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Cha Cha From 'Grease' Dead at 63

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By Jessica Fowler, Christian Post Contributor
August 5, 2011|3:25 pm

Annette Charles, best known for her role as Cha Cha DiGregorio in “Grease,” has died at the age of 63. Her death comes just two months after “Grease” star Jeff Conaway died of an overdose at the age of 60.

Charles, born Annette Cardona, acted opposite of Conaway in the popular 1978 classic “Grease.”

Her agent Derek Maki said she passed away Wednesday night.

Los Angeles Councilman Tom LaBonge, a longtime friend of the actress, confirmed that Charles died in Los Angeles after complications with cancer, according to the Sacramento Bee.

A family member told American tabloid, TMZ: "Annette had recently started having difficulty breathing ... and when she went to the doctor she learned that she had a cancerous tumor in her one of her lungs."

In early May, Conaway, who appeared on “Celebrity Rehab” and was known for his role in "Taxi," was found unconscious in his home for what at the time was described as a possible prescription pill overdose. He died on May 27, a day after his family took him off of life support.

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Conaway and Charles starred in "Grease" alongside John Travolta and Olivia Newton John.

Charles’s character Cha Cha was girlfriend of the T-Birds rival gang The Scorpions. Conaway’s character Kenickie was second in command to leader of the T-Birds Danny Zuko, played by John Travolta.

In a move to spark jealousy, Conaway’s character Kenicki takes Charles’s character Cha Cha to Rydell High’s school dance. Charles most memorable scene, however, was her sultry dance with co-star Travolta.

In addition to her role in “Grease,” Charles appeared on various television shows throughout the 1970’s and 80’s, including “The Mod Squad”, “Bonanza”, “Magnum P.I.”, “Baranby Jones”, “The Incredible Hulk”, and "The Bionic Woman.”

Charles graduated with a masters degree from New York University’s School of Social Work in 2001.

Revisiting her "Grease" character Cha Cha once again, Charles appeared in a 2002 episode of VH-1's "Where Are They Now?".

In the years following her acting career, Charles went by her original name, Annette Cardona, and taught speech at California State University, Northridge.

 

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