Olivia Newton-John, one of the biggest pop stars in the 1970s and early 1980s, has died at the age of 73. She died on Monday at her ranch in southern California, according to her husband, John Easterling, in a post on her official Facebook page. “Olivia has been a symbol of triumphs and hope for over 30 years sharing her journey with breast cancer,” it reads in part.
In the 1978 movie musical Grease, Newton-John starred as the good girl Sandy Olson, who falls for a bad boy played by John Travolta, who had also played the role on Broadway. He lobbied hard for Newton-John to make her film debut as his costar.
“I couldn’t do an American accent, and I was too old,” she told the Today show in 2019. “And I had all these reasons why I couldn’t do it. We did a screen test. The chemistry was there. It worked and when John came to see me at my house — how could you say no to John Travolta?”
Newton-John was born in England in 1948. She grew up in Australia, and started her performing career as a teenager. A regular on local radio and TV shows, she won a talent contest and ended up recording country-pop songs in the U.S.