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‘Grease’s Stockard Channing Gets Birthday Wishes at 79: Fans Called Her ‘Unrecognizable’ after Partner of 24 Years Di.ed

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Although Stockard Channing is best known for playing Betty Rizzo in the musical “Grease,” she had her start in Off-Broadway plays. The actress started acting in 1969, appearing in lesser-known roles. She only found real success when she was 34 years old.

By the time she got the role of Rizzo, Channing had already been married and divorced twice. In fact, she decided to keep the name Channing after divorcing her first husband, Walter Channing Jr, in 1967. Later, in 1970, she married Paul Schmidt, but the two went their separate ways after only six years.

Channing married David Debin in 1976, but the pair called it quits in 1980. However, it seemed that she would once more see success in the ’80s after acting in “Grease.” Producers finally saw her talent, offering her a role in two shows, “Just Friends” and “The Stockard Channing Show.”

Countless internet users assumed she had tried to make herself look younger with plastic surgery.
Didi Conn, Stockard Channing, and Dinah Manoff in "Grease," | Source: Getty ImagesDidi Conn, Stockard Channing, and Dinah Manoff in “Grease,” | Source: Getty Images

Sadly, neither took off, and she was left back where she started. Channing also met her fourth husband, David Rawle, in 1980, but after eight years together, they divorced. Finally, in 1993, the actress was recognized by the Academy Awards for her role in the film “Six Degrees of Separation.”

She was nominated for Best Actress in 1994, which opened up her path to the silver screen once more. After ’94, Channing had her pick of roles and starred in several successful films. She starred in “To Wong Foo,” “Thanks for Everything!,” “Julie Newmar,” and “Smoke.” She also had several cameos.

Finally, in 1990, she met the man she would be in a relationship with for the longest. Channing and Daniel Gillham were married for more than two decades. Sadly, Gilham passed away in 2014. During this time, Channing’s career kept growing, with multiple appearances in films and TV shows.

Stockard Channing’s Fans Couldn’t Recognize Her: Now She Turns 79
After a memorable career, Channing turns 79 this year. The actress has mainly stayed out of the public eye these last few years, but she appeared on the talk show “Lorraine” in 2017. Following the rare public appearance, the actress was criticized by countless fans saying she looked completely different. One posted:

“Oh my God, what has Rizzo done to herself?”

Countless internet users assumed she had tried to make herself look younger with plastic surgery. Another Tweeted, “Shocked at how Stockard Channing looked on Lorraine. Why do they mess with plastic surgeons ??”

Channing isn’t the only one of the “Grease” cast to have come under public scrutiny.

A plastic surgeon expert speculated that although Channing may have had botox, lip filler, and some other operations, she most likely didn’t have surgery. Nonetheless, fans on Twitter were shocked at her appearance, saying she barely looked like herself. One fan Tweeted:

“My GAWD Stockard Channing has had so much plastic surgery, she’s unrecognizable!”

However, many fans also stood up for Channing, saying she had merely aged. They even rebuked the users who had commented on her looks, implying the comments were ageist. One Twitter user responded to all the negative remarks:

“you sick freak the lady is over 70 years old were you always as ugly as you are now?”

Luckily, some users defended Channing. The plastic surgery expert judged by the lack of wrinkles on Channing’s head and her arched eyebrows that she has had botox injections rather than surgery.

He also mentioned that her full lips could be a sign of lip filler. According to him, if “anti-wrinkle injections” are placed in the wrong spot, it may contribute to the dropping effect that some viewers spotted on Channing.

Despite the controversy over her looks, the star still has friends from her old “Grease” cast. For her 79th birthday, Eddie Deezen made a Facebook post dedicated to Channing. Deezen wished her all the best and complimented her talent, signing off, “I send Stockard all my love and best wishes on her big day. Forever Rizzo.”

Her ‘Grease’ Colleague Eddie Deezen Had a Difficult Fate Due to His Condition
Channing isn’t the only one of the “Grease” cast to have come under public scrutiny. Deezen’s mental health has been failing over the last few years. After allegedly burgling a nursing home in 2022, he has been committed to the Maryland Department of Health to be treated.

Although he initially faced charges of burglary, disturbing the peace, and trespassing, Deezen was ultimately declared unfit to stand trial. He is currently being treated for an undisclosed mental disorder. Deezen was known for portraying Eugene Felsnic in “Grease.”

Similar to National Lampoon actor Randy Quaid, Deezen was arrested on multiple occasions. The most recent was in 2021 for assault after allegedly hurling plates at police officers in a Maryland restaurant. His first offense, however, was for constantly harassing a waitress.

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