'Grease' actress Susan Buckner dies at 72

ByAlli Rosenbloom, CNN CNNWire logo
Wednesday, May 8, 2024
'Grease' actress Susan Buckner dies at 72
Actress Susan Buckner, best known for her role in the 1978 movie "Grease," has died at the age of 72, according to reports.

LOS ANGELES -- Susan Buckner, best known for playing peppy Rydell High School cheerleader Patty Simcox in the 1978 classic movie musical "Grease," has died. She was 72.

Buckner "died peacefully" on May 2 and was "surrounded by loved ones," according to a statement sent to CNN on Tuesday from her family's publicist Melissa Berthier. A cause of death was not provided, CNN reported.

"Susan will be remembered for her kindness, generosity and unwavering commitment to making a positive impact in the lives of others," Berthier's statement read. "Her effervescent spirit will continue to inspire generations of performers and fans alike."

The Washington native played Simcox, the energetic and bubbly cheerleader who served as the embodiment of school spirit at "Grease's" fictional Rydell High, alongside Newton-John's iconic character Sandy.

Prior to "Grease," Buckner was a pageant queen in 1971, when she was crowned Miss Washington, later representing the state of Washington in the Miss American pageant.

In the early 1970s, she went on to appear on episodes of "The Dean Martin Show," "Police Woman" and "Switch." Buckner later put her musical talents on display while appearing as a dancer and synchronized swimmer on "The Brady Bunch Variety Hour" in 1976.

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Throughout the late 1970s and into the 1980s, Buckner appeared in a number of TV series including "Starsky and Hutch," "The Love Boat," and "The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries," and co-starred in the ABC series "When the Whistle Blows" alongside Dolph Sweet.

She also appeared on the big screen in the 1981 Wes Craven-directed horror film "Deadly Blessing" opposite Sharon Stone. Her final credit, according to her IMDb page, is playing a news reporter in the 1989 film "Police Academy 6: City Under Seige."

In her later years, according to a biography provided by Buckner's publicist, she stepped away from Hollywood to focus on being a mom to her two children, Adam Josephs and Samantha Mansfield. Buckner also became a theater instructor for young children and taught dance in Coral Gables for nearly a decade.

She is survived by her partner Al, her sister Linda, her two children and four grandchildren.

"She was magic. She was my best friend. And I will miss her every day," Mansfield said in a statement shared with CNN on Tuesday. "I was lucky I had such a lighting rod of a mother and now I have her as an angel."

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