‘Grease’ has never got old. But, if you’re being technical, it’s actually preparing to celebrate its 40th anniversary next year.
There has already been all sorts of talk about exactly this great date will be marked, and now one of the show’s biggest stars, Olivia Newton-John has dropped the biggest hint yet that there may be a cast reunion of sorts.
O N-J told the press at the Fame Awards in Las Vegas that she and co-star John Travolta were sharing ideas about what form the reunion will take, but they’re determined to mark the occasion in style.
“We are thinking up ways. Nothing to announce yet. Forty years anniversary of Grease, which I can’t believe Time goes so fast. It is so exciting.” (Presumably the idea of a reunion, not that tempus does indeed fugit).
The film remains one of the most timeless treasures of the 1970s. It made global stars of its young leads, with Olivia playing the square-turned-sassy Sandy Olssson, and John Travolta never better as the boy racer turned Romeo Danny Zucko - although, as every die-hard fan knows, it’s really all about Rizzo, the scene-stealing Stockard Channing. No reunion will be complete without her.
It was a more innocent time when the film first came out and took a pretty impressive £400million at the box office, becoming the most popular musical film of all time (it now sits at third behind ‘Mamma Mia’ and ‘Les Miserables’).
John Travolta was still more famous for his dance moves than his verbal mishaps, the UK had been in Europe for five years, and it was still cool to pretend to smoke. For some things there’s no going back… but we can at least cross our fingers and hope that ‘Grease’, at least, will, once again, be the word in time for its 40th.
Bad girl Rizzo
The much-loved actress has been nominated for 13 Emmy Awards and seven Tony Awards. She found a whole new audience playing Abby Bartlet in ‘The West Wing’. She returned to stage in 2010 in Dublin for ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ and, most recently, she has had a recurring role in TV hit ‘The Good Wife’.
One of the T-Birds in ‘Grease’, Michael went on to play Garry Shandling’s pal Pete Schumaker on his eponymous show, and also played Dick Van Dyke’s friend in ‘Diagnosis: Murder’. He recently played Melissa McCarthy’s father in ‘Heat’. He is also an acting teacher in California.
Pink Lady Marty was Dinah’s debut film role, but she went on to further roles on screen, as well as stage, where she won a Tony Award for Neil Simon’s ‘I Ought To Be In Pictures’. In 1988, she was the first character to be killed by Chucky in ‘Child’s Play’ and has worked consistently since. Most recently, she has starred in cable TV series ‘State of Grace’.
Another T-Bird, Barry Pearl has eschewed any further film roles, concentrating instead on being a children’s theatre and TV actor. He did make a cameo appearance in ‘Grease: Live’ on FOX this year, when he appeared as Mr Weaver.
Didi, the most aspirational of the Pink Ladies, reprised her role for ‘Grease 2’, and went on to appear in hit US sitcom ‘Benson’, as well as other TV shows. Besides appearing in the ‘Grease: Live’ television special this year, Didi has concentrated on being a spokesperson for Autism Speaks, following her son’s diagnosis.
American actor, singer and former teen idol, Frankie Avalon found a worldwide audience in ‘Grease’, where he strangely materialised to inspire Frenchy to “go back to high school”. As well as promoting his health and cosmetic products on the Home Shopping Network, Frankie has produced a Italian cookbook, and been happy to reprise his ‘Grease’ role, including help recruit Sandy for NBC’s ‘Grease: You’re the One That I Want’. He performed on American Idol in 2009.
Following ‘Grease’, Jeff found TV fame in hit US sitcom ‘Taxi’, however his drug use contributed to his eventual firing. Although he made frequent appearances on other TV shows and some films, it was his role in ‘Babylon 5’ that brought him a whole new fanbase. Although he underwent treatment for drug abuse in the 1980s, and later appeared in two series of ‘Celebrity Rehab’, his health problems ultimately overwhelmed him, and he eventually died from pneumonia in 2011.
Olivia had already represented the UK at Eurovision and kick-started her pop career, when she got the role of Sandy in ‘Grease’, a film whose popularity helped boost her profile worldwide. She went on to become one of the world’s most popular music artists, with 100million record sales to her name, but later preferred to concentrate on health issues advocacy as well as animal rights. Following her own recovery from breast cancer in the 1990s, Olivia raised money for a clinic in Melbourne in her name. She continues to tour now, and last year appeared as a guest judge in RuPaul’s Drag Race.
‘Grease’ made John Travolta one of the biggest film stars in the world, but his career took a dip in the 1980s. Quentin Tarantino bought him back to the A-list with ‘Pulp Fiction’ in 1994, and he won a Golden Globe for ‘Get Shorty’. Following the death of his girlfriend in 1977, he suffered the loss of his son Jett in 2009. John Travolta has been a longtime Scientologist, and is most often in the headlines these days, when he’s speaking out in defence of the controversial religion.