logo
Getty Images
Getty Images

'Grease' Star Jeff Conaway Planned His Funeral after Devastating Accident a Year before He Passed

Edduin Carvajal
Oct 05, 2021
01:00 P.M.
Share this pen
FacebookFacebookTwitterTwitterLinkedInLinkedInEmailEmail

After struggling with substance abuse for years, Jeff Conaway planned his own funeral and wished to die at home. However, destiny had a different plan prepared for the "Grease" star.

Advertisement

Kicking a drug habit is no easy feat, and late actor and singer Jeff Conaway knew it firsthand. Even though he got professional help — and even with the help from John Travolta — it wasn't enough.

Before and after photo of Jeff Conaway | Photo: Getty Images

Before and after photo of Jeff Conaway | Photo: Getty Images

Advertisement

RISE AND DOWNFALL

Born in October 1950, Conaway started acting when he was just a child and made his debut on Broadway at 10. As time went by, he made ends meet by modeling, working in commercials, and playing in a rock band.

His acting career skyrocketed in the late '70s and early '80s, especially after portraying Kenickie, John Travolta's on-screen sidekick, in "Grease." Shortly after the film hit theaters in June 1978, Conaway appeared in "Taxi" opposite Andy Kaufman, Christopher Lloyd, and other Hollywood stars.

Unfortunately, his career and life started to fall apart after he became addicted to cocaine, alcohol, and painkillers. He once attributed his substance issues to being molested as a child and dealing with chronic pain following a back injury.

Advertisement
Jeff Conaway as Bobby in "Taxi" in September 1978 | Photo: Getty Images

Jeff Conaway as Bobby in "Taxi" in September 1978 | Photo: Getty Images

GETTING BETTER

Conaway's problems were so severe that addiction specialist Dr. Drew Pinsky referred him for treatment when he tried to participate in "Celebrity Fit Club" in 2005.

Advertisement

At the time, he told Dr. Pinsky that he knew he would die in six months. He didn't, fortunately, but he couldn't get better either. Three years later, Conaway and Dr. Pinsky met again in "Celebrity Rehab."

Travolta, a well-known Scientologist, couldn't watch him waste his life anymore and introduced him to [Scientology].

Jeff Conaway as Kenickie in "Grease" in 1978 | Photo: YouTube/Movieclips Classic Trailers

Jeff Conaway as Kenickie in "Grease" in 1978 | Photo: YouTube/Movieclips Classic Trailers

Advertisement

The specialist pointed out that one of the reasons Conaway had such a hard time fighting his addiction was his girlfriend, Victoria Spinoza (also known as Vikki Lizzi).

Dr. Pinsky believed that Spinoza did drugs with Conaway and also brought them to the treatment center the first time he was in rehab. To avoid that, he limited the times Spinoza could visit her boyfriend.

Jeff Conaway as Bobby in Taxy in the late 1970s | Photo: YouTube/Most Actor & Actress Hollywood

Jeff Conaway as Bobby in Taxy in the late 1970s | Photo: YouTube/Most Actor & Actress Hollywood

Advertisement

Also in 2008, Conaway appeared on Howard Stern's show and confessed he had tried to take his own life over 20 times using pills. A few months after leaving "Celebrity Rehab," he claimed Scientology saved him from addiction.

Conaway explained that Travolta, a well-known Scientologist, couldn't watch him waste his life anymore and introduced him to the belief system invented by L. Ron Hubbard.

Jeff Conaway at a TV convention in 1998 | Photo: CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons Images

Jeff Conaway at a TV convention in 1998 | Photo: CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons Images

Advertisement

RELAPSE AND ACCIDENT

His addiction stayed out of the spotlight for almost two years, but in January 2010, he relapsed. Spinoza revealed that Conaway suffered a drug-fueled fall at his home that left him severely injured and hospitalized.

The late actor broke his hip, arm, and neck and had a brain hemorrhage, so he needed surgery. Spinoza admitted that her boyfriend's situation was "devastating." She added:

"I tried to save him from himself by trying to get him help... He wants to die at home. He knows the meds are killing him. He can't get off them."

Jeff Conaway in Los Angeles, California in March 2006 | Photo: Getty Images

Jeff Conaway in Los Angeles, California in March 2006 | Photo: Getty Images

Advertisement

Conaway's girlfriend also said his addiction got so bad that he had already planned his funeral. He wanted a Viking funeral: be laid on a boat, set on fire, sent out to sea.

Luckily, the "Taxi" actor made it out of the hospital after the accident but needed physical therapy to get his mobility back. He blamed his substance issues for the accident and also considered suicide.

Jeff Conaway in a video uploaded on YouTube in May 2011 | Photo: YouTube/Associated Press

Jeff Conaway in a video uploaded on YouTube in May 2011 | Photo: YouTube/Associated Press

Advertisement

HIS PASSING

On May 11, 2011, Conaway was found at his home unconscious and immediately rushed to the Encino Tarzana Medical Center. According to his manager Phil Brock, the actor passed out for almost ten hours before being found.

Once in the hospital, doctors put him in a medically induced coma to keep him from "thrashing around" and help him fight pneumonia and a blood infection.

Advertisement

Although reports of him suffering a drug overdose were incorrect, it is essential to point out that his severe use of drugs prevented him from noticing how sick he was and getting medical help earlier.

On May 27, 2011, Conaway was taken off life support and passed away due to complications from pneumonia. He was 60 years old.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, don't hesitate to get in touch with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "help" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741, or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

Advertisement
info
Please fill in your e-mail so we can share with you our top stories!
By subscribing, you agree to our Privacy Policy
Advertisement
info

The information in this article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, and images contained on news.AmoMama.com, or available through news.AmoMama.com is for general information purposes only. news.AmoMama.com does not take responsibility for any action taken as a result of reading this article. Before undertaking any course of treatment please consult with your healthcare provider.

Related posts

Patrick Swayze's Last Words Before He Slipped into a Coma

February 04, 2022

Nicole Kidman Protected Herself with a Prenup before Marrying Father of Her 2 Kids Keith Urban

March 03, 2022

'Yellowstone' Star Wes Bentley's Children Saved His Life Following His Addiction and Unemployment

February 12, 2022

Meet John Travolta's Only Living Son Benjamin Who Experienced the Painful Loss of 2 People He Loved

February 21, 2022

Inside Dick Van Dyke & Decades Younger Wife’s Home Where He Shows off Routine He Says Will Get Him to 100

April 22, 2022

Heather Locklear’s First & Final Love Saved Her from Downward Spiral Following Her 2 Broken Marriages

March 08, 2022

John Travolta's Late Wife Kelly Got Pregnant at 47 & Risked Her Life to Carry Her 'Miracle' Baby

April 14, 2022

Sharon Osbourne Stayed with Ozzy Despite 'a Lot' of His Infidelities — They Have Been Married for 39 Years Now

March 14, 2022

Tom Petty’s Wife Said She Was Bullied & Sued by Stepdaughters after She Saved Tom’s Life

March 30, 2022

Ricky Nelson's Son Called Mom 'Dragon' Who Did Not Let Him See Family - Uncle Mark Harmon Tried to Take Him

November 26, 2022

Charlie Sheen Could Not Understand the Chaos He Created in His Life Because of His Addictions

January 31, 2022

Colin Farrell Was Told Son May Never Walk & There Is No Cure Yet — He Gave up Drugs to Fight for Him

March 17, 2022

'Family Affair's' Johnny Whitaker's Family Threatened to 'Divorce' Him after He Became Penniless

January 25, 2022

Mark Wahlberg Wants to Devote More Time to Parenting in Private & Asks Record $87.5M for His LA Mansion

May 08, 2022