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Grease's Stockard Channing pays tribute to 'lovely' Olivia Newton-John

Gregory Robinson

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Grease's Stockard Channing pays tribute to 'lovely' Olivia Newton-John

Featured Image Credit: ZUMA Press, Inc. / Alamy Stock Photo / Pictorial Press Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo

Grease star Stockard Channing has paid tribute to Olivia Newton-John following news of her death.

The actress, 78, starred alongside Newton-John in the beloved 1978 musical extravaganza.

Channing played Betty Rizzo, the leader of the Pink Ladies who took Newton-John’s mellow and modest Sandy under her wing when she started attending Rydell High.

The pair’s camaraderie was also evident off-screen and in a statement released to People magazine, the Practical Magic star had nothing but kind words for her late friend.

Stockard Channing starred in Grease. Credit: LANDMARK MEDIA / Alamy Stock Photo
Stockard Channing starred in Grease. Credit: LANDMARK MEDIA / Alamy Stock Photo

“I don’t know if I’ve known a lovelier human being,” she said.

“Olivia was the essence of summer – her sunniness, her warmth and her grace are what always come to mind when I think of her. I will miss her enormously.” 

Newton-John's death at the age of 73 was announced by her husband John Easterling on Monday (8 August).

In a statement shared on Newton-John's social media pages, Easterling wrote a statement that she said 'passed away peacefully at her Ranch in Southern California, surrounded by family and friends'.

The statement continued: "Olivia has been a symbol of triumphs and hope for over 30 years sharing her journey with breast cancer.

"Her healing inspiration and pioneering experience with plant medicine continues with the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund, dedicated to researching plant medicine and cancer.

Olivia Newton John with Stockard Channing and Didi conn in 1998. Credit:  ZUMA Press, Inc. / Alamy Stock Photo
Olivia Newton John with Stockard Channing and Didi conn in 1998. Credit: ZUMA Press, Inc. / Alamy Stock Photo

Easterling also asked fans to send donations to Newton-John's cancer research charity in her memory. He added: "In lieu of flowers, the family asks that any donations be made in her memory to the @onjfoundation."

The independent charity was established by Newton-John to help sponsor global research into plant medicine to treat cancer.

Newton-John and businessman and conservationist Easterling, her second husband, tied the knot in in 2008 and they remained married until her death.

Stockard Channing compared Olivia Newton-John to summer. Credit: Moviestore Collection Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo
Stockard Channing compared Olivia Newton-John to summer. Credit: Moviestore Collection Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo

Newton-John is survived by her husband; daughter Chloe Lattanzi; sister Sarah Newton-John; brother Toby Newton-John; nieces and nephews Tottie, Fiona and Brett Goldsmith; Emerson, Charlie, Zac, Jeremy, Randall, and Pierz Newton-John; Jude Newton-Stock, Layla Lee; Kira and Tasha Edelstein; and Brin and Valerie Hall.

The actor and singer was best known for starring in Grease which is still loved more than 40 years since the film's release.

The film helped to catapult Newton-John, who became a Dame in 2020, to international fame with a string of hits including the 80s classic 'Physical', though she had already experienced a huge level of success in her native Australia and in the UK, where she was born.

Topics: TV And Film, Celebrity, News

Gregory Robinson
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