Saturday, May 28, 2011
Remembering Jeff Conaway
It is certainly sad news that actor Jeff Conaway died on Friday (May 27th). Instead of detailing his struggles with substance abuse, I'd prefer to honor his memory and legacy by acknowledging his work as an actor. Among his many roles, audiences may remember his appearance in the still popular, musical film Grease as Kenickie. Another of his most memorable roles was as taxi driver / wanna-be actor, Bobby Wheeler, on the TV sitcom Taxi. I was fortunate enough to experience seeing Conaway perform in a staged production of A Christmas Carol in 2004 in Youngstown, Ohio at the Powers Auditorium. Conaway played the role of Jacob Marley.
Also appearing in this staged production: Malik Yoba, Jackee Harry and Barry Williams. After the November performance, I remember seeing Conaway on Tony Danza's talk show and they discussed this production which played several days in New York City as well. (Remember Tony Danza starred with Conaway on the TV series Taxi).
If you click on the links below, you can watch whole episodes of Taxi. This TV series is also on DVD and available at Netflix.
My favorite Taxi episode featuring Jeff Conaway: 'High School Reunion' from the first season. In this episode he gives an unforgettable performance imitating Louie DePalma (who was played by Danny DeVito).
There are two Taxi Christmas episodes, although neither main storyline focuses on the Bobby Wheeler character.
A 1978 Christmas episode of Taxi: 'A Full House for Christmas.' This episode streams from IMDb.
The fifth and final season also features the Christmas episode, 'Get Me Through the Holidays' starring Louise Lasser as Alex's miserable ex-wife, Phyllis. This is Part 1.