‘Knots Landing’ star Donna Mills claims Sandy in ‘Grease’ was modeled after her: ‘I found out years later’
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Donna Mills claims she was the inspiration behind Sandy in “Grease.”
The actress, who starred in the “Dallas” spinoff “Knots Landing,” recently took to her Instagram and shared a video of herself dressed up as the character from the 1978 movie, a role made famous by Olivia Newton-John.
In the clip, the 81-year-old claimed she was the “model” for Sandy.
“Does the character Sandy from Grease look similar to me?’” she captioned the post. “Here’s why!”
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“Did you know that I went to school with Jim Jacobs?” Mills said in the video. “Jim Jacobs, who wrote ‘Grease.’ Jim Jacobs, who used me as his model for Sandy. I didn’t know it at the time. But I found out years later. I was the original Sandy.”
In 2010, Jacobs explained to The Buffalo News how he and co-writer Warren Casey came up with the idea for “Grease.”
“We’re sitting around in my apartment in like ’69, and it was some cast party of a show,” Jacobs explained at the time. “Around one in the morning, there were still a few old potheads laying around, passed out on the floor. I was sick and tired of listening to Led Zeppelin or whatever the hell I had on the record player, and I dug out some of my old 45s. That’s the humble beginnings of it.
“I was playing Dion and the Belmonts, Little Richard and the Five Satins, and I said to Warren, ‘Man, wouldn’t that be a gas to do a Broadway show using this kind of music instead of that traditional ‘Brigadoon,’ ‘Oklahoma’ stuff that we all know?'” he added.
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“Grease” tells the tale of two teens in love in the 1950s — Sandy and Danny Zuko (John Travolta). The pair met while on summer vacation and reconnected at the start of the school year when Sandy attends Rydell High as a transfer student. The film also starred Jeff Conaway and Stockard Channing, among others.
In 2019, Newton-John told Fox News Digital she had a blast transforming into “bad” Sandy during filming.
“It was so much fun,” the 73-year-old explained. “I was playing Sandy for quite a while on set, and I got to know her as this sweet little girl in a poodle skirt. But then when I got to try on that bad girl look for shooting, I actually didn’t know what to expect. I just had my hair and makeup done.”
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“I walked on set wearing the costume while John [Travolta] was in the middle of filming a song,” she shared. “The reaction I got was so unexpected. First of all, [the cast] didn’t know who I was. And then I got all of this attention from the guys. I just thought, ‘Oh my goodness! Is this what it takes?’ It was an aha moment, a humorous one. I was playing a character, but it was a lot of fun for me.”