Actress Olivia Newton-John, star of ‘Grease’ musical, dies aged 73
Olivia Newton-John had been battling breast cancer for 30 years. The British-Australian actress, known worldwide for the duo that she formed with John Travolta in the musical greasereleased in 1978, died “peacefully on his ranch in southern California (USA) surrounded by his family and friends”, announced on Monday August 8 her husband, John Easterling, on the account Instagram of Olivia Newton-John. The star was 73 years old.
Olivia Newton-John had to undergo a mastectomy in 1992, then face two recurrences in 2013 and 2017. She put all her energy and her notoriety at the service of the fight against the disease. “Olivia has been a beacon of triumph and hope for 30 years by sharing her experience of breast cancer”wrote her husband, specifying that a fund in his name had been created to finance research on medicinal plants and cancer, the “Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund”.
His partner in greaseJohn Travolta, reacted to his disappearance on his account instagram : “My dearest Olivia, you have made our lives so much better (…) I love you so much. We’ll see you on the road again and we’ll all be together again. I’m yours from the first moment I saw you and forever”he wrote on social networks, signing “Your Danny, your John”.
Born on September 26, 1948 in Cambridge in the United Kingdom, the one Queen Elizabeth II titled “Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire” is the granddaughter of the German physicist Max Born, whose work on the theory quanta are crowned with the Nobel Prize. His father fought in the British forces during the Second World War, participating in the arrest of Rudolf Hess.
“Livvy”, as she is nicknamed, was just five years old when her family moved to the antipodes. Destination Melbourne, Australia. Passionate about music, she won a local singing competition at the age of 16. Her mother pushes her to exploit her talent and they both go back to England.
First singles, first successes. In 1974, I honestly love you is his first title to rank number one in the United States. The same year, she represented Great Britain at Eurovision and finished 4th, losing behind… Abba. Then head for California, where she made a name for herself on the country and western scene. The Anglo-Australian is even consecrated twice “America’s Most Popular Female Singer” and won a Grammy award against Queen Dolly Parton.
John Travolta, crowned with his success in Saturday night feverbreathes his name for grease. Released in 1978, the film was immediately a huge worldwide success. In France, it made 6 million admissions… That is more than The Demoiselles de Rochefort or West Side Story. Everybody’s humming summer nights and You’re the one that I want.
And its finale becomes a myth, with the metamorphosis of Sandy, the blonde and wise schoolgirl, into a femme fatale who appears in the middle of the fairground, cigarette in her mouth, black biker jacket, top with bare shoulders, tight lamé pants and vertiginous heels. .. On a frenzied rhythm, she sways and electrifies Danny (John Travolta), the rebel with the slicked-back banana. The original outfit was sold in 2019 auctioned for… $405,700.
Despite this global success, Olivia Newton-John did not continue her momentum in the cinema for long. She turns with Gene Kelly another musical romance, Xanaduand a new film with John Travolta, two of a kindbut the magic works less.
Apart from a few roles in film and television, she devoted herself mainly to song and to her Californian ranch where she lived surrounded by animals. She released around forty country and pop rock albums – including Physicalhuge success in 1981 – and gave hundreds of concerts around the world.
In her fight against cancer, she had created the Olivia Newton-John Foundation, closely followed the progress of research, multiplied fundraising and was interested in alternative treatments. “I am lucky to be married to a wonderful man who is very knowledgeable about medicinal plants. He grows medicinal cannabis for me”she said in February 2021 in the magazine People.