After a long battle with cancer, millions of people around the world — including close friend and Wonder Woman star Lynda Carter — are celebrating the life and times of Olivia Newton-John. The singer-songwriter succumbed to the disease at the age of 73 on August 8, 2022 at her Santa Ynez Valley home in California. Her husband, John Easterling, broke the news of her demise on Instagram, posting a photograph of her which he captioned, “Dame Olivia Newton-John (73) passed away peacefully at her Ranch in Southern California this morning, surrounded by family and friends. We ask that everyone please respect the family’s privacy during this very difficult time.”
Olivia has been a symbol of triumph and hope for over 30 years, sharing her journey with the disease. Her healing inspiration and pioneering experience with plant medicine will live on thanks to the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund, dedicated to researching the medicinal use of plants in cancer treatment. “In lieu of flowers,” John posted, “the family asks that any donations be made in memory to the @onjfoundation.” Tributes and condolences have been pouring in to the family, extolling the amazing Grease star who took Hollywood by storm with her stellar performance as the character of Sandy.
Life And Career Of Olivia
The British-Australian Olivia was born on September 26, 1948, in Cambridge, England. She went to Christ Church Grammar School in the Melbourne suburb of South Yarra before moving on to Parkville University High School, where she formed a band, Sol Four, with three of her classmates at age 14. In 1966, she released her first single, “Till You Say You’ll Be Mine,” for Decca Records in the United Kingdom. Marking a significant stride in her music career, in 1971 she released her first solo album, If Not for You. And things went on from there, recording 26 studio albums while winning 10 American Music Awards, nine Billboard Awards, four Grammy Awards and a 1999 Daytime Emmy Award in the category of Outstanding Original Song for “Love is a Gift.”
Wanting more, she ventured on to Hollywood after meeting producer Allan Carr at a dinner party. When originally offered the role of Sandy in the 1978 film adaptation of the Broadway musical Grease, she nearly turned it down due to the failure of Toomorrow, a 1970 British science fiction musical. Fortunately, she agreed to the part, which turned out to be one of her biggest career wins and the role for which she is most remembered. She also starred in several ABC specials: A Special Olivia Newton-John (1976), Olivia (1978) Hollywood Nights (1980), and Let’s Get Physical (1980), with Olivia in Concert (1982) airing on HBO.
Among the stars of her first special were Elliott Gould, Tom Bosley, Ron Howard and Lynda Carter, the latter of whom she struck a lifelong friendship. Little wonder that Lynda, while paying her respect to Olivia on her death, wrote, “I am crushed to hear that my friend @olivianj has died. She was a true light in this world, and I loved all the times we worked together. My love goes out to her family and her friends. What a beautiful human.”
Lynda Carter’s Friendship With Olivia Newton-John
The connection between Lynda and Olivia started, as noted, in that 1976 TV special. The highlight of the special was Olivia’s futile attempts to get anyone to sing with her, and at one point she runs into Lynda dressed in her full Wonder Woman costume. Olivia invites her to sing, but “Wonder Woman” — who was in the midst of fighting crime and even saved Olivia from a stray bullet — turned her down, noting that she couldn’t neglect her duty by singing and dancing on a TV show. Disappointed, Olivia somehow managed to get through things just fine.