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Olivia Newton-John Recalls Las Vegas Residency, “Grease”

Posted on: August 12, 2022, 2:31 a.m.

Last update on: August 12, 2022, 04:11h.

Olivia Newton-John rose to worldwide fame singing “Xanadu”. But she also captivated audiences for decades in Las Vegas. The headliner and movie star died this week aged 73 after battling cancer.

Olivia Newton-John, left, with Leeza Gibbons, Marie Osmond and Mary Wilson
Olivia Newton-John, left, with Leeza Gibbons, Marie Osmond and Mary Wilson, is honored as Nevada Ballet Theater’s 2016 Woman of the Year at Wynn Las Vegas, pictured above. Newton-John died this week. (Image: Las Vegas Weekly)

While Newton-John has long been known for films like Fat and Xanaduit was also a Las Vegas staple for many years.

Olivia Newton John
Olivia Newton-John performing at the Riviera in 1977. (Image: LVCVA Archives)

In July 1974, she opened for country music singer Charlie Rich at the Las Vegas Hilton. She continued to perform at several Vegas hotels and casinos. From 2014, summer knights, his two and a half year residency, was performed at the Donny & Marie Showroom at Flamingo Las Vegas.

She also appeared with Las Vegas stars such as Don Rickles and The Smothers Brothers.

Big screen star

Of course, the singer, actress and dancer also garnered international attention for her starring role in the film. Fat, based on the hit Broadway musical. The family classic continues to attract viewers.

The iconic role of Olivia Newton-John in the film Fat cemented his place in American music history,” John Freyermuth, visiting assistant professor at Clark University in Massachusetts, said Casino.org. “His performance as Sandy inspired a generation of musicians.”

The film capitalized on its “pretty girl, next-door appeal,” Professor Jeff Smith of the University of Wisconsin-Madison added to Casino.org. “In fact, it’s hard to imagine any other singer of the era filling the role of Sandy as well as Newton-John did,” Smith said.

Smith explained why the film remained popular for decades.

“Parents play it for their children, who then play it for their children, and so on. Kind of a circle of life storyline that very few 1970s movies actually enjoy,” Smith said.

His film, Xanadualso remained a cult classic. The film’s soundtrack has gone double platinum, according to Janis L. McKay, vdean of ice cream at the UNLV College of Fine Arts. It featured Newton-John with the Electric Light Orchestra on the title track.

Soft rock, soft voice

Newton-John was also a renowned singer. She has won three Grammy Awards for songs during her career. A video also won a Grammy. She has had five number one hits and 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. Her style of music has been described as country-pop, rock-pop, and disco-pop.

McKay noted that she debuted as “the first star of the soft rock genre, who easily transitioned into pop music”.

“She specialized in a hybrid of soft-rock and country music that led to hits in the early 70s, such as ‘Let Me Be There’, ‘I Honestly Love You’, ‘If You Love Me (Let Me Know).” and “Have you ever been sweet,” Smith added.

She has told more than 36 million records, making her one of the best-selling female artists of her generation, according to Smith.

Entrepreneur, Lawyer

Newton-John was also an entrepreneur and activist. In the early 1980s, Newton-John founded Koala Blue. This is a store specializing in Australian imports. It evolved into a chain of clothing boutiques and eventually became a brand of Australian wines and a line of bed, bath and beauty products, Smith recalled.

Additionally, Newton-John has used her fame to champion environmental causes and animal rights. She also became an advocate for breast cancer awareness.

Donny Osmond remembers his friendship

Las Vegas headliners Donny and Marie Osmond were among his close friends. In 2016, Newton-John was named Woman of the Year by Nevada Ballet Theater. Marie Osmond introduced her at the Wynn Las Vegas event.

Singing with Olivia was one of the greatest moments for me during The Donny and Marie Show“, Donny Osmond recalled on Twitter this week.

“I can only imagine how wonderful heaven is, now that this beautiful angel is here. My dear friend, Olivia, I love you. I love you, honestly.”