Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Olivia Newton- John: singer and actress dies at 73

Olivia Newton-John, a British Australian pop star who dominated the pop culture of an era, has died after repeated treatments for cancer, her family announced Monday. She was 73.
She was a four-time Grammy Award winner whose music career included five number one hits and another ten Top Ten.
Newton-John was born in Cambridge, England, on September 26, 1948 to a father, Brin, who was both a WWII hero with British military intelligence and a professor of German literature, and a mother, Irene, whose own father, physicist Max Born, would win a Nobel Prize six years later.
“Dame Olivia Newton-John … passed away peacefully at her Ranch in Southern California this morning, surrounded by family and friends,” John Easterling, her husband, said in a statement on her official Facebook page.
By the time she was 15, she had formed an all-girl group and later partnered with her friend Pat Carroll for the pop duo Pat & Olivia.
As a solo artist, starting in 1966, Newton-John became a global superstar after moving to the United States. She was blond, blue-eyed, and brimming with wholesomeness when she had her first hit in 1971 with “If Not for You” — a Bob Dylan song that also had been recorded by George Harrison. It would be followed in the next few years by “Let Me Be There,” which won her a Grammy for best female country vocal performance, “If You Love Me (Let Me Know)” and two No. 1 songs, “Have You Never Been Mellow” and “I Honestly Love You.” The latter song won Grammys for best female pop performance and record of the year.
In the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, Newton-John was one of the most recognizable celebrities in the world. She stole hearts in the 1978 blockbuster “Grease” and dominated the charts with songs like the 1981 hit “Physical,” which was the No. 1 single of that decade, according to Billboard.
She is credited with selling more than 100 million records over the course of a five-decade career.
Newton-John also beat out country stars Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton to win the Country Music Association’s female singer of the year award in 1974. The unlikely success of an Australian in American country music bothered many Nashville purists.
In more recent years, however, Newton-John became best known as an advocate for breast cancer survivors, being one herself since first her first diagnosis in 1992.
Newton-John began to become an advocate for cancer research in 1991, after the tragic death of her best friend’s daughter from a rare childhood form of the disease. But it became an even more personal cause a year later, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer for the first 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.”
On her conviction she said “I think, you know, what you think creates your reality. So it’s a decision. You have to make that decision,” she told the “TODAY” show in March 2019. “You can be a victim, or you can be a winner and enjoy your life.”
John Travolta paid tribute to his “Grease” costar on Instagram.
“My dearest Olivia, you made all of our lives so much better,” wrote Travolta, who played Danny Zuko opposite Newton-John’s Sandy Olsson. “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!”
Actor Suzanne Somers, herself a ‘70s and ‘80s pop culture fixture, praised Newton-John for helping her through her own cancer diagnosis.
The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund.