Susan Buckner, ‘Grease’ Actress and Miss America Finalist, Dies at 72

The actress was best known for playing cheerleader Patty Simcox alongside Olivia Newton-John in the classic movie musical

Jamie Donnelly, Olivia Newton-John and Susan Buckner in "Grease"
Jamie Donnelly, Olivia Newton-John and Susan Buckner in "Grease" (Credit: Paramount Pictures)

Susan Buckner, best known for playing student cheerleader Patty Simcox in the hit teen musical “Grease,” has died. She was 72.

The former actress and beauty queen “died peacefully on May 2 surrounded by loved ones,” Buckner’s Miami-area family publicist Melissa Berthier said in a statement to media. No cause of death was shared.

In a statement to People, Buckner’s daughter Samantha Mansfield said, “The light she brought into every room will be missed forever.” Buckner died in their family home in Florida.

The actress was born on Jan. 28, 1952 in Seattle, Washington, where before she made her jump into acting, she stunned on the stage in beauty pageants, taking home the crown for Miss Washington in 1971. She then went on to become a top 10 Miss America 1972 finalist.

Her first entry into acting was on “The Dean Martin Show” as a performer in the all-female singing and dancing group “The Golddiggers.”A few years later, she rocked on as a cast member in the hit musical film “Grease,” starring alongside John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. Her other credits include “The Krofftettes,” “Police Academy 6: City Under Siege,” “The Mac Davis Show,” “The Brady Bunch Variety Hour” “The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries” and her final acting gig, “1 vs 100.”

In her departure from acting, she took the time to focus on parenting her two children. She never quite went back to the world of acting, but she did transition into teaching the craft at a Florida elementary school and was also a dance instructor in the Florida city Carol Gables.

She is survived by Mansfield, her son Adam Josephs and her grandchildren Oliver Riley, Abigail and Ruby. Her other familial survivors include her sister Linda, her daughter-in-law Noel Josephs, son-in-law Adam Mansfield and her partner Al. In honor of Buckner, her family has requested for donations to be made to Miami’s Fairchild Botanic Garden.

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