Frankie Avalon Almost Passed on “Grease” Role Because of Elvis Presley Similarities: 'I Don't Do Gyrations'

Frankie Avalon played the Teen Angel in 1978's movie musical 'Grease' and memorably sang "Beauty School Dropout"

<p>Tibrina Hobson/WireImage; CBS/Getty</p> Frankie Avalon in 1978

Tibrina Hobson/WireImage; CBS/Getty

Frankie Avalon in 1978's 'Grease'

Frankie Avalon almost didn't take part in Grease.

When Avalon, 83, appeared on the latest episode of the Our Way with Paul Anka and Skip Bronson podcast, the actor and singer reflected on how he landed his iconic part in the 1978 movie musical, in which he memorably sings the number "Beauty School Dropout" to Didi Conn's character Frenchy.

During the podcast, Avalon recalled that he first saw Grease the musical on Broadway in the early 1970s as part of a publicity effort for a run of shows he was performing at New York City's Copacabana night club.

"A few years later, I'm playing golf at a club where I belong and my manager is waiting for me after nine holes," he said. "He says, 'Frankie, I got a script here from Paramount. They want you for this picture.' "

Avalon, who rose to fame as a recording artist in the late 1950s, said when his manager told him Paramount wanted him to play "Teen Angel," he immediately passed on the request. He said he later agreed to meet with the film's production team and told them he was concerned the character was depicted too similarly to Elvis Presley for him to take the role.

Related: Grease Cast: Where Are They Now?

<p>Paramount/Getty</p> Frankie Avalon, Stockard Channing and Didi Conn in 1978's Grease


Frankie Avalon, Stockard Channing and Didi Conn in 1978's Grease

"I say, 'Well, because I saw the play and the character Teen Angel is all in black and he's got long sideburns — it’s Elvis. I'm not Elvis. I got my own style. I don't sing like that. I don't do gyrations,' " Avalon recalled.

"They said, 'Would you do it if we changed it?' I said, 'What do you mean change it?' " he added, noting that the production team quickly agreed to dress Avalon and the scene in white to differentiate it from the Broadway show.

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer​​, from celebrity news to compelling human interest stories. 

"We started working on the thing. That's how I did the picture. I said, 'Okay, I'll do it.' If you saw the play, that's how Teen Angel was," Avalon said. "The original character was not my style."

Related: Who Is Frankie Avalon's Wife? All About Kathryn Diebel

<p>CBS/Getty</p> Frankie Avalon (center) in 1978's Grease


Frankie Avalon (center) in 1978's Grease

Avalon wound up playing that small but memorable in Grease, which starred Olivia Newton-John,John Travolta and Stockard Channing, among others.

"Of all the films that I’ve made, I think the only film that has been outstanding in this world is Grease," Avalon said during his podcast appearance. "Huge all over the world. 'Beautiful School Dropout' and me coming down the stairs — around the world, they know that."

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.