Arts & Entertainments

Actress, singer Olivia Newton-John dies aged 73

 

Olivia Newton-John, best known for playing Sandy in smash-hit musical Grease, has died aged 73, her family says.

The star died from cancer, her manager told the BBC.

Her husband John Easterling said she “passed away peacefully” at her ranch in California on Monday morning.

An actress and musician, Newton-John achieved commercial success as a country singer and sold millions of records globally.

But it was her role as high school student Sandy in the film adaption of Grease that catapulted her to worldwide fame.

One of the most successful film musicals of all time, it told the story of Sandy’s summer fling with John Travolta’s Danny and the difficulties the relationship encounters. In the end the pair reconciles with Sandy appearing in a tight, black leather outfit.

The film was the biggest box-office hit of 1978, and gave Newton-John three huge hit singles, including You’re The One That I Want and Summer Nights, both performed with co-star John Travolta.

And it was a catalyst for change in both her image and her musical direction – shedding her innocent, country-pop image.

Travolta wrote on Instagram that she “made all of our lives so much better”.

“Your impact was incredible. I love you so much,” he wrote.

“We will see you down the road and we will all be together again. Yours from the first moment I saw you and forever!”

Oscar-winning actress Marlee Matlin, who co-starred alongside Newton-John in the 1996 film It’s My Party, called her “the sweetest and brightest light” in a Twitter tribute.

And Dionne Warwick, who recorded a duet with Newton-John in 2006, wrote on Twitter that “another angelic voice has been added to the Heavenly Choir”.

 

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