News

Girlfriend, family battle over Jeff Conaway's final days

It's been a tragic ending for Jeff Conaway.

While his family has made the ultimate heart-rending decision to take the star of "Grease" and "Taxi" off life support, his ex-girlfriend Vikki Lizzi went to court to make a last-ditch effort to see him before he passed.

  • Slideshow Photos

    Jeff Conaway

    He leapt into the spotlight in the 1970s, with roles in "Taxi" and "Grease," but the actor has struggled with substance abuse for years.

  • Jeff Conaway

    of

    Fresh-faced youth -

    Jeff Conaway, who died on May 27, 2011 is best known for two roles -- that of Bobby Wheeler on the hit sitcom "Taxi," and of Kenickie in "Grease." On "Taxi," Wheeler was a handsome struggling actor who drove a cab while trying to make it in his chosen field.

    ABC / ABC
  • Jeff Conaway

    of

    Hanging with the cabbies -

    In addition to Conaway, at rear in leather jacket, "Taxi" brought fame to Danny DeVito, Marilu Henner, Andy Kaufman, Randall Carver , Tony Danza and Judd Hirsch. Conaway left the show after its third season, but made guest appearances in the fourth season. "Taxi" ran from 1978-1981.

    ABC / ABC
  • Carnival Clique

    Jeff Conaway

    of

    We go together -

    "Grease" moved from the stage to the screen in 1978 and was a huge hit. Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta led the cast as star-crossed lovers Sandy and Danny, but Conaway and Stockard Channing more than held their own as Danny's bad-boy pal Kenickie and tough girl Rizzo. Conaway for a time was married to Olivia Newton-John's sister, Rona.

    Paramount Pictures / Paramount Pictures
  • Jeff Conaway

    of

    Space man -

    In the 1990s, Conaway played Sgt. Zack Allan on "Babylon 5," and also appeared in the series' related TV movie, "A Call to Arms."

    Warner Bros. / Warner Bros.
  • Jeff Conaway

    of

    Happy couple -

    Conaway and wife Keri, seen here in 1997, wed after his marriage to Rona Newton-John ended.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • y102699_conaway03

    Jeff Conaway

    of

    Musical interlude -

    Conaway struggled with substance-abuse issues but sought treatment and was candid about his problems. In 1999, he would regularly host what he called a "booze and bible" study group at his home, where he is pictured in his recording studio.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • The Celebration of Paramount Studio's 90th Anniversary With The Release Of Six All-Time Musical Favorites To DVD

    Jeff Conaway

    of

    Remembering those summer nights -

    In 2002, Conaway joined fellow "Grease" stars Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta to celebrate Paramount Studios' 90th anniversary. "Grease" was one of six musicals re-released to mark the occasion.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • The Alzheimer's Association's 12th Annual "A Night at Sardi's"

    Jeff Conaway

    of

    Hitting the right notes -

    The role of Kenickie would never leave him. Conaway performs at a 2004 "Grease"-themed fundraiser for Alzheimer's disease in Beverly Hills, Calif.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Premiere Screening Of FX's "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia" - Arrivals

    Jeff Conaway

    of

    Old 'Taxi' mates -

    In 2006, Conaway reunited with former fellow "Taxi" stars Christopher Lloyd, Danny DeVito and Marilu Henner to mark the premiere of the second season of DeVito's FX show, "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia."

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Grease Rockin' Rydell Edition DVD Launch Event

    Jeff Conaway

    of

    Go, Greased Lightning -

    "Grease" stars Lorenzo Lamas and Susan Buckner, director Randal Kleiser and stars Didi Conn, Conaway, Eddie Deezen and Annette Cardona attend the 2006 celebration of the DVD release of the "Grease Rockin' Rydell Edition." The DVD was sold wrapped in a black leather jacket.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • 5th Annual TV Land Awards - Show

    Jeff Conaway

    of

    Honored for 'Taxi' -

    Former "Taxi" cast members Randall Carver, Judd Hirsch, Danny DeVito and Conaway accept the Medallion Award onstage during the 2007 TV Land Awards. The honor is presented to a TV series that has "stood the test of time and ranks among the most memorable and celebrated shows in TV history."

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • The HSFF Celebration And HUFH Charity Event

    Jeff Conaway

    of

    Stepping out for charity -

    Conaway and girlfriend Vikki Lizzi attend The HSFF Celebration and HUFH charity event in 2009 in Hollywood, Calif. Their tumuluous relationship was viewed by many on "Celebrity Rehab," where Dr. Drew Pinsky scolded Lizzi for interfering with Conaway's rehab. The couple also made a CD together.

    FilmMagic / FilmMagic
  • Green Is The Colour

    Jeff Conaway

    of

    Mountains to climb -

    Substance-abuse problems followed Conaway for decades. He sought help, both publicly and privately, but was been unable to remain clean, perhaps due in part to constant back pain for which he has undergone numerous operations.

    Getty Images / Getty Images

"Vikki Lizzi's lawyers are still in court trying to get her back in there so she can say no to pulling the plug," an inside source told E! News late Thursday.

MORE: This actor was in the hospital with drug problems of his own

Lizzi and Conaway had filed dueling restraining orders after their latest breakup, but it was she who reportedly found him unconscious in his home on May 11. Nonetheless, Conaway's family has gone to court to block her from coming to the Encino, Calif., hospital, where the actor has been in a medically induced coma, due to what his manager said was an apparent overdose of prescription pills.

Dr. Drew Pinsky, who treated Conaway on "Celebrity Rehab," said last week that the 60-year old actor didn't appear to intentionally OD, and his condition was made more grave due to pneumonia and sepsis, a deadly blood infection.

Conaway's family had been keeping vigil at his side, and decided to remove him from life support on Thursday after doctors told them there was no hope for recovery. There have been no updates this morning.

Last year, Conaway spoke to E! News, sounding upbeat while rehabbing from hip surgery, but admitted he was still struggling with addiction.

"I'm not gonna be really happy until I'm drug-free. You can't imagine how badly I want this. I spent a good part of my life on substances, alcohol, pot, cocaine, and I've just had it. I don't want to live in a fantasy world," said Conaway, who copped to being under the influence of painkillers at the time of interview. He said at his worst, he was taking as many as 54 OxyContins a day.

"I didn't come this far to give up," he added. "God didn't bring me this far to drop me."

WATCH NOW: Conaway talks about his demons

0:00
 
0:00
Your video begins in
0:00
TOP