'Grease': The Cast Then And Now

Jordan Claes
John Travola in 'Grease' compared to a current day picture.
Paramount Pictures / @johntravolta | Paramount Pictures / @johntravolta

For the past 40-plus years, our summer nights have been filled with the songs and dances from the iconic movie Grease. The film broke new ground and helped to completely change the face of the modern musical.

Fans all over the world have been reeling from the news regarding Olivia Newton-John's tragic passing. So as a way of paying homage to what remains one of the greatest movies ever made, let's take a look at what the cast is up to: then vs. now.

Then: Dinah Manoff

Dinah Manoff dressed as a Pink Lady in 'Grease'.
Paramount Pictures | Paramount Pictures

Dinah was already friends with John Travolta, having acted alongside him in an episode of Welcome Back, Kotter titled "Sadie Hawkins Day." Prior to Grease, she'd only appeared in a select few TV and film roles.

Now: Dinah Manoff

Dinah Manoff taking a selfie by her living room window.
instagram | @thedinahmanoff

Dinah Manoff went on to appear in a multitude of big and small screen productions, including Golden Girls, Empty Nest, as well as the classic horror film — Child's Play. Her last acting credit was 2008's Bart Got a Room.

Then: Jamie Donnelly

Jamie Donnelly dressed as a Pink Lady, smiling, in 'Grease'.
Paramount Pictures | Paramount Pictures

Jamie Donnelly was cast to play Jan in the Broadway stage production of "Grease" in 1972. When the time came to make the iconic movie version of the play, she was tapped to reprise her role.

Now: Jamie Donnelly

Jamie Donnelly filming a talking head.
youtube | All Downhill From Here -The Web Series

Jamie Donnelly didn't work for a decade after she starred in Grease. Her resume is sporadic at best, although her career received a kickstart after she was cast as Mrs. Cody in Black Mass, alongside Johnny Depp.

Then: Barry Pearl

Barry Pearl dressed as a greaser in 'Grease'.
Paramount Pictures | Paramount Pictures

Before being given his big break playing Doody in Grease, Barry was best-known for his appearance in CPO Sharkey, opposite the legendary comedian, Don Rickles. Barry provided the voice for Smokey in the TV movie The Ballad of Smokey the Bear.

Now: Barry Pearl

Barry Pearl continued to act after Grease and secured a recurring role on Days of Our Lives from 1986 to 1990. Since that time, he's made several television appearances in series such as House, Boomers, and Criminal Minds.

Then: Didi Conn

Close up of Frenchy smiling in 'Grease'.
Paramount Pictures | Paramount Pictures

Before her breakthrough performance as Frenchy in Grease, Didi Conn was almost a complete unknown. Prior to that, she appeared in all 27 episodes of the short-lived sitcom, The Practice, as well as appeared in a small handful of made-for-TV movies.

Now: Didi Conn

Didi Conn pictured beside Olivia Newton-John during a panel for 'Grease'.
instagram | @didiconnofficial

Although the world over remembers Didi for her role as Frenchy in Grease, to me (and every other '90s kid) she will always be known as Stacy Jones from Shining Time Station. Most recently, Didi appeared in an episode of Blue Bloods.

Then: Jeff Conaway

Kenicke smiling in 'Grease'.
Paramount Pictures | Paramount Pictures

Jeff Conaway played Kenickie in Grease, the best friend of Danny Zuko. While filming the famous "Greased Lighting" dance sequence, Conaway severely injured his back and would go on to develop an addiction to pain medication as a result. He died in 2011 from complications brought on by pneumonia.

Then: Stockard Channing

Rizzo clutching her school books in 'Grease'.
Paramount Pictures | Paramount Pictures

Stockard Channing's star power was already on the rise, thanks to roles in films like The Fortune and Sweet Revenge. At the time when she was cast to play Rizzo, Stockard was already 33 years old and thought by many to be too old for the part.

Now: Stockard Channing

Stockard Channing's acting resume has grown sparse over the last five years. Prior to 2017, her last starring role came from playing Veronica Loy in The Good Wife. Her most famous role, aside from Rizzo, was when she played Abbey Bartlet in The West Wing.

Then: John Travolta

Danny Zuko behind the wheel of his car, about to drag race, in 'Grease'.
Paramount Pictures | Paramount Pictures

At the time he was cast to play Danny Zuko in Grease, John Travolta was already one of the hottest movie stars of his age. That same year, Travolta received his first-ever Oscar nomination for his work in Saturday Night Fever.

Now: John Travolta

John Travolta aboard his plane with his son, Ben.
instagram | @johntravolta

Travolta has remained a permanent fixture on the Hollywood red carpet for the past 40-plus years. He received his second Academy Award nomination for "Best Actor" in 1995 for Pulp Fiction and most recently appeared in the Quibi series Die Hart.

Then: Olivia Newton-John

Sandy waving goodbye as their car drives into the ski in 'Grease'.

Although Olivia had very little acting experience before being cast as Sandra Olsson in Grease, she was still a certified pop sensation. She and John Travolta had instant chemistry and maintained a close friendship over the years.

Now: Olivia Newton-John

John Easterling and Olivia Newton-John hugging.
instagram | @therealonj

On August 8th, 2022, Olivia passed away peacefully while surrounded by her family and closest friends. Her legacy will never be forgotten and lives on in the form of the Olivia Newton-John Foundation for Cancer Wellness and Research.