Yesterday, the world lost one of its truly great talents with the news that Olivia Newton-John had passed away. While no official cause of death was given Newton-John had been battling breast cancer for years. The woman was a talented singer and actress who had hit songs and iconic movie roles and was a major influence on a lot of stars that came after her, and so you can be sure there were many who had strong emotions following the news that she was gone.
While Olivia Newton-John had several major film roles as well as musical hits, for many, she will always be Sandy from 1978’s film adaptation of Grease. It has become one of the truly iconic movie musicals, and it turned her and her co-star John Travolta into movie stars. The film became a permanent part of both of their careers, bringing Travolta and Newton-John together again and again over the years. Travolta took to Instagram to say goodbye to his friend.
Olivia Newton-John had nearly 90 acting credits to her name at the time of her death, but most of those are music videos for her many songs. For many she was a pop star first and an actress second. She’s a member of the Australian Recording Industry Hall of Fame and her song “Physical” spent more time at number one than any other song by an Australian artist. Fellow Aussie Kylie Minogue posted about what an influence Olivia Newton-John was to her.
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 pic.twitter.com/3nE8PVDFLyAugust 8, 2022
Mariah Carey was another singer who spoke on Instagram about how much she loved Newton-John, going so far as to dress as Sandy for Halloween one year. Later, Carey and Newton-John would share a stage and perform together.
While Olivia Newton-John was best known on screen for Grease and the cult classic Xanadu, she continued to act regularly in film and television until 2020. One of her more recent movies was 2011’s A Few Best Men, which co-starred a pre- Pitch Perfect Rebel Wilson. Wilson wrote about how Newton-John inspired her to be a performer, believing that she could succeed while still being true to herself as Australian.
Another Australian whose life was greatly influenced by Olivia Newton-John was Hugh Jackman. He admits in an Instagram post that Newton-John was his first crush, and calls getting to know her personally one of the great privileges of his life. Jackman would also go on to become a multidisciplinary threat, and would even sing Newton-John’s part of “Summer Loving” with John Travolta at one point.
Clearly, Olivia Newton-John’s career, in addition to being incredibly successful, also inspired others to chase their own dreams. In that way Olivia Newton-John's life will continue long after she is gone.