Olivia Newton-John, Star of 'Grease', Dies at 73

08 August 2022

World famous music and movie star Olivia Newton-John has died at her home in southern California.

Her husband John Easterling appealed to the public in a message on Instagram and Facebook. "We ask that everyone please respect the family's privacy during this very difficult time," he wrote.

The highly awarded Newton-John sold more than 100 million record albums during her career. From 1973-83, she was among the world's most popular entertainers. She had 14 top 10 singles in the United States alone and won four Grammys.

FILE - In this Jan. 27, 2018 file photo, Olivia Newton-John attends the 2018 G'Day USA Los Angeles Gala at the InterContinental Hotel Los Angeles.
FILE - In this Jan. 27, 2018 file photo, Olivia Newton-John attends the 2018 G'Day USA Los Angeles Gala at the InterContinental Hotel Los Angeles.

Newton-John is perhaps most remembered for her performance in 1978's wildly popular musical movie Grease. She stars as high school student Sandy, love interest of Danny, played by John Travolta. One song the two share in the film, You're the One that I Want, sold more than 15 million copies.

"I [was] worried that at 29 I was too old to play a high school girl," Newton-John told The Telegraph in 2017. "Everything about making the film was fun, but if I had to pick a favorite moment, it was the transformation from what I call Sandy 1 to Sandy 2. I got to play a different character and wear different clothes, and when I put on that tight black outfit to sing You're the One That I Want, I got a very different reaction from the guys on the set."

Physical, Newton-John's biggest single, came out in 1981. The energetic, sexy dance song was hugely popular, holding the number one position on Billboard's hit list for 10 weeks straight. Later, the music industry magazine named Physical the song of the year. A video linked to the song won a Grammy, as well.

In later years of her career, Newton-John became more likely to make the news because of her private life. In 1992, she faced loss and sickness. Her father died and she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Three years later, she and actor Matt Lattanzi with whom she shared a daughter, ended their marriage.

And, a years-long relationship with cameraman Patrick McDermott ended mysteriously, when he went missing during a 2005 fishing trip in California.

"He was lost at sea, and nobody really knows what happened," Newton-John told Australia's 60 Minutes in 2016. "It's human to wonder. But you know, those are the things in life you have to accept and let go," she said.

Newton-John also wrote a book, Gaia: One Woman's Journey, about her battle with cancer and the loss of her father.

Newton-John married John Easterling in 2008. She became involved in several causes, serving as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Environment Program and as a national spokeswoman for the Children's Health Environmental Coalition. She also founded the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Center in Melbourne, Australia.

Newton-John was born in Britain to Irene Born and Brin Newton-John. Her mother's father was Nobel Prize-winning physicist Max Born.

The Newton-Johns moved to Australia when Olivia was 5, but she returned to England in her teens and lived with her mother after her parents separated. She had early dreams of becoming an animal doctor. After winning singing competitions in high school, she decided on a career in music, instead.

I'm Caty Weaver.

The Associated Press reported this story. Caty Weaver and Hai Do adapted the story for Learning English.


Words in This Story

moment - n. a very short period of time

transformation - n. a complete or major change

character - n. a person who appears in a movie, book, film...

diagnose - v. to recognize a disease