Olivia Newton-John dies at 73
Australian actress and singer Olivia Newton-John, star of the film “Grease”, has died at the age of 73, her husband announced on Monday in a statement posted on social networks.
• Read also: 6 things you didn’t know about Olivia Newton-John
The actress, who also had British nationality, “passed away peacefully on her ranch in Southern California this morning, surrounded by her family and friends,” said John Easterling in the press release. She had been battling breast cancer for 30 years.
Lacquered hair and leather jackets, Olivia Newton-John had made herself world famous by playing 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 in a statement.
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 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 breast cancer experience,” her husband wrote, adding that a fund in her name had been set up to fund research on plants. Medicines and Cancer, the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund.
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” was his first song to reach 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 “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”, blows 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 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 at auction for … 405,700 dollars.
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, “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”, a huge success in 1981 – and gave hundreds of concerts across the planet.
In her fight against cancer, she had created the Olivia Newton-John Foundation, closely 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.