Former Sha Na Na Member Dennis Greene, 66, Passes
September 14, 2015 at 11:59 AM (PT)
DENNIS GREENE, an original member of the '50s cover band SHA NA NA, which played WOODSTOCK, died from esophageal cancer in a DAYTON, OH hospital earlier this month at the age of 66, according to ROLLINGOUT.COM.
GREENE was one of the founders of the novelty doo-wop group, which formed in 1969 as part of a COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY a cappella group THE KINGSMAN, before branching off and changing their name in tribute to the syllables sung by the SILHOUETTES in their 1967 song, "Get A Job."
SHA NA NA gained popularity after performing at the 1969 WOODSTOCK FESTIVAL right before JIMI HENDRIX's finale. Their appearance in the film helped launch the 1950s nostalgia crazy that included the BROADWAY musical "Grease" and the TV series “Happy Days.”
The notoriety helped them land a spot in the film adaptation of "Grease" playing JOHNNY CASINO AND THE GAMBLERS. SHA NA NA also had a network variety show from 1977 to 1981.
Greene left the group in 1984 to continue his education, receiving his master’s degree from HARVARD and a law degree from YALE. “We were successful for 15 years, but once you realize you’ve had a good run, you have to make the transition to something with potential for longevity,” he once said of his departure from the group.
GREENE later became an executive at COLUMBIA PICTURES, where he worked on SPIKE LEE's "School Daze," then started his own production company, LENOX/GREENE FILMS. He then became a law professor, teaching at FLORIDA A&M, the UNIVERSITY OF OREGON, OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY and, most recently, the UNIVERSITY OF DAYTON, until his death.
“DR. GREENE was a beloved and highly respected member of the campus community and our prayers go out to his family, friends, colleagues and students,” the UNIVERSITY OF DAYTON said in a statement, according to ROLLING STONE.
His memorial service will be open to the public and will take place at IMMACULATE CONCEPTION MONASTERY CHURCH in JAMAICA ESTATES, N.Y., on SEPTEMBER 19th at 10a (ET). His family is accepting donations for the DENNIS GREENE MEMORIAL FUND.