Frenchy from ‘Grease’ Turned 72 – After Caring for Her Autistic Son, He First Said ‘I Love You’ at Age 26

Frenchy from ‘Grease’ Turned 72 – After Caring for Her Autistic Son, He First Said ‘I Love You’ at Age 26

Didi Conn became a star after starring in the 1978 film, “Grease.”She married David Shire, and they welcomed a son named Daniel Shire.Daniel was diagnosed with autism at a young age, and this made his mother become overly protective of him. She turned down jobs to avoid leaving him alone.

Hollywood veteran Didi Conn became a household name after starring in the 1978 movie, “Grease” as Frenchy. However, she had been an actress years before.Conn also appeared in the sequel of the classic film “Grease 2” and has continued to grace the screens since the hit movie franchise debuted over four decades ago.

After the films, she landed cameo roles in popular television shows, including “The Love Boat” and “L.A Law.” In addition, she has done voice work and appeared in the 2002 movie, “Frida.”

Conn has been married twice. Her first marriage was to Frankie Conn, whom she wed in 1975 and divorced in 1978 after being married for three years.She later tied the knot for the second time to songwriter David Shire in 1982. The couple welcomed their son Daniel Shire several years later, in 1992.

After their child celebrated his second birthday, he began to have problems. Conn penned a piece for CNN in 2009 detailing what occurred from that point onwards:

“He started to have increasingly lengthy and violent tantrums, usually initiated by his extraordinary sensitivity to sound. […] He would begin to scream, hold his ears and throw himself down on the ground.”Conn and her husband took their son to a pediatrician who did not seem concerned about the child’s erratic behavior and provided a routine hearing test for him instead. He told his parents:

“He’s 2, you’ve heard of the “terrible 2s.”The mother of one explained that it was during 1994 and that obvious signs of autism were not common then and were less publicized.

Months later, their son’s behavior escalated when he woke up two or three times in the middle of the night, screaming. This continued for hours on end, and she and David could not do anything about it. Conn further revealed this about her child:

“Since Danny was so sensitive to sound, he began to stop responding to us as a way of protecting himself from the pain.”Daniel Said “I Love You” to His Mom for the First Time at Age 26 Conn disclosed that she and David took Daniel to Dr. Isabelle Rapin, who initially diagnosed him with PDDNOS: Persuasive Development Disorder Not Otherwise Specified.

The couple discovered that “autism” was an umbrella term for five spectrum disorders. Following three more visits with Dr. Rapin, Daniel was officially diagnosed as a “high-functioning child on the autism spectrum.”She recommended that his parents take him to The Therapeutic Nursery at the Jewish Community Center on the Palisades in Tenafly, New Jersey. Conn expressed how she handled the news:

“I became the Queen of Denial. I wouldn’t believe there was something ‘wrong’ with my son.”

Daniel’s habit of waking up multiple times throughout the night persisted for 12 years. His mother said she knew she had to pull herself together to keep him safe.

However, the opposite happened. She said Daniel’s diagnosis stunned her to the point where she started “shrinking, hiding, disappearing, guilty and overprotective.”Conn turned down job opportunities and refused to leave her son alone. She feared he would do something drastic without supervision, like setting the house on fire. With her child’s experience, she learned that early intervention with the right therapy and family support could go a long way in helping a child reach their full potential.

“[…] One of the blessings of having an autistic child is that you notice every little achievement, and it becomes cause for celebration,” said Conn. One time, when conversing with another mother whose child was also disabled, she told her the best thing to do in their situation is to do everything they can without expecting any results.

In January 2019, Conn shared the most significant breakthrough of her son Daniel who was 26 years old then. For the first time in his life, he said to her, “I love you.”Conn explained she was on her way to catch a flight to the UK when he said it on the phone, and she asked him to repeat it, and he did. As she cried over the phone, he asked her why she was crying, and she told him it was tears of joy. She expressed.

“It was the biggest milestone, it really was. […] It really was something special to hear.”

Conn Is Now 72 – She Rushed to Be at Her Husband’s Side When He Was Ill Following years of caring for her son Daniel, Conn decided to get back to work and signed up for the reality show “Dancing on Ice” in December 2018. She was 67 then and said she wanted to take on a new challenge after Daniel moved to a farm where he worked.

The proud parent was set to debut on the show in January 2019 when she expressed that now being solely focused on herself, she needed to rediscover who she was apart from being a mom.However, during the competition, Conn lost out in the skate-off against her competitor Saara Aalto the same month she made her debut and exited the show.

She immediately left for the US to be by her husband David’s hospital bedside. The film star’s fans were reportedly saddened by her departure from the show.Conn and David have been married for four decades, and she decided to put him first amid his health issues. The New York native recently turned 72 and still makes time for her beloved fans. Conn attended the Summer Lovin’ 45th Anniversary Celebration of “Grease,” where original cast members were also present.

A fan posted several photos from the event featuring her and Conn and captioned it: “Met Didi Conn aka Frenchy from ‘Grease’ and OMGeee! She let me wear her iconic Pink Ladies jacket!” alongside pictures of them two beaming.


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