Actress Susan Buckner, Who Starred in ‘Grease,’ Dies at 72

Actress Susan Buckner, Who Starred in ‘Grease,’ Dies at 72
Actress Susan Buckner attends the celebration of the DVD release of "Grease Rockin' Rydell Edition" at the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, Calif., on Sept. 19, 2006. (David Livingston/Getty Images)

Actress Susan Buckner has passed away at the age of 72. The actress, best known for her role as cheerleader Patty Simcox in the 1978 musical comedy Grease, died peacefully on May 2, according to her family. Her cause of death was not revealed.

The late actress was born in Seattle in 1952. She started off as a contestant in beauty pageants, winning her first title as Miss Washington in 1971.

The following year, she moved on to represent the state at the Miss America competition before embarking on her entertainment career.

Her previous pageant experience led her to become part of an all-female music group called the “Golddiggers,” which was featured on the Dean Martin Show, in addition to appearances on the “Mac Davis Show,” “Sonny and Cher,” and “The Brady Bunch Variety Hour.”

She would go on to join the all-girl group Fantasy before co-founding the musical duo, Buckner and Pratt.
Susan’s first role as an actress was as Judy on the hit TV series Police Woman in an episode titled “Angela.”

Her big break as an actress, however, came at age 25 when she starred alongside Olivia Newton-John in Grease, where she played the role of the bubbly and happy-go-lucky character Patty Simcox, in a supporting role as a cheerleader.

The movie would end up being her career-defining role, with a memorable cheer well-known to audiences:

“Do the splits, give a yell! Show a little spirit for Old Rydell! Way to go, red and white! Go Rydell, fight, fight, fight!” became her signature line from the movie, which saw her rooting for the fictional Rydell High School in the musical.

The late actress continued to appear in other movies and shows, including “The Love Boat,” “The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries,” and “Police Academy 6: City Under Siege.”

She also played supporting roles in the ABC series “When the Whistle Blows,” which was to be her last role on a TV show. Other notable feature credits included Wes Craven’s 1981 horror film “Deadly Blessing,” where she co-starred alongside actress Sharon Stone.

Following her stint as an actress, the mother of two decided to take a break from acting and focus on her family instead.

In her later years, she worked at a Florida elementary school, where she was a Director of children’s theater. She also went on to teach dance classes at a gym in Coral Gables.

Ms. Buckner is survived by her two children, daughter Samantha Mansfield and her son Adam Josephs, as well as four grandchildren. She also left behind her sister Linda, daughter-in-law Noel Josephs, son-in-law Adam Mansfield, and longtime partner Al.

Her family requested that donations in her honor be made to Miami’s Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.

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