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“Grease” actress, social worker Annette Charles dies

Annette Charles and John Travolta in dancing scene from "Grease." Photo courtesy of Us Magazine.

Annette Charles, 63, the actress who played Charlene “Cha Cha” Digregorio in the hit 1978 musical “Grease” and went on to earn a master’s degree in social work, has died from cancer, according to this article in

Annette Charles

“Grease” starred John Travolta as Danny Zuko and Olivia Newton John as his love interest Sandy Olsen.

Charles played the girlfriend of Leo “Craterface” (actor Dennis Stewart), who came from a rival gang. She was also in a memorable scene where she won a high school dance contest with John Travolta while an upset Olivia Newton John looks on.

Charles got other acting roles in the 1970s and 80s, including guest spots on Magnum P.I. and the Incredible Hulk.

After leaving acting she earned a master’s degree from the New York University School of Social Work in 2001. Charles, who was born Annette Cardona, was also a part-time professor of speech and communication in the Chicano and Chicana Studies Department at California State University, Northridge.

To watch Charles’ dance scene with Travolta from “Grease” on Youtube, click here.


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  1. She was one of my favorites in Grease. She was an amazing actress and an inspiring Social Worker. RIP Annette and my condolences to her family.

  2. Not Cha Cha Degregorio? What a talented beautiful woman! Sad to hear…

  3. So sad. But i am sure the work she’s done and the people she touched will live on forever.

  4. While doing some aimless Web surfing I came across this article; I was fascinated as I work in health care and my fiancee is a social worker. I recall her character’s saucy personality and terrific dance moves and am saddened that only now I found out about her other, quite honorable, accomplishments in life. RIP Ms. Charles; you were a fine performer but an even better human being.


  1. DiscoverNet | You Probably Don’t Know How Old The Cast Of Grease Was During Filming

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