Olivia Newton-John: Beloved Wife, Mother, and Sandy to the World in Grease

Olivia Newton-John, known for her roles in films such as Grease and Xanadu died, at the age of 73 on August 8.

Singer-actress Olivia Newton-John, known for her role as Sandy in Grease and singles such as “Physical” and “I Honestly Love You”, died on Monday, August 8, in California. She was 73 years old.

The news was confirmed on her social media accounts by her husband John Easterling.

“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,” he said.

“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].”

Olivia Newton-John
Olivia Newton-John

A steady career in film and music

Born in the United Kingdom, Olivia Newton-John moved to Australia with her family when she was young. She appeared in various Australian shows before she released an album in the UK in 1971. Olivia did a few more albums and one of the songs, “I Honestly Love You”, became a hit in 1974.

In addition, she filmed one of her first movies, Toomorrow, which she often said in interviews was not one of her best. In 1978, things changed when she was offered the role of Sandy in Grease alongside John Travolta. Olivia insisted on having an on-screen test with John, feeling that she was already too old to play the role. She eventually did the movie, which became one of the most popular musical films of all time.

Moreover, Grease allowed Olivia to sing three of the most well-known songs in the film: “You’re the One I Want,” “Hopelessly Devoted To You,” and “Summer Nights.”

After Grease, Olivia would do more music and film projects including Xanadu. She did television appearances as well. One of her smash hits in the 80s was the song “Physical” which was played again in Stranger Things Season 4.

Battling breast cancer and the Olivia Newton-John Foundation

In 1992, Olivia announced that she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her diagnosis led her to establish the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund, which has been dedicated to research on the use of plant medicine for the disease.

Another cancer wellness and research center in Australia was named after Olivia, too. On the website, Olivia spoke about the diagnosis saying: “I learned very quickly how important it was for me to think positively. When the second friend I called with the news burst into tears, I thought – this is too stressful. I had to find someone else to handle the day to day discussions of my health so I could concentrate on healing.”

“I underwent a partial mastectomy, chemotherapy, and breast reconstruction. And I did herbal formulas, meditation, and focused on a vision of complete wellness. The whole experience has given me much understanding and compassion, so much so that I wanted to help others going through the same journey.”

Wife, mother, and onscreen partner

Aside from being a singer and actress, Olivia was a devoted wife and mother. She and her husband John Easterling have been together since 2008.

Olivia has a daughter, Chloe, from her ex-husband Matt Lattanzi. Following the passing of her mom, Chloe, who is making a name as a musician, posted pictures of them on Instagram.

John Travolta, her onscreen partner on Grease, also paid tribute to his beloved Sandy.

“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!”

Several Australian artists such as Kylie Minogue, Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, and Keith Urban paid tribute to their fellow Aussie gal.

Hugh Jackman

“I’m devastated to hear the news that @therealonj has passed away. One of the great privileges of my life was getting to know her. Not only was she one of the most talented people I’ve known … she was one of the most open hearted, generous and funny. She was a one of kind spirit. It’s no secret Olivia was my first crush. I kissed her (poster) every night before bed. Her legacy will only grow stronger in the years to come. A fighter for healing from cancer that knows no bounds. I love you Olivia.”

Kylie Minogue

“Since I was ten years old, I have loved and looked up to Olivia Newton-John. And, I always will. (Just like this picture @nfsaonline) She was, and always will be, an inspiration to me in so many, many ways. My deepest condolences to her family and loved ones. x ONJ4EVER @therealonj.”

Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban

“Livvie brought the most divine light into the world. So much love, joy, inspiration, and kindness. And we will always be hopelessly devoted to you.”

Hollywood has lost another angelic voice in Olivia Newton-John but her roles in film and in music will always be in many people’s hearts.

Remember those who went on before us:

Remembering Cherie Gil: A Beloved Mother, Aunt, and The Country’s Primera Contravida

Live Long and Prosper, Nichelle Nichols: Star Trek’s Trailblazer

Gloria Sevilla: The Queen of Visayan Movies

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