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Pop culture icon Olivia Newton-John died Monday at the age of 73, according to her family who posted on her official social media pages.
“Dame Olivia Newton-John passed away peacefully at her Ranch in Southern California this morning, surrounded by family and friends,” wrote the statement.
“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.”
Remembering Olivia Newton-John
From the late 1970s to the early 1980s, Olivia Newton-John was among the most famous celebrities in the world.
Her role as Sandy on Grease cemented her legacy, with songs like Physical becoming the No. 1 single of the decade.
In her five-decade career, she has sold over 100 million records.
Although known for her musical talent and her performance of Grease, Olivia Newton-John made waves by attracting people’s attention to cancer — this topic has largely gone unnoticed in Hollywood.
She received her first diagnosis in 1992.
Since then, Newton-John has been a strong advocate for breast cancer survivors.
“I think, you know, what you think creates your reality. So it’s a decision. You have to make that decision,” the singer said in 2019.
“You can be a victim, or you can be a winner and enjoy your life.”
Although born in England, Olivia Newton-John and her family would later move to Australia, where she participated in a TV talent show.
She would also form a girl group and start a pop duo with her friend Pat Caroll.
It wasn’t until she embarked on a solo career that Newton-John made her breakthrough.
In 1973, the singer earned her first Grammy Award,
Director Randal Kleiser quickly realized that he wanted Olivia Newton-John to take on the role of Sandy.
Although her singing talent was already known, her acting left some worries.
“Olivia Newton-John was our first choice for the part of Sandy, but she had a few concerns,” he recalled.
“She had had a bad experience on an English film and didn’t want to repeat it.”
“At 29 years old, she wasn’t sure she would look the part of a 17-year-old and wanted to make sure she and John looked like they could be contemporaries,” Kleiser added.
“He was a bit younger (at 23). She asked to have a screen test so she could see how she would come across and feel how the chemistry would be between she and John and myself.”
The tests were successful, as can be seen today.
“She embodied the character in the beginning of the film, and we all hoped she could pull off the sexy vixen at the end,” said Kleiser.
“We couldn’t have been more thrilled by the final result.”
After her success with Grease, Newton-John could not replicate the same level of success.
However, in the early 1980s, he saw her thrive in the music business.
In 1981, his song “Physical” became the decade’s biggest hit and topped the Billboard Hot 100 for weeks. advocacy
In 1991, Newton-John became involved in cancer research.
His determination came after the death of his best friend’s daughter from a rare form of the disease in infancy.
Newton-John’s involvement became even more personal after she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
While she went into remission, the cancer returned in 2013 and 2017.
On Monday afternoon, many celebrities paid tribute to Olivia Newton-John. John Travolta posted on Instagram and wrote:
“My dearest Olivia, you made all of our lives so much better. Your impact was incredible. I love you so much. We will see you down the road and we will all be together again. Yours from the first moment I saw you and forever! Your Danny, your John!”
“I don’t know if I’ve known a lovelier human being,” Grease co-star Stockard Channing wrote.
“Olivia was the essence of summer – her sunniness, her warmth, and her grace are what always come to mind when I think of her. I will miss her enormously.”
Another pop culture icon of the 1970s and 1980s, actress Suzanne Somers released a statement saying:
“There is a sisterhood that grows larger every year. It’s a sisterhood you never want to join, but when allowed entry, you find great comfort with other sisters.”
“Olivia provided great comfort for me when diagnosed 25 years ago. Her fight was my fight, as she won, I won,” Somers continued.
“She taught all of us so much through her bravery and “never give up” philosophy. We got strength through Olivia and her example of life.”
“As a 70’s icon, she lived a full life. I loved her, and I will miss my “sister” forever.”