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Annette Charles appears in a scene from Grease in 1978 and a photo from her facebook page on the right. - Provided courtesy of Paramount Pictures / facebook

Annette Charles, Cha Cha from 'Grease,' dies at 63

08/04/2011 by Kristina Lopez

Annette Charles, the actress who played Charlene "Cha Cha" Digregorio in the 1978 musical "Grease," has died at the age of 63, OnTheRedCarpet.com has learned.

Charles died on Wednesday night after battling non-smokers lung cancer, her spokesperson said in a statement. She is survived by her mother, husband, sister and nephew.

In the iconic musical film, Charles played the girlfriend of rival Leo "Craterface" and shared a memorable scene with John Travolta as Danny Zuko when their characters won a dance competition.

After the film, Charles appeared in the 1985 movie "Latino" and had a few television roles in "The Incredible Hulk" and "Magnum, P.I."

Born in 1948 as Annette Cardona, she received a masters degree from NYU School of Social Work in 2001.She also served as a part-time professor of speech and communication in the Chicano and Chicana Studies Department at California State University, Northridge since 2000.

"We're numb. We weren't aware of her condition," Dr. David Rodriguez, chair of the department told OnTheRedCarpet.com. "This is a major loss. Annette was very unique."

"She was vivacious, she was serious and a hard worker and we're going to miss her tremendously," he added.

In May, "Grease" cast member Jeff Conaway died after he was taken off life support following a battle with pneumonia and sepsis in a hospital. Conaway played Kenickie, a member of the T-Birds clique and friend to Travolta's Danny.

In the video below, Charles performed a bit of her infamous dance from the film during a "Grease" event at Universal Studios in 2008.

(Copyright ©2014 OnTheRedCarpet.com. All Rights Reserved.)
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