You are watching: How old was didi conn in grease
Along through its two key stars, Grease was likewise replete with sustaining characters. Frenchy, that course, was standing out among the rest as the "beauty college dropout," linchpin that the Pink Ladies, and also cousin that Newton-John"s Australian exchange college student Sandy.
The function of Frenchy ended up being a signature one because that actress Didi Conn, who remained closely linked with Grease for the next 40 years. While her film career never ever again hit the very same heights together it had in Grease, Conn has maintained a constant presence top top the small and huge screens in the years since — including reprising Frenchy for an ill-fated Grease sequel. An actress on stage and also screen, series creator, executive producer, and also spokesperson for crucial organization, she"s retained busy in the years since Grease ruled package office. Read on to find what Frenchy actress Didi Conn has been up to because her Grease days.
While friend may recognize her finest as Frenchy indigenous Grease, the top actress to be born Edith Bernstein in 1951 in Brooklyn, brand-new York. Didi Conn, as she became known, began booking gigs together an actress in the mid-1970s, v her IMDb page listing such credits as guest point out on struggle TV collection of the work including The Rookies and Happy Days. In 1977, she was actors as one of the leads in Handle through Care, a failure TV pilot. Conn then captured her huge break as soon as she landing the starring role in You irradiate Up mine Life, a 1977 function film v a title song by singer Debby Boone.
The song ended up being a phenomenon, hitting number one top top the Billboard singles chart and staying there because that a record-setting ten weeks. Continuing to be on the chart because that an astounding 25 weeks, You light Up mine Life became the greatest hit single of the 1970s.
The film, on the other hand, to be hardly a blockbuster and reviews were so-so. Conn"s performance, however, to be winning, and put her on Hollywood"s radar at the precise moment once producers looked to cast a big-budget movie musical based upon a nostalgia-tinged Broadway hit, Grease. Conn might not have actually realized it, but an important chapter of her life was around to begin.
Grease was set in Rydell High in the so late 1950s, focusing on adolescents Danny, play by john Travolta, and also Sandy, played by Olivia Newton-John, and their pals. The cast, however, were far from teenagers. As Metro highlighted, Travolta was 23 years old at the time while Newton-John to be 28. In ~ 33, Stockard Channing, aka Rizzo, was the earliest "teenager" cast in the film.
When Didi Conn landing the function of Frenchy in Grease, she to be 27. "What to be so lot fun was that most of united state were older than the characters we were play so we just stayed in character all day long," she explained in one interview with the Daily Mail.
Staying in character together teenagers, Conn told The Telegraph, was "surreal yet also really comforting." She continued, saying, "It was vital for regressing to those teenage years, but likewise for that spontaneous energy. The really urged us." In fact, Conn recalled as soon as a bottle of wine arised at one allude while filming the slumber party scene. "I ran to the door to prevent my mommy coming in," she detailed to the publication. "They stated to me "Didi, what room you doing? You"re ~ above a soundstage at Paramount. Your mother"s in Brooklyn!" i was so right into it."
Given the enormous success of Grease, i beg your pardon earned virtually $400 million worldwide, that was just a matter of time before Hollywood offered up a sequel. Grease 2 landed in theaters 4 years ~ the original — and with a resounding thud. The film grossed a mere $15.1 million and is ideal remembered for being among Michelle Pfeiffer"s early films — and little else.
While few of the actors that played teachers changed for the sequel, the sole actors member that the original"s "teen" cast to appear Grease 2 to be Didi Conn, who appears in some quick scenes through star Maxwell Caulfield, who played a british exchange college student who comes to Rydell High. However, together Conn revealed to The Telegraph, she was originally intended to have actually a larger role.
"I had my very own number in Grease 2 yet it got cut," she said. "In keeping with Frenchy"s character, ns was to teach Maxwell exactly how to be cool. There"s a scene through us prior to you see him ride turn off on his motorcycle, however you don"t see me do the song."
The year 2018 significant the 40th anniversary that the release of Grease, and in honor of the chance British TV network now TV recreated Frenchy"s bedroom — and brought Didi Conn into the recreated film set.
"Forty years, have the right to you think it?" Conn jokingly declared from Frenchy"s bedroom in an interview v Red Carpet News TV. "It take it Moses that long to get out of the desert to the promised land!"
Looking ago at the film"s success four years later, Conn available her theory around why Grease to be such a large hit and also why it proceeds to be rediscovered by new generations the fans. "The love that us all felt because that each various other was real and also perhaps it"s contagious," she said. "You know, when human being watch the they feel that it was love, and that us cared about each other, and also the layout that we"ll constantly be together — we"re all still friends."
The friendships forged from Grease have remained strong for the actors all these years later, i m sorry Didi Conn demonstrated as soon as she joined display screen cousin Olivia Newton-John onstage in las Vegas at the Flamingo Hotel and also Casino in 2015 to execute a lovely number from the movie.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the two Pink women belted the end the Grease hit "Summer Nights" throughout the Olivia Newton-John: Summer Nights show, i m sorry featured Newton-John performing hit singles such together "Physical" along with numerous songs from Grease, including "Hopelessly dedicated to You" and also "You"re The One That i Want." while Newton-John wore a black color leather jacket and matching trousers — a nod to what her character Sandy wore in ~ the end of the movie — Conn sported a Pink ladies jacket. Together the Los Angeles Times reported, the 2 were spotted hanging out together and catching up after the show, "just choose real old high college buddies."
The success from playing Frenchy in Grease driven Didi Conn"s career for the next decade. Follow to IMDb, succeeding roles contained the feature films Almost Summer as fine as The Magic Show, a big-screen vehicle for magician Doug Henning the is perhaps best left unremembered. In the beforehand "80s, Conn joined TV sitcom Benson as the secretary of the location character, the previous butler top top the sitcom Soap who spun off to job-related for a widowed governor.
After Benson ended its run in 1986, Conn guest starred on such TV collection as Hotel, Cagney & Lacey, Highway come Heaven, and L.A. Law. In the 2000s, she credits include playing a waitress in Salma Hayek"s 2002 Frida Kahlo biopic Frida and a recurring duty as a nurse in Law & Order: Special victims Unit.
In 1989, Conn was actors as Stacy Jones in children"s TV series Shining Time Station, alongside counterculture comedian George Carlin, that played Mr. Conductor — a role, oddly enough, that had actually previously been played through Beatles drummer Ringo Starr. Conn briefly reprised the role of stationmaster Stacy in a big-screen version of Shining Time Station that debuted in 2000, i m sorry featured Alec Baldwin taking over the Mr. Conductor duties.
In 1992, Didi Conn and husband David Shire welcomed boy Danny. That was soon after she son"s 2nd birthday, Grease"s Frenchy actress wrote in a special attribute for CNN, that Danny started having increasingly loud tantrums the were generally initiated by sounds. When Conn"s pediatrician wrote off Danny"s behavior as "the devastating twos," things escalated as soon as the child started waking increase screaming in the middle of the night, periodically two or three times per night.
After several visits v a pediatric neurologist, Danny was diagnosed as high-functioning on the autism spectrum. For Conn, the diagnosis originally led she to become "the Queen the Denial." She continued, writing, "I wouldn"t think there was something "wrong" through my son."
The diagnosis, she continued, changed everything, which had putting the brakes on her acting career. "The shock the his diagnosis found me shrinking, hiding, disappearing, guilty and overprotective," she wrote. "I would certainly not take any jobs. I would never leave the alone." Ultimately, she uncovered therapy that had the ability to help. In a video clip for with Oprah.com, Conn revealed a new role that arised from this experience: celebrity spokesperson because that Autism Speaks.
Throughout the 1990s and beyond, Didi Conn appeared onstage in new York, in both Broadway and also off-Broadway productions. Follow to Playbill, Conn served as understudy come Mercedes Ruehl in the 1991 Broadway production of Neil Simon"s Lost in Yonkers. In 2000, she starred in The green Bird, an adaptation of a 17th-century Italian fable, command by Julie Taymor, who carried Disney"s The Lion King to the stage.
In 2002, Conn"s distinctive voice was put to an excellent use in Good Night, Gracie. Conn supplied voiceovers together the late Gracie Allen, half of the famous Burns and Allen comedy duo, in the play that dramatized comedian George Burns providing one final command performance for the Almighty ~ dying and finding self in limbo.
In 2010, the Grease actress went back to the brand-new York stage, involvement the cast of the off-Broadway manufacturing of Love, Loss and also What I Wore to fill in top top three separate occasions, including a six-performance run in June 2011 once a member the the cast couldn"t perform because of previous commitments.
Didi Conn came full circle in 2016 once the Fox tv network an installed its live television version of Grease. A whole new cast to be assembled for Grease Live!, with Les Misérables" Aaron Tveit as Danny Zuko and Dancing through the Stars" Julianne Hough as Sandy. Rounding out the actors were Scream Queens" Keke Palmer as Marty Maraschino, High school Musical"s Vanessa Hudgens as Rizzo, and Canadian pop star Carly Rae Jepsen together Frenchy, taking over the duty that will forever be own by Conn.
Any fans of the initial movie that tuned in to be no doubt thrilled once Conn make a surprised appearance as Vi, the waitress who lends Frenchy a sorry ear. As Entertainment Tonight reported, Conn did not arrive on the set empty-handed. Not only did Conn give Jepsen a locket, featuring a photo of the two Frenchys (inscribed v "We"ll constantly be together"), she likewise gave Jepsen the original Pink females shirt Conn wore in the movie, together with a handwritten keep in mind complimenting Jepsen"s performance. Jepsen thanked Conn in a sweet Instagram post, revealing the presents left she "crying those happy tears."
In 2013, Grease"s Didi Conn was amongst the stars in a play referred to as The Underpants, a retitled and rewritten revision of the 1911 German farce Die Hose. The writer that this play to be none other than legendary comedian Steve Martin, who adapted the play in English and also added modern touches. The plot the the comedy, follow to the New Haven Register, requires a housewife who experiences unexpected and also unwanted fame when her bloomers autumn to she ankles as she waves to the king during a parade.
Conn dram the housewife"s neighbor, Gertrude, and also admitted it to be "heaven" to have actually the opportunity speak Martin"s indigenous onstage. "As quickly as you feel his rhythms and also his energy and his really distinctive sense of humor, the play simply comes alive," she said the publication. "He"s such an pundit comic," included Conn of Martin. "What"s such a joy to carry out this beat is that I can dive in and also have fun."
Didi Conn is far from just Frenchy from Grease, she"s additionally the creator and also executive producer that her an extremely own man children"s series, Didi Lightful, explained on IMDb as a "Broadway-style musical adventure about the hilarious extremes a kid will walk to in order to get what she wants." for the project, Conn also noted the voice of the location character.
In a 2009 essay she composed for CNN around her kid Danny"s autism diagnosis, Conn described the show"s premise. Didi Lightful, she explained, "centers approximately a tiny girl of the name who loves pet of all kinds and lives in a house full of them," with Conn explaining that the child"s dad is a veterinarian.
As Conn revealed, watching her son grow up had offered her the idea for the series, mentioning that Danny to be "the prime motivation for
Didi Conn went back to the stage in 2019 as among the stars that the touring production of Middletown. The play, describes the production"s website, follows 2 couples as "they endure the rollercoaster the life with each other in this exhilarating and universal depiction of love, life and also friendship.
See more: 20 Tips On How To Clean Cabinets For Painting Kitchen Cabinets
The play additionally featured part familiar faces from 1970s and "80s television, consisting of Don many (aka Ralph Malph top top Happy Days), Cindy Williams (aka Shirley on Laverne & Shirley) and Adrian Zmed (aka Officer Vince Romano on T.J. Hooker). As simultaneous would have it, Zmed also appeared in Grease 2. Together an added coincidence, Conn in reality guest-starred top top Happy Days back in the 1970s; she played the girlfriend of Most"s character. "He provided my character mononucleosis," Conn said the Jewish Exponent.
"The 4 of us getting together was like old friends, which is perfect because that this show," Conn said of the on stage dynamics in Middletown. "There was already a exorbitant vibe v us that was an extremely natural. That wasn"t miscellaneous we necessary to invent."
British pantomime theater — or Panto, as it"s involved be known — is a famous holiday tradition in the joined Kingdom, special interactive stage performances that broad, slapstick-style version of renowned fairy story such as Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. A Panto legacy that"s emerged over the years is because that a celebrity to do a one-of-a-kind appearance in a key role, i beg your pardon is simply what Didi Conn did once she played the Fairy Godmother in the 2019 Christmastime run of Cinderella at the Bridlington Spa in Hull, England, reported Hull Live.
"I believe that announcing an unanticipated star surname is name of the video game in local pantomime," Bridlington Spa manager Andrew Aldis called Hull Live. "I suspect people are reaction to this announcement v the words, "Frenchy from Grease? In Bridlington?" and also knowing that"s being said brings me real joy."
During a talk display appearance top top Britain"s This Morning, Conn admitted the she wasn"t an extremely familiar through Panto once she took on the role, although she did tell the hosts that her very very first theater task was through a pantomime company. "We did 2 shows totally in mime," Conn said. "This is different!"
In 2019, Didi Conn headed to the united kingdom to appear on british television, wherein she was one of the celebrity guest on ITV"s Dancing on Ice. In a format similar to the of ABC"s Dancing v the Stars, celebrities space partnered with professional figure skaters come rehearse and then perform figure skating routines collection to music.
Conn to be 67 at the time she participated in the show, reported Britain"s Sunday Post, and she revealed there was one big an obstacle to overcome before taking the gig: she didn"t know how to skate. However, she explained, producer "asked if I want to learn and also I assumed it"d it is in an exciting thing to do. And also I"m gaining paid to perform it, for this reason why no try?"
The Grease actress likewise revealed how her boy Danny, that was climate 26, motivated her to lace up she skates and also hit the ice. "I have actually a kid who is distinct needs and also he is now living on a farm and also working there and also this has provided me a time in mine life to discover out that is Didi-Didi, not Didi-mommy, girlfriend know?" she said the Manchester evening News. "So this is a great way come just, not dive in, slide into this brand-new part of mine life."