There are few movies which are as timeless and nostalgic as Grease. The 1978 musical’s enduring popularity is the result of a brilliant storyline, extremely catchy songs, and, of course, the actors and actresses it thrust into the limelight.
Unlike many other movies from the seventies, Grease transcends generations. I watched it for the first time with my mom when I was a kid, and I’ve seen it countless times since then with my friends. There’s no doubt I’ll show it to my kids too.
Grease might have been set in a high school, and whilst it’s easy to delude yourself into thinking that its cast will remain eternally youthful like the characters they played, almost 40 years have passed since it first hit our screens.
Fans’ inability to recognize just how old the movie is became apparent when Stockard Channing, who played the rebellious Betty Rizzo, made a rare appearance on popular British daytime TV show Lorraine this week.
Channing starred in Grease when she was 34 years old. She is now 73, so it was inevitable that she wouldn’t look as fresh-faced as she did then, but fans of the movie were extremely critical of her appearance, claiming that she looked “unrecognizable”.
The actress had been invited onto Lorraine to reminisce about her role in the movie. Whilst Channing appeared in a number of other movies including Practical Magic (1998), she is best known for playing Rizzo in Grease.
When Grease fans took to Twitter to criticize Channing’s appearance, the vast majority of them speculated that she’d had a considerable amount of plastic surgery, resulting in her reportedly unrecognizable appearance.
In an interview with the MailOnline about Channing’s appearance, a MYA surgeon said, “Stockard Channing’s interview this morning has raised some concerns over her remarkably different appearance.”
“We can speculate that this is a result of non-surgical interventions to her face. Her forehead remains smooth at 73 so we can assume she has undergone anti-wrinkle injections (Botox) which would also give the arched shape of her eyebrows.”
“Her lips appear much fuller so it would lead us to believe that she has had lip filler injections to increase their size. The excess skin and fat around her jowls make her mouth look like it has dropped – if anti-wrinkle injections are placed incorrectly, they can cause puffiness and dropping of the skin. These effects should wear off in a few months.”
This is what Grease fans had to say about Channing on Twitter, and their comments were insensitive to say the least.
A representative for Channing has been contacted by the MailOnline about the speculation that she’s had plastic surgery.
Putting her looks to one side, Channing surprisingly revealed in the interview that she has only seen Grease twice, “I saw it when it first opened and then there was a 20th anniversary and I went with a friend of mine and her little girl,” she said.
Channing also told Lorraine that she is still acting, informing the Scottish TV host about her latest role, “I’m now in a play on Broadway,” she revealed. “It’s been a fantastic run, it’s been long, 16 weeks. It’s a great company of people.”
Reflecting on the character of Rizzo, Channing said, “She was vulnerable, I think her appeal was that she’s just a kid.”
So let’s remember that Channing herself might be vulnerable too, especially when it comes to fans mercilessly judging her appearance.
I’m of the opinion that people can do what they want with their bodies, and considering that the vast majority of Twitter users are under 40, they should refrain from judging Channing for her choices, and instead listen to what she had to say about Grease.