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ASPartOfMe
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08 Aug 2022, 4:31 pm

Olivia Newton-John, star of 'Grease' and Grammy winner, dead at age 73

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Olivia Newton-John, singer, actress and philanthropist, died Monday, Aug. 8 at the age of 73 after a long struggle with breast cancer. Newton-John is survived by her husband, John Easterling, who announced the sad news via her official Facebook page, and her daughter, Chloe Lattanzi.

"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," Easterling posted Monday afternoon. "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)."

Beloved by film fans for her performance as Sandy in the 1978 musical Grease, Newton-John initially rose to stardom as a singer, winning two Grammy Awards for her 1974 country single “I Honestly Love You” and scoring the top single of 1982 with her pop hit “Physical.”

A tireless advocate for breast cancer awareness and treatment since her own first diagnosis in 1992, the entertainer was the founder of the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre in her hometown of Melbourne, Australia.

Known for her blond beauty and a sweet, girl-next-door demeanor that hearkened back to a more innocent time, Newton-John was born in Oxford, England, in 1948. When she was 5 years old, she relocated with her parents and two older siblings to Melbourne, where her WWII codebreaker father, Brinley Newton-John, served as the headmaster of Ormond College. (Olivia’s grandfather on her mother Irene’s side was also a professor: Max Born, winner of the 1954 Nobel Prize in Physics.) At the age of 11, Olivia weathered her parents’ difficult divorce, which she would later describe in her song “Changes.”

She began to pursue singing, becoming a regular fixture on local Aussie TV beginning in 1964. At 16, she won a talent contest on the show Sing Sing Sing, receiving the prize of a trip to England. At that point, as she recalled in a 1975 People magazine article, “I had to decide on finishing school or going after stardom. I quit school.”

It was when Newton-John pivoted from folk-rock to country that she became an international star. The twangy title song from her third album, Let Me Be There, released in 1973, went gold in the U.S. and peaked at No. 7 on the country charts. Between 1974 and 1976, the crossover artist would have seven songs land in the Top 10 Country Singles. She received Grammy Awards for “Let Me Be There” and “I Honestly Love You,” the No. 1 single from her next studio album. Her unlikely success as an Australian country star was not without controversy. After Newton-John won the Country Music Association’s 1974 Female Vocalist of the Year Award — beating fellow nominees Dolly Parton, Anne Murray and Loretta Lynn — some CMA members were so furious about a “foreigner” receiving the award that they quit the CMA in protest.

hough she would continue to sing country songs throughout her career, her music had begun to veer more into pop territory. Between 1975 and 1977, she topped the U.S. Adult Contemporary charts seven times with singles such as “Have You Never Been Mellow” (which also reached No. 1 on the pop charts and No. 3 on the country charts), “Please Mr. Please” and “Don’t Stop Believin’” (which predated the Journey song of the same name by five years).

Another kind of fame awaited Newton-John in 1978, when she made her Hollywood film debut as the star of the 1950s-set musical Grease. The role of Sandy, a virginal high school senior who ultimately embraces her wild side, spoke to the star, who’d always wrestled with her own “good girl” image. “The part of Sandy is not too far away from myself in reality,” she told the New York Times before the film opened. Later, her co-stars would recall how much she relished playing the leather-clad, stiletto-heeled Sandy of the film’s final scene. “She looooved it,” Didi Conn, who played Frenchie, told Yahoo Entertainment in 2018. “She was such a goody-goody, you know, not only in the movie but as a major star.” Grease was the highest-grossing film of 1978, and the soundtrack resulted in three of her biggest international singles (two of them duets with co-star John Travolta): “You’re the One That I Want,” “Summer Nights” and “Hopelessly Devoted to You.”

Critics predicted a major film career for the neophyte actress, who was nominated for a Golden Globe for Grease. “She’s a kind of ’70s Debbie Reynolds — and I project for her the same cinematic longevity, if she so chooses,” wrote The Hollywood Reporter’s Arthur Night. Newton-John did not choose. Her next film, 1980’s roller-skating fantasy musical Xanadu, is considered a legendary flop — although again, the singer walked away with several hit songs from the soundtrack, including the No. 1 single “Magic.”

Though Xanadu was a commercial failure, the film’s co-star Gene Kelly introduced Newton-John to her first husband: Matt Lattanzi, a Xanadu dancer 11 years her junior. The couple married in 1984 and had daughter Chloe in 1986. The marriage lasted for 11 years.

At age 33, Newton-John released the most successful solo album of her career, the 1981 pop odyssey Physical. “I just wasn’t in the mood for tender ballads. I wanted peppy stuff because that’s how I’m feeling,” she told People in Feb. 1982. The title track, written by Steve Kipner and Terry Shaddick with Rod Stewart in mind, spent 10 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 100 and showed the wholesome star in a sexy new light. The cheeky music video for “Physical” featured a spandex-clad Newton-John singing provocative lyrics like “There’s nothing left to talk about, unless it’s horizontally,” while doing aerobics (a growing exercise trend in the early 1980s). The video received heavy airplay on the brand-new MTV and won Newton-John a Grammy Award for Video of the Year.

Newton-John released more than a dozen subsequent albums, including greatest-hits collections, but nothing came close to the success of Physical. In the last three decades of her career, the singer began devoting herself to other ventures, including her Koala Blue sportswear boutiques (founded in 1982 and shuttered in 1993); a wine label (launched in 2002 under the Koala Blue name); the Australian luxury hotel Gaia Retreat and Spa (opened in 2005); and a 2011 charity cookbook, Livwise. She also became an environmental activist, serving as the first Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations Environment Program and creating National Tree Day, which has resulted in over 10.5 million trees planted in Australia since 1996.

Highlights of her later performance career include a 2014 Las Vegas residency and two guest appearances on Glee. Newton-John also wrote a memoir, Don’t Stop Believin’, which was published in Australia last September and released in the U.S. on March 19.

In 2005, the singer became involved in a bizarre mystery when her on-and-off boyfriend of nine years, Patrick McDermott, vanished during an overnight fishing trip. None of the 22 other passengers on the boat saw him go overboard. “It was very hard. He was lost at sea, and nobody really knows what happened,” she told Australia’s 60 Minutes in 2016. McDermott’s disappearance became a favorite topic for tabloids, with some writers speculating that he faked his own death to escape his debts (including $8,000 he reportedly owed in child support payments). Reports of McDermott sightings continue to crop up from time to time (including a Nov. 2017 photograph taken in Mexico that turned out to be a Canadian pub owner on vacation).

While cancer had been a part of Newton-John’s life since the 1990s, the actress fought hard for both herself and other survivors (or “thrivers,” in her preferred terminology). She went public with her first diagnosis, for breast cancer, in 1992. Newton-John became a powerful advocate for cancer research, early detection and support for patients and their families. Thanks to her fundraising and awareness efforts, she was able to open the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre in Melbourne, where research, clinical treatment and therapy are conducted alongside one another. “To have a place that supports the people that are going through it and their families is my dream. It's here. And I'm so thrilled,” she told Today in 2017.

Newton-John had a second bout with cancer in 2013, this time in her shoulder, but didn’t share it publicly. Then in May 2017, she announced in an interview on Australian television that she had a tumor at the base of her spine. She postponed a planned tour of the U.S. and Canada in order seek treatment, and said in a statement that she would “be back later in the year, better than ever.” Though she didn’t resume her tour, Newton-John did show up for a Grease 40th anniversary reunion in August and a cancer fundraiser in Melbourne in September.

Still, she chose not to focus on how much time she had left, even as the cancer progressed to the most aggressive stage.

“If somebody tells you, you have six months to live, very possibly you will because you believe that," Newton-John told 60 Minutes Australia in Aug. 2019. “So for me, psychologically, it’s better not to have any idea of what they expect or what the last person that has what you have lived, so I don’t, I don’t tune in.”

The singer instead concentrated on being grateful. “I’m so lucky that I’ve been through this three times and I’m still here,” she said. “I’m living with it. Every day is a gift now, particularly now.”

Newton-John's influence transcended generations and genres, and grew in recent years. In 2018, '90s indie icon Juliana Hatfield released the passion-project covers record Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John


Not a good week for Aussie baby boomer-era singers.










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naturalplastic
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08 Aug 2022, 5:23 pm

Thanks for all the great music ... Ms. "Olivia Neutron Bomb" (as Johnny Fever called her on the sitcom "WKRP in Cincinnati".



ASPartOfMe
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08 Aug 2022, 5:42 pm

John Travolta, celebrities react to Olivia Newton-John’s death

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Upon her death, her family is asking that people donate to the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund instead of sending flowers.

Quickly after the news broke on Monday, John’s “Grease” co-star John Travolta made a statement on his Instagram.
“My dearest Olivia, you made all of our lives so much better,” he captioned a young picture of the starlet.

“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 moment I saw you and forever! Your Danny, your John,” Travolta concluded.

“Grease” director Randal Kleiser told the Hollywood Reporter in a statement that he’s “heartbroken” over the news.

“She was one of a kind, and so very kind. For over four decades of our friendship she exuded nothing but love to everyone she met. Olivia was exactly the way you imagined her. I will miss her forever,” Kleiser said.

Too young to leave this world. May she RIP,” fellow icon Barbra Streisand wrote on Instagram.

“Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007, shared her condolences to the “brave” Newton-John.

Dionne Warwick tweeted her statement.

“Another angelic voice has been added to the Heavenly Choir,” she wrote. “Not only was Olivia a dear friend, but one of the nicest people I had the pleasure of recording and performing with. I will most definitely miss her. She now Rests in the Arms of the Heavenly Father.”

“Rest In Peace dearest Olivia,” tweeted “Lost” actor Titus Welliver.

“Guardians of the Galaxy” filmmaker James Gunn tweeted, “Really sad to hear about the passing of Olivia Newton-John. My first real crush as a kid.”

“I loved Grease & her music & I coincidentally also bought & lived in for a while the wonderful home she built in Malibu. May she Rest In Peace,” he continued.

“My heart is broken,” musician Richard Marx shared on Twitter with four pictures alongside Newton-John.

“ ’Hopelessly devoted to you’ she sang,” journalist Geraldo Rivera added. “Sad to note passing of Olivia Newton John. We met during 2015 Celebrity Apprentice when she fabulously entertained. Wife Erica @elevrivera like many little girls was obsessed with Sandy the role Olivia played opposite John Travolta in Grease,” Rivera concluded.

“We have lost a great, iconic artist in Olivia Newton John, gone too soon from us at age 73, “Star Trek” actor George Takei wrote on Twitter. “I trust she is now in the great Xanadu beyond. Know that we are forever hopelessly devoted to you, Olivia. Rest in song and mirth,” he said.


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08 Aug 2022, 6:16 pm

She passed away way too young.....

Never a big, big fan of her, though I like her.



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08 Aug 2022, 9:12 pm

First Judith Durham now Olivia Newton John.

She has been ill for a long time.
R I P Olivia .



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09 Aug 2022, 12:05 am

the big C sucks big wind, she'd been battling it for 30 years. it finally won. heaven's helluva band just got another member of top rank.



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09 Aug 2022, 12:29 am

I think if you battle cancer for 30 years you've done alright.

We're all going down eventually. I may be close to that place myself.


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09 Aug 2022, 1:00 am

God speed, sweet lady.


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ASPartOfMe
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09 Aug 2022, 4:37 am

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VegetableMan wrote:
I may be close to that place myself.

Why do you say that?


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09 Aug 2022, 9:45 am

Just living to 73 is doing alright .... even today.



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09 Aug 2022, 2:38 pm

Thank you for the music, Olivia.


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ASPartOfMe
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10 Aug 2022, 7:26 am

Olivia Newton-John was ‘skinny,’ in ‘a lot of pain’ before death, niece says

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Olivia Newton-John’s niece says the superstar was “in a lot of pain” and “contracted secondary infections” prior to her death.

The “Grease” legend died Monday morning at her home in Southern California following a long battle with cancer. The 73-year-old was surrounded by loved ones, including her husband, John Easterling, and her daughter, Chloe Lattanzi.

Her Australia-based niece, Tottie Goldmsith, tearfully told news program “A Current Affair” on Tuesday: “It’s not a shock — we’ve known how sick she’s been, especially in the last five days.”

“It wasn’t just the cancer that got her; it was other complications, being in a hospital and with a very susceptible immune system,” she continued. “She got secondary infections. She really went down in the past five, six days.”

Newton-John was an outspoken advocate for using cannabis to help her deal with the chronic pain she experienced during her years-long battle with Stage 4 cancer, but Goldmsith says the drug provided little relief in the end.

“It wasn’t enough,” Goldsmith stated, adding that her aunt “really struggled with a lot of pain.”

The distraught niece also revealed that Newton-John was showing signs of strain when they last saw each other in Australia.

“She was really skinny and unwell and I said to her, ‘Are you afraid of dying?’ and she said, ‘I’m not afraid. I’ve done more in my life that I could have ever imagined.'”

Last February, Newton-John spoke candidly about death on the Australian podcast “A Life of Greatness.”

“We all know we’re going to die, but I think we spend our lives in denial,” she stated. “It’s extremely personal, so it’s hard to put into words.”

She added: “I feel that we are all one thing and I’ve had experiences with spirits and spirit life. I believe there is something that happens.

“I hope the energies of the people you love will be there … I think all the love will be there. I’m sort of looking forward to that, not now, but when it happens.”


Olivia Newton-John tops charts with 7 songs after her death
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Olivia Newton-John fans downloading her music amid news of her passing are so devoted that seven of her songs now occupy the iTunes Top 10 in several countries.

In the US, “Hopelessly Devoted To You” takes the No. 1 spot on the Top Songs chart. “Magic” follows in the No. 2 spot, while Beyoncé and Madonna’s “Break My Soul (The Queens Remix)” interrupts the streak in third place.

Newton-John and John Travolta’s “Grease” duet “You’re The One That I Want” took the No. 4 spot, while Benny Blanco, BTS and Snoop Dogg’s tune “Bad Decisions” comes in at No. 5.

The late actress and pop star’s “Let Me Be There,” “Physical (Remastered 2021),” Have You “Never Been Mellow,” and “Xanadu (feat. Electric Light Orchestra)” occupy spots six through nine.

Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” — which catapulted onto the worldwide charts 37 years after its release, thanks to its feature in “Stranger Things” — rounds out the Top 10.

Additionally, the “Grease” soundtrack tops the iTunes Top Albums chart in the US.

Xanadu (From the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)” take the No. 3 spot on the albums chart, as Newton-John’s “If You Love Me, Let Me Know,” “Physical (Deluxe Edition)” and “Have You Never Been Mellow” also make the chart.

Her songs and albums are also charting on iTunes in the UK and Australia.


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10 Aug 2022, 7:55 am

ASPartOfMe wrote:
Off Topic
VegetableMan wrote:
I may be close to that place myself.

Why do you say that?


I'm dealing with cancer right now.


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kraftiekortie
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10 Aug 2022, 8:37 am

Are you undergoing chemo?



ASPartOfMe
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10 Aug 2022, 10:16 am

VegetableMan wrote:
ASPartOfMe wrote:
Off Topic
VegetableMan wrote:
I may be close to that place myself.

Why do you say that?


I'm dealing with cancer right now.

I am sorry to hear that. I am a cancer survivor myself and while every case is different every case is both difficult and scary.


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“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman


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10 Aug 2022, 10:38 am

please take care Vegetableman...!

have dodged alotta bullits thus far...And if heaven will have me ? I look forward to seeing Olivia
Her music was a big part of my later teenage years. a Lovely long career for Olivia maybe somewhere somehow her music will carry on ,up there . i hope. :mrgreen:


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