entirely (so far). From the glimpses I saw of what his life had become on 'Celebrity Rehab', I sincerely hope that Mr Conaway is finally able to find some measure of peace.