Olivia Newton-John, pop singer and ‘Grace’ star, dies at 73

Olivia Newton-John, who sang some of the biggest hits of the ’70s and ’80s while recasting her image as a virgin neighborhood girl into a spandex-clad vixen — a transformation reflected in miniatures by her starring role in one of the most popular musicals, Grease. In her age – she died Monday on her Southern California ranch. She was 73 years old.

was death announce by her husband, John Easterling, who didn’t give a specific reason in his statement, though he cited a breast cancer diagnosis she’s lived with since 1992. In 2017, she announced that the cancer had come back and spread. She has been for years a prominent advocate for cancer research, setting up a foundation in her name to support it and opening a Research and Wellness Center in Melbourne, Australia. Born in English, raised in Australia.

Mrs. Newton-John collected number one hits, chart-topping albums and four records, selling over two million copies each. More than anything, she was loved, even loved.

In the early phase of her career, Mrs. Newton-John stunned listeners with a loud, soft, lively and warm tone paired amicably with the kind of mid-way swoon that often came in the mid-1970s. Passed to country music.

Its performance on the charts illustrated that blur. It recorded seven Top 10 hits on Billboard’s country chart, two of which hit back-to-back number one in 1974 and 75. First came “I Honestly Love You,” a serious ad co-written by Peter Allen and Jeff Barry, followed by “Have You” Never been Mellow”, a feather for a song written by the producer of several of her major albums, John Farrar.

“I Honestly Love You” also won two of the singer’s four Grammy Awards, a record for this year and Best Female Vocal Performance.

The combination of Mrs. Newton-John’s consistently good-natured music – never a favorite with critics – and the clean, gentle image has caused many writers to compare her to blond starters like Doris day And the Sandra Di. “Innocent, I’m not,” Mrs. Newton-John Tell Rolling Stone in 1978. “People still seem to see me as the girl next door. Doris Day had four husbands,” she said, and yet she was seen as a “virgin.”

The 1978 film entry aimed to put the image of the chaste singer behind her, beginning with the movie Grease. Her character, Sandy, has transformed from a plait yard who is smitten with John Travolta’s bad boy Danny into a super-gum bad girl. “Grease” became one of the highest-grossing musicals of all time, even surpassing “The Sound of Music”. The soundtrack was the second best-selling album of the year, surpassed only by the soundtrack for “Saturday Night Fever,” which also starred Mr. Travolta.

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The soundtrack for “Grease” spawned two number one songs, both sung by co-stars, including the racy, lively “You’re The One I Want” song “Summer Nights.” A ballad sung by Mrs. Newton-John on her own, “Hopelessly Devoted to You,” earned the film’s only Oscar nomination, for Best Original Song.

Applying the evolution of the “Grease” character to her singing career, Ms. Newton-John released the title of her next album, Totally Hot, presenting herself on the shoulder-to-toe leather cover. The album, released at the end of 1978, went platinum, resulting in the rock-oriented song “A Little More Love” with the phrase “Where Did My Innocence Go?”

The album featured Mrs. Newton-John singing somewhat stronger. Although her sales declined as the 1970s turned into the 1980s, early in the decade she began the most commercially viable period of her career, culminating with the single “Physical,” which spent 10 weeks at the top of the Billboard. Later, the magazine declared it the biggest hit of the 80s.

Olivia Newton-John was born on September 26, 1948 in Cambridge, England, the youngest of three children Brinley and Irene (born) Newton John. Her mother was the daughter of a Nobel Prize-winning physicist Max Born. Her Welsh-born father was an MI5 intelligence officer during World War II and later served as Principal of Cambridgeshire Boys’ High School.

When Mrs. Newton-John was six years old, her family emigrated to Melbourne, Australia, where her father worked as a university professor and director. At the age of 14, she formed her first group, Sol Four, with three girls from the school. Her beauty and self-confidence soon earned her solo performances on local radio and TV shows under the name “Lovely Livvy”. quickly!! Show “She met singer Pat Carroll, with whom she would form a duet, as well as her final producer, Mr. Farrar, who would later marry Mrs. Carroll.

Mrs. Newton-John won a local television talent contest, the prize for which was a trip to Britain. While there, she recorded her first single, “Til You Say You Say You Be Mine”, which was released by Decca Records in 1966.

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After Mrs. Carroll moved to London, she and Mrs. Newton-John formed the duo Pat and Olivia, who toured Europe. When Mrs. Carroll’s visa expired, forcing her to return to Australia, Mrs. Newton-John remained in London to work on her own.

In 1970, she was asked to join a crudely manufactured group called Toomorrow, which was formed by the American producer Don Kirchner trying to replicate his previous success with the Monkees. After his big determination, the group starred in a science fiction movie he wrote for them and recorded the soundtrack. Both projects are tanks.

“It was horrible, and I was horrible at it,” she later told the New York Times.

Her debut solo album, If Not For You, was released in 1971, titled as a cover of Bob Dylan’s song.

After some failures in the United States, Mrs. Newton-John released the album “Let Me Be There” (1973), which led to a Grammy win for Best Female Vocal Performance.

Two major changes in pop music fueled her career in that decade: the rise of “soft rock” as a response to the more difficult genres of the late 1960s, and the popularization – some might say – eunuch – country music, also epitomized by such stars as John Denver and Ann Murray. .

The latter trend became a problem in 1974, after Mrs. Newton-John was named Female Vocalist of the Year by the Country Music Association over more traditional stars such as Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton. The protests led to the formation of a transnational association of country artists. However, after Mrs. Newton-John recorded her album Don’t Stop Believing in Nashville in 1976, the friction subsided.

The second phase of her career, which began with “Grease”, met with further success with a duet with Andy Gibb titled “I Can’t Help It”, followed by an attempt to expand her acting career with the musical “Xanadu, 1980” with Gene Kelly. While the film faltered, the soundtrack turned double platinum, boasting songs like “Magic” (which held #1 on Billboard for four weeks) and the lead single, recorded with Electric Light Orchestra.

The campy Broadway show based on the film opened in 2007 to some success.

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Mrs. Newton-John’s “Physical” also produced the first video album to hit the market, with clips for all of the album’s tracks. “Physical Olivia” won a Grammy Award in 1982 for Video of the Year.

She was paired again with Mr. Travolta in the 1983 film ‘Two of a Kind’, in an attempt to replicate the success of ‘Grease’. But the film disappointed even after the soundtrack proved popular, especially the song “Twist of Fate.”

Lady Newton-John was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1979.

By the mid-1980s, her profession was cold. For several years, she cut back from work to care for her daughter, Chloe Rose, who was living with her husband at the time, actor Matt Latanzi. They had met on the set of “Xanadu” and got married in 1984; They divorced in 1995.

That same year, she met Patrick McDermott, a photographer whom she dated, occasionally, for the next nine years. In 2005, Mr. McDermott disappeared while fishing off the coast of California. Three years later, a US Coast Guard investigation said evidence indicated Mr. McDermott had gone missing at sea.

In 2008, Mrs. Newton-John married Mr. Easterling, founder of Amazon Herb.

In addition to her husband, she is survived by her daughter Chloe Rose Latanzi. her sister, Sarah Newton-John; and her brother Toby.

After learning that she had breast cancer in 1992, Mrs. Newton-John became a strong advocate for research into the disease. The Olivia Newton-John Foundation fund was dedicated to researching plant-based cures for cancer, and unlocked cancer Research and Wellness Facility Under her name at Austin Hospital outside Melbourne.

Despite her own treatments, she continued to release albums and tours but failed to make headway on the charts. She continued to act in films and television.

In May 2017, she revealed that her cancer had returned and that it had spread to her lower back. She published her memoir, “Don’t Stop Believing” in 2018.

Until the end, Mrs. Newton-John was a firm believer in her friendly approach to music. “It annoys me when people think because it’s commercial, it’s a bad thing,” she told Rolling Stone. “It’s just the opposite. If people like it, that’s what it’s supposed to be.”

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