Susan Buckner, Who Played Patty Simcox in ‘Grease,’ Dies at 72

Susan Buckner, an American actor best known for her role as Patty Simcox in the 1978 musical “Grease,” died May 2. She was 72. Her death was confirmed by her publicist.

At the age of 25, Buckner was cast in the role of the Rydell High cheerleader, joining a cast that included John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. As Simcox, Buckner played a solider of school spirit, with an iconic cheer cemented into fans’ minds: “Do the splits, give a yell! Show a little spirit for old Rydell! Way to go, red and white! Go Rydell, fight, fight, fight!”

Buckner continued working as an actor with guest credits across several television shows, including “The Love Boat,” “B.J and the Bear” and “The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries.” She co-starred in the ABC series “When the Whistle Blows.” Among other notable feature credits, Buckner appeared in Wes Craven’s 1981 horror film “Deadly Blessing” opposite Sharon Stone, as well as the 1989 comedy sequel “Police Academy 6: City Under Siege.”

Buckner spent the latter part of her life teaching, directing several children’s theater productions at Pinecrest Elementary School and leading dance classes at Body and Soul Gym in Coral Gables, Fla.

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Born on Jan. 28, 1952 in Seattle, Wash., Buckner was a decorated beauty queen, crowned Miss Washington in 1971 and represented the state in the Miss America pageant the following year. She later became part of Dean Martin’s Golddiggers and would go on to join the all-girl group Fantasy and founded her own music duo, Buckner and Pratt. Buckner also appeared as a dancer on shows like “The Mac Davis Show,” “Sonny and Cher” and the “Telly Savalas Live Touring Show,” as well as performing as a synchronized swimmer on “The Brady Bunch Variety Hour.”

Buckner is survived by her two children, son Adam Josephs and daughter Samantha Mansfield; her four grandchildren; her sister, Linda; her daughter-in-law and son-in-law; and her longtime partner, Al.

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