Olivia Newton-John 1948 – 2022

The singer-songwriter and actress who starred in ‘Grease,’ has died at age 73.

By Andy Kahn Aug 8, 2022 1:59 pm PDT

Olivia Newton-John, the Australian singer-songwriter and actress who starred in the feature film Grease, has died at age 73. Her death was confirmed in a message shared by her husband, John Easterling.

Easterling’s message stated:

Dame Olivia Newton-John (73) passed away peacefully at her Ranch in Southern California this morning, surrounded by family and friends. We ask that everyone please respect the family’s privacy during this very difficult time.

Olivia has been a symbol of triumphs and hope for over 30 years sharing her journey with breast cancer. Her healing inspiration and pioneering experience with plant medicine continues with the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund, dedicated to researching plant medicine and cancer. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that any donations be made in her memory to the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund (ONJFoundationFund.org).

Olivia Newton-John was born on September 26, 1948, in Cambridge, England. At age 5, she and her family moved to Melbourne, Australia. As a teen, she formed the group Sol 4 and began appearing on Australian television. With Pat Carroll, she formed the short-lived duo Pat & Olivia and released her first single, “Till You Say You’ll Be Mine,” in 1966. A cover of Bob Dylan’s “If Not For You” was released in 1971.

Newton-John’s first album released in the United States was 1973’s Let Me Be There, whose title track proved to be the first of many Top 10 hits. Her two subsequent albums, 1974’s If You Love Me, Let Me Know and 1975’s Have You Never Been Mellow each topped the Billboard 200 Albums chart.

In 1978, Newton-John co-starred alongside John Travolta in the film adaptation of Grease. She contributed to the widely popular soundtrack on such well-known songs as “Hopelessly Devoted To You,” “You’re The One That I Want” and “Summer Nights.” Newton-John’s portrayal of Sandy in Grease earned her a Golden Globe nomination. She later appeared in such feature films as Xanadu, Two Of A Kind and It’s My Party, among others.

With the 1981 release of Newton-John’s album Physical and its mega-hit title track, she further became a global superstar. “Physical” the song spent 10 weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, tying a record at the time.

Newton-John continued acting and recording music over the subsequent decades. In the 1980s she became an outspoken advocate for environmental issues.

In 1992 she was diagnosed with breast cancer. For the remainder of her life, Newton-John worked extensively with breast cancer research organizations and others that support survivors and patients. She received treatment for breast cancer a second time, in 2017, and in 2018 revealed a diagnosis of cancer of her spine.

According to her website, having sold over 100 million albums, among Olivia Newton-John’s accolades includes:

[F]our Grammy Awards, numerous Country Music, American Music and Peoples Choice Awards, 10 #1 hits including “Physical,” (which topped the charts for ten consecutive weeks making it the #1 single of the ‘80s), and over 15 top 10 singles. In November 2015, Billboard Magazine listed “Physical” at #8 on their “Top 100 Songs Of All Time” list and in 2010 listed it as “The Sexiest Song of All Time.” In addition, in 2015 Olivia was ranked #20 on Billboard’s “Greatest of All Time Hot 100 Artists” and most recently was ranked #7 on Billboard’s “Greatest Of All Time Hot 100 Women Artists.”

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