On August 8, 2022, singer and actress Olivia Newton-John passed away from an on-and-off again battle with cancer. Newton-John passed away at the age of 73. She was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992, according to NBC News. After overcoming that, the cancer returned two more times, in 2013 and 2017, the article continues.
I literally found out about Newton-John’s death at the worst possible time because I was at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, in line to ride ‘Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.’ I never got to ride the attraction, though, because it broke down while I was waiting in line, so that bummed me too! Strangely enough, three days before Newton-John’s death, I published a blog post titled, My Top 10 Favorite Songs of All Time with Female Vocalists, and “Hopelessly Devoted to You” was my number one pick. That’s scary to think about!
I don’t have much of a personal connection with Olivia Newton-John, like I do with Bob Saget, but her death hit me hard because she starred in one of my all time favorite movies, Grease (1978). It’s fun, heartwarming, and the songs are memorable. All the actors did an amazing job in their roles, especially Newton-John. It still boggles me how she was able to go from sweet and innocent Sandy to sexy and rebellious Sandy by the end of the film. When she showed up with that teased hair, red lipstick, and black leather outfit, I thought it was a different actress.
As mentioned in my movie review for Grease, I’m not a huge fan of the makeover scene because it makes me question the message of the film. There’s a whole debate about whether or not Sandy changed her appearance for the right reasons. I mean, for goodness sakes, she even learned how to smoke for the guy! I don’t care what anyone says, no guy is worth risking your lungs for! However, I admire Sandy’s bravery for knowing what she wanted in life and going after it. Her newfound confidence at the end of the film is something we all strive for these days.
Newton-John also had great chemistry with her on-screen love interest, John Travolta. The actors themselves must’ve thought so too because they did another movie together five years later, Two of a Kind (1983).
Did I mention she could sing, as well? I mean, Newton-John could really sing. Her vocal range was impressive, going from high notes to low notes effortlessly. I listened to “Please Don’t Keep Me Waiting” from Totally Hot (1978) on YouTube this morning and man, the high notes she sang at the end of the song were insane!
I’ll be honest, I never checked out any of her music outside of Grease, which I regret not doing. I also regret not watching any of the other films she starred in. Had I done those things, this tribute post would’ve been a thousand times better. It’s weird because I’ve only seen Newton-John in one film, but it’s one that’s near and dear to my heart, so it feels like my childhood was torn apart.
I saw a clip of Xanadu (1980) on TV when I was younger, but I never watched the whole movie. However, now that Newton-John has passed away, I’ll check it out if I ever see it on TV again. I know that movie didn’t have the best reviews, but I heard the soundtrack was successful. Newton-John sang on the soundtrack, so that’s got to mean something!
My prayers go out to Newton-John’s co-stars, and friends and family going through this difficult time. Her death devastatingly affects the acting and music industry, and she will dearly be missed. Thank you Olivia Newton-John for playing a huge part of my childhood, giving me a song to sing when I’m going through a heartbreak, and for sharing your incredible talents with us! Rest in peace, my friend!
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