Edd Byrnes, 'Grease' Actor, Dead at 87

Edd Byrnes, who starred in Grease as Vince Fontaine and played Kookie on the classic TV series 77 Sunset Strip, died on Wednesday. He was 87. His son, Logan Byrnes, said he died from natural causes.

Logan announced the sad news on Twitter Thursday.

"It is with profound sadness and grief that I share with you the passing of my father Edd Byrnes," Logan wrote on Twitter. "He was an amazing man and one of my best friends. Please see the press release attached."

Bynes "died unexpectedly Wednesday, January 8th, 2020 at his home in Santa Monica, California of natural causes," the press release reads.

Byrnes is survived by his son Logan, a news anchor in San Diego; ex-wife Asa Maynor; his longtime partner Catherine Gross; and his Maltipoo Marlowe.

Byrnes was born in New York on July 30, 1932 and began acting in Connecticut before moving to Hollywood in the mid 1950s. He mostly found television roles for Warner Bros. In 1958, he starred in Girl on the Run, a crime pilot starring Efrem Zimbalist Jr.

The pilot was so successful that Warner Bros. turned it around as 77 Sunset Strip, which debuted on ABC in October 1958. Byrnes starred as Gerald Lloyd "Kookie" Kookson III and quickly became a teen idol. Byrnes starred on the series until 1963.

Byrnes spent the rest of his career jumping between movies and guest spots on television. He appeared in episodes of Quincy M.E., Fantasy Island, Charlie's Angels, CHiPS, The Virginian and Mannix. In 1992, he played himself in an episode of Married... With Children. He appeared in three Murder, She Wrote episodes between 1990 and 1995 as two different characters.

For many audiences, Byrnes is best known for his role as Vince Fontaine in Grease. The character was clearly influenced by Dick Clark and hosted the National Dance-Off at Rydell High.


Byrnes' final appearance came back in 1999, when he starred in the made-for-TV movie Shake, Rattle and Roll: An American Love Story. The four-hour movie starred Bonnie Somerville, Brad Hawkins and Kathy Baker.

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