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Posted at 07:34 PM ET, 08/04/2011

Annette Charles, Cha Cha from ‘Grease,’ has died

Annette Charles — the raven-haired actress best known for playing Cha Cha DiGrigorio in the 1978 movie “Grease” — has died at the age of 63.

According to Access Hollywood, Charles’s mother, Mary Cardona, confirmed that Charles passed away Wednesday after spending a month in the hospital. The former actress, who left her Hollywood career behind to become a speech professor at California State University Northridge, had an unidentified form of cancer, but was initially hospitalized because she had pneumonia.

In addition to “Grease,” Charles guest starred on numerous TV shows during the 1970s and early ‘80s, including “Barnaby Jones,” “The Bionic Woman” and “Magnum, P.I.” But it was her role as Cha Cha — the self-described “best dancer at St. Bernadette’s” who also had, according to Frenchie, “the worst reputation” — that won her a permanent fixture in pop culture lore.

Sadly, Charles’s death comes roughly two months after the death of Jeff Conaway, who also starred in “Grease” as Kenickie, Cha Cha’s date to the film’s climactic school dance. Watch her strut her stuff in the video (via The Hollywood Reporter) below.

By  |  07:34 PM ET, 08/04/2011

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