‘Grease’ star Olivia Newton-John dies aged 73
Actress Olivia Newton-John, star of the movie “Grease”, has died at the age of 73, her husband announced in a statement posted on social media on Monday.
The actress, who also had British nationality, is ” passed away peacefully at his ranch in Southern California this morning, surrounded by family and friends,” John Easterling said in the statement. She had been fighting for 30 years against a breast cancer.
Lacquered hair and leather jackets, Olivia Newton-John had become world famous by embodying Sandy in the cult musical “Grease“, alongside John Travolta. “My dear Olivia, you have made our lives better. Your influence has been incredible. I love you so much,” the “Pulp Fiction” actor responded.
Since the cancer had fallen on her in her forties – breast cancer and mastectomy in 1992 then two recurrences in 2013 and 2017, with metastases – the star put all her energy and notoriety at the service of the disease control.
“Olivia has been a beacon of triumph and hope for 30 years by sharing her breast cancer experience,” her husband wrote, noting that a fund in his name had been created to finance research on medicinal plants and cancer, the “Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund”.
“She was and will always be an inspiration to me in so many different ways,” Australian singer Kylie Minogue wrote on Monday.
“You’re the one that I want”
Born on September 26, 1948 in Cambridge in the United Kingdom, the one that Queen Elizabeth II titled ” Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire is the granddaughter of German physicist Max Born, whose work on quantum theory won 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, bowing 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 “the most popular singer in the United States” twice and wins a Grammy award against Queen Dolly Parton.
John Travolta, crowned with his success in “Saturday Night Fever”, breathes his name for ” grease“. Released in 1978, the film was immediately a huge worldwide success. In France, it has 6 million admissions… More than “Les Demoiselles de Rochefort” or “West Side Story”! Everyone hums “Summer nights” and “You’re the one that I want”.
And its end becomes a myth, with the metamorphosis of Sandy, the blonde and wise high school student, into a femme fatale who appears in the middle of the fairground, cigarette in her mouth, black biker jacket, bare-shouldered top, tight lamé pants and vertiginous heels… At a furious pace, she sways and electrifies Danny (John Travolta), the rebel with the slicked-back banana. The original outfit was sold in 2019 at auction for… 405,700 dollars.
Despite this planetary success, Olivia Newton-John has not not continued for long on its momentum in the cinema. She shoots with Gene Kelly another musical romance, “Xanadu”, and a new film with John Travolta, “Two of a kind”, but 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 ” Physical“, enormous success in 1981 – and gives hundreds of concerts around the planet.
In her fight against cancer, she had created the Olivia Newton-John Foundationclosely followed the progress of research, increased 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 People magazine.