Olivia Newton-John Has Died

We are sad to report that award-winning singer and actress Olivia Newton-John has passed away at the age of 73.

By Nathan Kamal | Published

Olivia Newton-John

Actress and singer Olivia Newton-John has died at the age of 73. The news was first announced via the singer’s official Facebook page, which did not mention a cause of death. However, Olivia Newton-John was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992 and it seems likely that there were complications due to her longstanding battle. She was in remission for almost 25 years, before announcing that the cancer had spread elsewhere in her body in 2017. Olivia Newton-John became a prominent breast cancer awareness advocate and founded the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund, which specialized in research in plant-based medicine and cures.

Olivia Newton-John was born in the United Kingdom in 1948 and her family emigrated to Australia when she was six. Always musically inclined, she formed a girl pop group when she was fifteen and appeared on a number of television programs to perform songs. She eventually partnered with fellow Australian singer Pat Carroll, then was recruited to a pop group called Toomorrow and appeared in a science-fiction musical film of the same name that flopped. Olivia Newton-John had more success as a country singer, recording a successful solo album titled If Not For You in 1971. 

Olivia Newton-John was perhaps best known for her starring role as Sandy in the 1978 movie musical Grease. At the time of her casting in the film, she had little acting experience. However, the film version of Grease (adapted from ​​a 1971 stage musical by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey) became an unexpectedly mammoth hit and launched Olivia Newton-John into global popularity. Grease made a staggering $366 million at the box office (nearly $2 billion in 2022 dollars) and was the single most popular movie of 1978. The soundtrack to the film is one of the best-selling albums of all time, having sold over 28 million copies worldwide and included “You’re the One That I Want” a duet between John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John that became the number one hit in both the United Kingdom and the United States. 

Following Grease, Olivia Newton-John starred in the notorious musical flop Xanadu, which co-starred cinema legend Gene Kelly. Despite the failure of that project, its soundtrack was successful and generated a number of singles, including the title song written by ELO’s Jeff Lynne. In 1981, she released her most successful album, Physical; the title track became the single most popular song of the 1980s and its accompanying music video became an iconic emblem of the decade.

Olivia Newton-John continued to perform and record nearly to the end of her life, including a Christmas album with John Travolta in 2012. She also had a three-year residency at the Flamingo Las Vegas, and continued to occasionally act and appear on television. She is survived by her husband John Easterling and her daughter Chloe Rose Lattanzi. She is also survived by her immense body of work, which includes five number-one hits on the Billboard charts, 14 Gold albums, and combined record sales of over 100 million worldwide. Rest in peace, Olivia Newton-John.