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Friday, May 27th 2011 brought us the passing of two men in their early 60’s who made substantial impacts on the world of entertainment.

Those men are Jeff Conway and Gil Scott-Heron.

Jeff Conway will surely be remembered for his starring role in the sitcom “Taxi,” his portrayal of Danny Zuko’s buddy Kenickie in 1978’s “Grease,” “Babylon 5,” and many other films and sitcoms. Two weeks ago Conway was admitted to Encino Tarzana Medical Center in L.A. after being found unconscious in his apartment. On Friday, May 27th 2011 doctors took him off life support with the approval of his family (despite objections by his long-time girlfriend). Although it is believed that Conway’s struggle with drugs and alcohol may have played a part in his death, reports have stated so far that thecause is due to complications with phemonia and sepsis.

Jeff Conway (1950-2011)

Conway’s performance in Grease, and particularly in “Greased Lightning” with John Travolta, is one that surely inspired the musical theatre careers of many a male.

“A hickie from Kenickie is like a Hallmark card, when you only care enough to send the very best!”- Kenickie

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Gil Scott-Heron (1949-2011)

The Chicago-born, New York City-raised performer Gil Scott-Heron was known as the “Godfather of Rap” -despite his disdain for the term. The often political spoken-word musician recorded more than a dozen albums between 1970-2010. His work was coloured by his own experiences of family, alcoholism, and heroin addiction. He spent time in and out of jail for drug possession between 2000-2007, was HIV positive, and always confronted his problems frankly in his songs.

At the keys in 2010.

Most Recently, Scott-Heron released a re-mixed version of his 2010 album- renamed We’re Here Now– with Jamie Smith of The XX.

According to the BBC, “The cause of his death is not clear, but he is believed to have become ill after returning from a visit to Europe.” Scott-Heron died at St Luke’s Hospital in New York City on Friday afternoon, May 27th 2011.

By: Danielle M. Raymo
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