How The Cast Of Grease Have Changed 45 Years On

It's been 45 years since the release of Grease — and its fans are still hopelessly devoted. And as this classic movie musical is re-released in theaters to celebrate its major milestone, we thought we'd check in on the surviving cast. Of course, Grease fans the world over went into mourning with the passing of Olivia Newton-John in August 2022. But many of the other stars are still with us, still working, and still looking like greased lightning. You could even say they go together like rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong.

10. Frankie Avalon (the Teen Angel)

To play the role of the Teen Angel, the Grease producers needed someone who was instantly recognizable as a symbol of teen culture in the 1950s. Elvis Presley was considered for the part, but the King died during the production of Grease. Frankie Valli was another option before he opted to sing the title song instead. In the end, the part went to actor, singer, and one-time teen idol Frankie Avalon — and it would come to define his entire career.

Avalon has enjoyed a lifetime of success

Grease is the most successful thing I’ve ever been part of,” he told Playbill in 2003. “It spans generations. If I go to a restaurant or if I’m at an airport and people recognize me, it amazes me that most of them know me from Grease.” He was appearing in the stage version of Grease at that time and commented, "The film meant so much to so many people." The ex-Teen Angel, now in his eighties, is still performing today, too. You may have even seen him singing on Dancing with the Stars back in 2021.

9. Kelly Ward (Putzie)

If you've ever seen or read the original stage play of Grease, you'll know that there is a character called Roger in the T-Birds. He has a couple of big numbers, too, with the songs "Mooning" and "Rock'n'Roll Party Queen." This character is nowhere to be seen in the movie, though. Instead, the film kind of replaces him with the character Putzie — who doesn't appear in the stage play at all! Kelly Ward got the role of Putzie, having already worked with star John Travolta and director Randal Kleiser in The Boy in the Plastic Bubble.

Kelly Ward stayed connected to Grease for years

In 2013 Ward would go on to choreograph a stage production of Grease that was directed by his co-star Barry Pearl, who played fellow T-Bird Doody. "There's such a camaraderie among old greasers," Ward told the Ventura County Star. "Barry and Michael Tucci [who played Sonny in the film] and I try to catch a meal together as often as we can." He added, "I was 20 years old, so it was seismic in my life. Grease has brought me full circle in terms of meeting people, launching my career, and giving me a whole family of colleagues that have remained in my life and supportive."