Babylon 5, Grease & Taxi Star Jeff Conaway Dead At Age 60 UPDATED: Dr. Drew Speaks on Conaway’s Death (VIDEO)

Jeff Conaway: 1950 - 2011

It is with great sadness that we report that it has been confirmed that Jeff Conaway, star of Taxi, Babylon 5 and the classic film Grease has passed away at the age of 60 due to complications from pneumonia and an apparent overdose of prescription pain killers which he suffered on May 11th.  He was taken to a Los Angeles area hospital that day and put into a medically induced coma.  Based on the advice physicians who had described his situation as “hopeless” for several days, his family made the decision to remove him from life support.  Conaway’s history of substance addiction was well-documented in the media and on the VH-1 reality series Celebrity Fit Club and Celebrity Rehab.

Conaway’s manager, Phil Brock, said this to the media:

“We loved Jeff as a person, respected him as a consummate performer and entertainer. Somewhere in heaven, somebody is getting a hickey from Kenickie.  On a darker side, we’re happy his personal struggles are now over. We do not have memorial plans yet. The family has asked for forbearance and privacy today. It’s a very difficult time.

Our staff has been with him through his struggle over the last few years. He is one of the nicest, kindest people. The most gentle person, and that may have been his downfall in the long run. He was a really nice guy in general, a person who would give the shirt off his back for anyone. He loved and lived to be on stage and entertaining others.

Jeff Conaway on Babylon 5

On a personal note, I shared a flight with Conaway and a female companion (not his girlfriend, Vickie, who appeared on Celebrity Rehab) in 2006 to Burbank on my way to appear on a game show in Studio City.  Phil Brock’s statement mirrors my impression of him.  He was a very kind and gracious man and very accessible. I spoke at length with him both during and after the flight and completely enjoyed my limited time with him. Although, even I could see that he was someone who had a long history of drug and alcohol use despite the fact that he was sober on that flight, he was nothing like the persona that was portrayed on VH-1 and I hope that people realize how greatly reality television distorts our perception of people, celebrities and otherwise.  Yes, Jeff Conaway had his demons that he could never exorcise, but he was a truly decent human being.

Noel Gallagher of Oasis: Pretentious Limey Prick

In closing, not only would we like to thank Jeff for the years of entertainment he provided (especially on Babylon 5) and the wonderful conversation I had with him on that flight but I’d also like to thank him for doing what someone should have done a long time ago: Conaway pulled a knife on Oasis’ Noel Gallagher backstage at a Marilyn Manson concert in 2008 for mocking him.  We really don’t care why he did it, we’re just glad it was done and for his efforts, he posthumously earns The TV-Tastic Bad-Ass Seal of Approval, ‘The Walken.’  Thanks Jeff, you’ll be missed.

‘Chase’ (NBC – Monday, 10:00 p.m.)

 

From Emmy Award-winning executive producer Jerry Bruckheimer (“CSI” franchise, “The Amazing Race,” “Pirates of the Caribbean”) and executive producer Jennifer Johnson (“Cold Case,” “Reunion,” “Lost”), “Chase” is a lightning-fast drama that drops viewers smack into the middle of a game of cat-and-mouse as a team of U.S. Marshals hunts down America’s most dangerous fugitives.

Kelli Giddish (“Past Life”) stars as U.S. Marshal Annie Frost, a cowboy boot-wearing deputy whose sharp mind and unique Texas upbringing help her track down violent criminals on the run. Starring as the members of Frost’s elite team are Cole Hauser (“K-Ville”) as Jimmy Godfrey, an East Texas kid who never grew up and is a true American cowboy; Amaury Nolasco (“Prison Break”) who plays Marco Martinez, a good intelligence guy who loves to talk; and Rose Rollins (“The L Word”), who portrays Daisy Ogbaa, a weapons/tactical specialist and a woman of few words. Rounding out the cast is Jesse Metcalfe (“Desperate Housewives”), who stars as Luke Watson, the fresh-faced newcomer whose Washington, D.C. upbringing did little to prepare him for the Lone Star State. – NBC

The Preview (Posted 9/15/2010):

Shawn: Although, seemingly formulaic and reeking suspiciously of U.S. Marshalls (I was waiting for Tommy Lee Jones to pop out and start barking orders about finding Richard Kimball in the trailer), the high-energy and the strong cast of Chase makes it certainly worthy of consideration.  I’m not jumping out of my pants about it yet but it is a Jerry Bruckheimer production and that definitely makes it worth watching for at least the first three or four episodes.  “Cautiously optimistic” is the best way to describe my enthusiasm for Chase.

The Review:

3 out of 10

Shawn:     Alright, that is the absolute last time I automatically give a show the benefit of the doubt for being a Jerry Bruckheimer production and I should have had this policy in place a long time ago because of CSI alone (but let’s be fair… I did use the phrase “cautiously optimistic.”).  Bruckheimer’s problem in general is that when he really gives a damn, he gets behind projects that although may not have long-term success are at least original (see: Justice, E-Ring).  When he doesn’t, he reverts to bland and intelligence-insulting procedurals like Chase

One thing I can say about Chase is that the there is certainly a lot of that during the hour, in fact that’s about all they do and yes it gets very stale, very quickly.  When they aren’t running all over Texas, they are sitting around a room and doing the psychoanalysis version of CSI but instead of a forensics investigation based on actual evidence, this crew comes up with off-the-wall behavioral theories about their fugitive’s psyche and it just so happens that everything they predict about the fugitive’s current and next moves is absolutely what the bad guy is doing!  They literally NEVER make a mistake or misstep and it left me with one conclusion: these jokers don’t need to be working for the Marshal Service collecting government salaries, they need to hook up with Miss Cleo and make some real money.

CALL MEH’NOW!

Chase is boring and contrived.  The characters are clichéd, poorly written and conceived, and furthermore generally cringe-worthy and unlikable.  The dialog is ridiculous, and the general premise of the show is that all you need to know about Texas is that everyone in the state worships Waylon Jennings and knowing that will allow you to track any fugitive.  The only thing that this show has going for it at all is that it’s fast paced and very well-shot which I think was done on purpose to distract the audience from how bad the show is plot and character-wise.  Either that, or they just sunk all of their money into the technical side of production and NONE into the writing side. 

For the record, the actors are fine and actually all have been traditionally very good.  The problem is the writing.  You can’t polish a turd and Jeff Gordon can’t win a race driving a 1993 3-cylinder Geo Metro.

By the way, I don’t even like NASCAR but I figured if Chase can make a whole show based on clichés and stereotypes about Texas, the South and rednecks, why not get in on that as well with the analogies.  When in Dallas…

Oh, and one last thing, Jerry… no one likes seeing the portrayal of a family terrified and graphically murdered execution-style during the opening sequence of a pilot… NO ONE.

Watch full episodes of Chase, here.