The Iconic British-Australian star, Olivia Newton-John sadly died this morning in her California home. She was 73 years old.
Originally hailing from England, Newton-John became a national treasure in Australia, where she emigrated at age six. It was there where she would become a regular on local television shows such as Time for Terry and The Happy Show.
After a string of hit records, one of which earned her the Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Performance, Newton-John went on to represent the UK in the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest with the song “Long Live Love”. She earned 14 points and finished in 4th place. The winners that year were a then unknown band called ABBA.
Already a popular performer in many countries, it would be 1978’s Grease that would catapult into wider fame. In her third film appearance, Newton-John played Australian immigrant Sandy, who falls head-over-hills for John Travolta’s Danny. The movie was a smash-hit, earning $366 million against a $6 million budget, and got Newton-John her first Golden Globe nomination. Although she wasn’t nominated for an OSCAR, she still got to perform “Hopelessly Devoted to You” at the 51st annual ceremony, where it was nominated for Best Original Song.
In 1979, Newton-John was among the names listed in Queen Elizabeth’s New Years Honours list, were she was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for her services to the entertainment industry.
In 1980, she starred in the musical-fantasy Xanadu, which co-starred Gene Kelly in his final film appearance. Although the movie was a box office disappointment and received scathing reviews, it has since become a cult classic and spawned a popular Broadway stage adaptation. Three years later, she was reunited with Grease co-star, John Travolta, in the 20th Century Fox’s Two of a Kind (1983).
Later in life, Newton-John played Amy, a department store mannequin who comes to life in Disney’s A Mom For Christmas, and a two episodes appearance in Fox’s Glee, in which she played a fictionalised version of herself. She was also a guest in an episode of Disney’s Fairytale Weddings in 2018.
First diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992, Newton-John became an ardent advocate for breast cancer research and a spokesperson for the self-breast examination product, Liv-Kit. In 2008, she helped raise funds to build the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre in Melbourne, Australia, and in 2020 she was knighted and made a Dame Commander as part of Queen Elisabeth’s 2020 New Years Honours, for her services to charity, cancer research and entertainment.
Although her breast cancer returned in 2013 and 2017, Newton-John remained an open and active supporter of cancer research and became an advocate for medicinal cannabis.
Olivia Newton-John’s husband, John Easterling, confirmed via his wife’s Instagram that she passed away from the disease on the morning of August 8th, surrounded by her family.
Olivia Newton-John is survived by her husband, daughter, brother and sister, and fifteen nieces and nephews. Mr. Easterling has kindly asked that everyone respect his family’s privacy during this difficult time.
The Disinsider team sends their condolences to Mrs Newton-John’s family and friends.