Following the death on Friday of actor Jeff Conaway, TV veteran Marilu Henner is remembering the close bond she shared with her former co-star.

"He was such a sweetheart," the actress, 59, told People.com. "I've known him since Nov. 28, 1972!"

The late actor, who was 60 when he died this week, first worked with Henner when both were hired as replacement cast members in the original Broadway production of 'Grease,' staged in the early '70s. Conaway played Danny Zuko at the time (the role immortalized by John Travolta in the hit film version, in which Conaway played Kenickie).

"We did 'Grease' together before we did 'Taxi.' We traveled in the national company of 'Grease'... so I was connected to him, and worked with him quite a few times. We were like babies together. And then when he got 'Taxi' it was so great. He always reminded me of my brother Tommy, and I always reminded him of his sister Michelle, so we felt a real familial kind of connection."