How old was John Travolta in Grease? His and other cast member's ages might surprise you
In 1972, Grease the musical premiered on Broadway at the Broadhurst Theatre. Seven years later, the musical became the longest-ever show on Broadway and the highest-grossing musical. However, do you know that creators featured older actors than the teenage characters they portrayed? The idea worked perfectly and John Travolta was among the lead characters. So, how old was John Travolta in Grease, and what were the ages of the rest of the cast?
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John Travolta portrayed an 18-year-old Danny Zuko in Grease. He was in love with Sandy Olsson, a 17-year-old Australian immigrant and ingénue played by Olivia Newton-John. But John and Olivia were not the only cast members who played teenagers.
Others were Stockard Channing, Jamie Donnelly, Jeff Conaway, Didi Conn, and Michael Tucci. The actors and actresses were adults in their early 20s to mid-30s when they appeared in the musical romance film. But how do the Grease cast's ages then and now compare?
How old was John Travolta in Grease?
John Travolta was born on 18 February 1954 (age 68 as of 2022) in Englewood, New Jersey, United States. He became an actor in 1972 and followed in his mother’s footsteps. John Travolta's mom was Helen Cecilia. She was an actress, singer, and director who had appeared in The Sunshine Sisters.
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When the film started filming in 1977, John Travolta was 23 years old. Then, however, he took on the role of Danny Zuko, an 18-year-old leader of the greaser gang. A look at Grease's cast ages shows Travolta was among the youngest actors in the film.
How old were the cast members of Grease?
If you look at Grease cast's ages then or when the film first aired in 1978, you will immediately notice that most of them were not teenagers in their respective roles. After looking at John Travolta, how do other Grease cast ages then and now compare?
1. Stockard Channing
Stockard Channing was born on 13 February 1944 (age 78 as of 2022) in New York City, United States. How old was Stockard Channing in Grease? She was 33 years old in 1977 during Grease filming.
Stockard Channing took on the role of Betty Rizzo, Kenickie’s girlfriend and the cynical leader of the Pink Ladies. Channing was one of the Grease cast members who were adults but took the roles of teenagers. However, she played a 17-year-old Betty Rizzo.
2. Olivia Newton-John
Olivia Newton-John was born on 29 September 1948 (age 73 as of 2022) in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England. How old were John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John in Grease? When the film aired in 1978, Olivia was 29 years old.
Olivia Newton-John portrayed Sandy Olsson in Grease. Surprisingly, she played a 17-year-old high school student and Danny’s girlfriend in Grease. John Travolta, who played Danny Zuko, was 23 years old.
3. Jamie Donnelly
Jamie Donnelly was born 8 May 1947 (age 75 as of 2022) in Bergen County, New Jersey, United States. She took on the role of Jan in Grease. During the film’s production, Jamie Donnelly was 30 years old. However, she played a 17-year-old member of the Pink Ladies and dated Putzie.
4. Jeff Conaway
Jeff Conaway was born on 5 October 1950 in New York City, United States. Unfortunately, Conaway died on 27 May 2011, aged 60. When he appeared in Grease, he took on the role of Kenickie, a 17 or 18-year-old second in command of the T-Birds. Kenickie was Danny’s best friend, owner of Greased Lightnin’, and Rizzo’s boyfriend.
5. Didi Conn
Didi Conn was born on 13 July 1951 (age 71 as of 2022) in Brooklyn, New York, United States. She portrayed Frenchy in Grease. Frenchy is around 17 and 18 years in the film and is Sandy’s closest friend in the Pink Ladies. Although she played a teenage character, Didi Conn was one of Grease's movie characters who were adults. The actress was 25 in 1977.
6. Michael Tucci
Michael Tucci was born on 15 April 1946 (age 76 as of 2022) in New York, New York, United States. Tucci portrayed Sonny LaTierri, a member of the T-Bird who has a crush on Marty. Sonny is 18 years old in Grease but was 31 during the film’s production in 1977.
7. Kelly Ward
Kelly Ward was born on 17 November 1956 (age 65 as of 2022) in San Diego, California, United States. He portrayed a 17 or 18-year-old Putzie in Grease. Kelly Ward was 21 when he appeared in the film.
So, how old was John Travolta in Grease? John Travolta was 23 when he portrayed Danny Zuko in Grease. Although he was 23, he played the role of a teenager. But the rest of the film’s cast members were adults, playing teenage roles.
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