Singer, activist and ‘Grease’ star Olivia Newton-John dies at 73

Michael Tran/FilmMagic

Chart-topping singer, actress and activist Olivia Newton-John has died, according to a post on her Instagram page from her husband, John Easterling. She was 73.

"Dame Olivia Newton-John passed away peacefully at her Ranch in Southern California this morning, surrounded by family and friends," the note reads. "We ask that everyone please respect the family's privacy during this very difficult time."

Originally diagnosed with breast cancer in the '90s, Newton-John was in remission for more than 20 years before her cancer returned in 2017. "Olivia has been a symbol of triumphs and hope for over 30 years sharing her journey with breast cancer," continues the post.

"Her healing inspiration and pioneering experience with plant medicine continues with the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund, dedicated to researching plant medicine and cancer," it concludes. "In lieu of flowers, the family asks that any donations be made in her memory to the @onjfoundation."

Newton-John is survived by her daughter, Chloe Lattanzi; Easterling, whom she married in 2008; as well as a sister, a brother, and numerous nieces and nephews.

Born in 1948 in Cambridge, England, Olivia was the granddaughter of Nobel Prize-winning physicist Max Born. When she was five, her family relocated to Melbourne, Australia. By her teen years, she'd landed her big break, winning a talent contest on the TV show Sing, Sing, Sing.

By 1966, Olivia had a deal with Decca Records, but her major breakthrough wouldn't come until 1973, with the country-flavored hit "Let Me Be There." That same year, the Academy of Country Music named her its Most Promising Female Vocalist. In 1974 the Country Music Association agreed, crowning her its Female Vocalist of the Year in a move that sparked controversy among the genre's traditionalists.

The next year, Olivia's career would gravitate more toward the pop side, as she released one of her signature songs: "I Honestly Love You." It won both Record of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 1974 Grammys.

Generations of fans -- particularly young girls -- would come to identify with Newton-John as she took on her most iconic film role in 1978, playing Sandy alongside John Travolta's Danny Zuko in the big-screen adaptation of the musical Grease. The two would become one of cinema's most beloved couples, performing the duets "You're the One That I Want" and "Summer Nights" together. Olivia also scored a Grease solo hit with "Hopelessly Devoted to You."

In 1980, Newton-John teamed up with the legendary Gene Kelly for the roller skating fantasy Xanadu. Though it failed to be "Magic" at the box office, it was destined to become a cult classic and also gave Olivia another chart-topping hit from its double-Platinum soundtrack.

Newton-John and Travolta rekindled their onscreen romance for Two of a Kind in 1983. While the film wasn't successful, once again Olivia's music was. The soundtrack went Platinum and "Twist of Fate" was a top-five hit.

On the small screen, Olivia would become a music video pioneer, turning her super-sexy single "Physical" into a campy romp through saunas, aerobics and workout rooms. The clip propelled the song to 10 weeks at the top of the chart, and "Physical" won the 1982 Grammy for Video of the Year.  

All told, Newton-John charted 10 #1s and sold more than 100 million albums, continuing to work right up until the recurrence of her cancer forced her postpone her 2017 tour. Earlier, she'd staged a well-received Las Vegas residency at the Flamingo for two years, starting in the spring of 2014.

In her eyes, Olivia was certain to see both her family and her humanitarian work as her greatest accomplishments. She gave birth to her daughter, Chloe, in 1986, and later helped establish the Healthy Child, Healthy World organization after Chloe's childhood friend died of a rare form of cancer.

After going into remission in 1992, Newton-John worked to raise awareness for breast cancer, recording multiple albums that addressed the issue and eventually establishing the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Center. It opened in her hometown of Melbourne, Australia, in June 2012.

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Vangelis, Oscar-winning ‘Chariots of Fire’ composer and Jon Anderson collaborator, dead at 79

Vangelis in 1991; Rob Verhorst/Redferns

Vangelis, the Greek composer and keyboardist best known for his chart-topping theme and Oscar-winning score to the 1981 film Chariots of Fire, has died at age 79, U.K. newspaper The Guardian reports.

According to the paper, representatives for the musician confirmed that he passed away at a French hospital, where he was being treated for an undisclosed illness.

Born Evángelos Odysséas Papathanassíou, Vangelis gained his greatest notoriety for composing the theme and the soundtrack to Chariots of Fire, which reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Billboard 200 during the spring of 1982. His score to the movie also won an Academy Award.

Vangelis also released several collaborative albums with Yes frontman Jon Anderson under the moniker Vangelis and Jon during the 1980s and '90s.

His other film work included composing the scores to 1982's Blade Runner and Missing, 1984's The Bounty, 1992's 1492: Conquest of Paradise and 2004's Alexander.

Early in his career, Vangelis was a member of the popular Greek prog-rock band Aphrodite's Child, which was together from 1967 to 1972.

During his long career, Vangelis also released many solo studio albums, and composed music for ballets and stage productions.

His most recent album, 2021's Juno to Jupiter, was inspired by NASA's Juno probe.

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Happy Birthday, Babs! Barbra Streisand turns 80 on Sunday

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On Sunday, April 24, Barbra Streisand celebrates her 80th birthday. A superstar of stage, screen, song and more, the Brooklyn, New York-born Streisand is one of the few performers who can boast achieving a career EGOT -- that is, winning at last one Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award.

Barbra's fame came quickly: The powerhouse singer won two Grammys for her debut album, 1963's The Barbra Streisand Album.

She garnered more acclaim with her portrayal of comedian/singer/actress Fanny Brice in the hit 1964 Broadway musical Funny Girl, then went on to win a Best Actress Oscar when she reprised the role in the 1968 film adaptation.

Her musical achievements are too numerous to name, but here's a select list:

--Her 11 number-one albums on the Billboard 200 chart is a record for a female artists.
--She has scored five chart-topping singles on the Billboard Hot 100: 1973's "The Way We Were"; 1976's "Evergreen"; the 1978 Neil Diamond duet "You Don't Bring Me Flowers"; her 1979 collaboration with Donna Summer, "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)"; and 1980's "Woman in Love."
--Her 10 total Grammy Awards include a Lifetime Achievement Award and a Grammy Legend honor.
--She has sold an estimated 150 million records worldwide.
--She won a second Academy Award, a Best Original Song honor, for co-writing "Evegreen," from the 1976 version of A Star Is Born.

Streisand has starred in many films during her long career, including the aforementioned Funny Girl and Evergreen, but she made movie history in 1983 with Yentl, becoming the first woman ever to write, direct, produce and star in a major studio production. She's gone on to direct two more movies -- 1991's The Prince of Tides and 1996's The Mirror Has Two Faces.

Barbra's other accolades include a recipient of the National Medal of Arts and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, as well as being recognized by the Kennedy Center Honors.

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Grammys 2022: The complete winners list

CBS

The 64th Annual Grammy Awards aired live from Las Vegas Sunday night on CBS, hosted by Trevor Noah.

Here is the complete list of winners in the major categories:

Record of the Year
"Leave the Door Open," Silk Sonic

Album of the Year
We Are, Jon Batiste

Song of the Year
“Leave the Door Open,” Brandon Anderson, Christopher Brody Brown, Dernst Emile II & Bruno Mars, songwriters (Silk Sonic)

Best New Artist
Olivia Rodrigo

POP

Best Pop Solo Performance
"driver’s license," Olivia Rodrigo

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance
“Kiss Me More,” Doja Cat Featuring SZA

Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album
Love For Sale, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga

Best Pop Vocal Album
Sour, Olivia Rodrigo

ROCK/ALTERNATIVE

Best Metal Performance
"The Alien," Dream Theater

Best Rock Song
"Waiting on a War," Foo Fighters

Best Rock Performance
"Making a Fire," Foo Fighters

Best Rock Album
Medicine at Midnight, Foo Fighters

Best Alternative Music Album
Daddy’s Home, St. Vincent

R&B/RAP

BEST R&B PERFORMANCE (TIE)
"Leave the Door Open," Silk Sonic
and
"Pick Up Your Feelings," Jazmine Sullivan

Best Traditional R&B Performance
"Fight for You," H.E.R.

Best R&B Song
"Leave the Door Open," Silk Sonic

Best Progressive R&B Album
Table for Two, Lucky Daye

Best R&B Album
Heaux Tales, Jazmine Sullivan

Best Rap Performance
"Family Ties," Baby Keem Featuring Kendrick Lamar

Best Melodic Rap Performance
“Hurricane,” Kanye West featuring the Weeknd and Lil Baby

Best Rap Song
“Jail,” Dwayne Abernathy, Jr., Shawn Carter, Raul Cubina, Michael Dean, Charles M. Njapa, Sean Solymar, Kanye West and Mark Williams, songwriters (Kanye West featuring Jay-Z)

Best Rap Album
Call Me If You Get Lost, Tyler, the Creator

COUNTRY

Best Country Solo Performance
"You Should Probably Leave," Chris Stapleton

Best Country Duo/Group Performance
"Younger Me," Brothers Osborne

Best Country Song
"Cold," Dave Cobb, J.T. Cure, Derek Mixon & Chris Stapleton

Best Country Album
Starting Over, Chris Stapleton

DANCE/ELECTRONIC MUSIC

Best Dance Recording
"10%" by Kaytranada feat. Kali Uchis

Best Dance/Electronic Album
Alive, Rüfüs Du Sol

GOSPEL/CONTEMPORARY CHRISTIAN MUSIC

Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song
"Believe For It," CeCe Winans; Dwan Hill, Kyle Lee, CeCe Winans & Mitch Wong

Best Gospel Album
Believe For It, CeCe Winans

Best Contemporary Christian Music Album
Old Church Basement, Elevation Worship & Maverick City Music

Best Roots Gospel Album
My Savior, Carrie Underwood

LATIN

Best Latin Pop Album
Mendó, Alex Cuba

Best Latin Rock or Alternative Album
Origen, Juanes

Best Regional Mexican Music Album
A Mis 80s, Vicente Fernandez

Best Tropical Latin Album
Salswing!, Rubén Blades y Roberto Delgado & Orquesta

COMEDY

Best Comedy Album
Sincerely, Louis C.K.

MUSICAL THEATER

Best Musical Theater Album
The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical, Composers/Lyricists Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear, Producer Emily Bear

MUSIC FOR VISUAL MEDIA

Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media (TIE)
Caros Raphael Rivera, The Queen’s Gambit
and
Jon Batiste, Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor, Soul

Best Song Written For Visual Media
"All Eyes on Me" (from Bo Burnham: Inside), Bo Burnham

MUSIC VIDEO/FILM

Best Music Video
"Freedom," Jon Batiste

Best Music Film
Summer of Soul, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, video director; David Dinerstein, Robert Fyvolent & Joseph Patel, video producers

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

30th Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party raises $8.6 million

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While Elton himself couldn't make it in person, the 30th annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party, held Sunday night in Los Angeles, was a huge success.

The party, hosted by Elton's husband David Furnish, and their friends Lady Gaga, Billy Porter and Eric McCormack, raised $8.6 million for the Foundation.  Elton joined via satellite from his concert in Lincoln, Nebraska to thank the attendees, and shared a performance of "Your Song" and "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road." During that performance, guests received limited-edition Elton John Eyewear "Gold Dust" frames to wear along with Elton.

Elton's friend, singer/songwriter Brandi Carlile, performed at the party and duetted with singer/songwriter Jake Wesley Rogers on "Rocket Man."

“I’m so grateful to my friends Lady Gaga, Billy Porter and Eric McCormack for joining David in hosting such an incredible evening, and of course Brandi Carlile for bringing down the house with an electrifying performance,” Elton said in a statement. "Most of all, I’m thankful to all who attended and participated to ensure that we can continue our lifesaving work to end AIDS. I could feel the love and support all the way from Lincoln, Nebraska!”

David Furnish added in a statement, "It was an especially unforgettable and emotional evening with our sons in attendance for the first time. They made their fathers extremely proud representing our family at the Foundation’s most important night of the year!”

Guests at the bash included Demi Lovato, Kevin Costner, Donatella Versace, Chris Pine, Zooey Deschanel, Fran Drescher, Patricia Arquette, Heidi Klum, Chrissy Metz and many more.

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“Prince: The Immersive Experience” to debut in Chicago this June

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"Prince: The Immersive Experience" will debut on June 9 – two days after the late musician's birthday – at the Shops at North Bridge on the Magnificent Mile in Chicago.

The interactive experience, presented by Superfly and in partnership with The Prince Estate, will take visitors on a journey through Prince's life, offering 10 multidimensional spaces to witness the singer's creative evolution and original sound. 

"It is an absolute honor to partner with The Prince Estate to create an experience that celebrates Prince's legendary music and the inspirational way that he lived his life," Superfly Co-founder Kerry Black said in a statement. "I know I will forever be changed by working on this project and hope fans will bring a little Prince inspiration home with them, too."

One of the spaces will allow fans to "step inside the Purple Rain album cove,r" where they can mix a hit directly out of Prince's coveted Paisley Park Studio A and boogie down to an audiovisual dance party with an accompanying lighting design. The exhibit will also feature photography, historic instruments and wardrobe pieces and much more. 

Though Superfly is known for creating entertainment-based experiences like "The Friends Experience" and "The Office Experience," Black says the latest project is "next level," according to Rolling Stone.

Tickets for "Prince: The Immersive Experience" go on sale Thursday, March 31, exclusively at PrinceTheExperience.com.

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Meat Loaf passes away at age 74

Jo Hale/Redferns

Meat Loaf has passed away at age 74.

The news was confirmed in a statement on the rocker and actor’s Facebook page.

“Our hearts are broken to announce that the incomparable Meat Loaf passed away tonight with his wife Deborah by his side,” the statement reads. “Daughters Pearl and Amanda and close friends have been with him throughout the last 24 hours.”

The post notes Meat Loaf’s “amazing career,” which spanned six decades. Meat Loaf, birth name Marvin Lee Aday, sold 100 million album sales worldwide and starred in over 65 movies including Fight Club, Rocky Horror Picture Show and Wayne’s World. His 1977 album Bat Out of Hell is one of the top selling albums of all time and he scored a number one hit with 1993's "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)."

The statement continues, “We know how much he meant to so many of you and we truly appreciate all of the love and support as we move through this time of grief in losing such an inspiring artist and beautiful man…From his heart to your souls…don’t ever stop rocking!

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Zendaya hopes to make the late Ronnie Spector proud with her portrayal in upcoming biopic

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for HBO

As the entertainment world continues to mourn the passing of Ronnie SpectorZendaya, who will portray The Ronettes' lead singer an an upcoming biopic, paid tribute to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee.

"This news just breaks my heart. To speak about her as if she's not with us feels strange as she is so incredibly full of life," the Euphoria star writes on Instagram. "There's not a time I saw her without her iconic red lips and full teased hair, a true rockstar through and through."

The Emmy Award winner also says she's grateful to have spent time with Spector preparing for the role.

"Ronnie, being able to know you has been one of the greatest honors of my life," Zendaya writes. "Thank you for sharing your life with me, I could listen to your stories for hours and hours. Thank you for your unmeasured talent, your unwavering love for performing, your strength, resilience and your grace."

The 25-year-old actress adds, "There is absolutely nothing that could dim the light you cast. I admire you so much and am so grateful for the bond we share. You are a magical force of greatness and the world of music will never be the same."

Zendaya concludes, "We celebrate your beautiful life and give you all the flowers you so rightfully deserve. Rest in great power Ronnie. I hope to make you proud."

As previously reported, Spector died on Wednesday after battling cancer. She was 78.

A statement on her website reads, "Ronnie lived her life with a twinkle in her eye, a spunky attitude, a wicked sense of humor and a smile on her face...Her joyful sound, playful nature and magical presence will live on in all who knew, heard or saw her."

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Zendaya hopes to make the late Ronnie Spector proud with her portrayal in upcoming biopic

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for HBO

As the entertainment world continues to mourn the passing of Ronnie SpectorZendaya, who will portray The Ronettes' lead singer an an upcoming biopic, paid tribute to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee.

"This news just breaks my heart. To speak about her as if she's not with us feels strange as she is so incredibly full of life," the Euphoria star writes on Instagram. "There's not a time I saw her without her iconic red lips and full teased hair, a true rockstar through and through."

The Emmy Award winner also says she's grateful to have spent time with Spector preparing for the role.

"Ronnie, being able to know you has been one of the greatest honors of my life," Zendaya writes. "Thank you for sharing your life with me, I could listen to your stories for hours and hours. Thank you for your unmeasured talent, your unwavering love for performing, your strength, resilience and your grace."

The 25-year-old actress adds, "There is absolutely nothing that could dim the light you cast. I admire you so much and am so grateful for the bond we share. You are a magical force of greatness and the world of music will never be the same."

Zendaya concludes, "We celebrate your beautiful life and give you all the flowers you so rightfully deserve. Rest in great power Ronnie. I hope to make you proud."

As previously reported, Spector died on Wednesday after battling cancer. She was 78.

A statement on her website reads, "Ronnie lived her life with a twinkle in her eye, a spunky attitude, a wicked sense of humor and a smile on her face...Her joyful sound, playful nature and magical presence will live on in all who knew, heard or saw her."

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

2022 Grammy Awards are officially postponed because of COVID-19

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For a second year in a row, the Grammy Awards will not take place on January 31 as originally planned because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

ABC News confirms the Recording Academy has delayed this year's ceremony, which was to be hosted again by Trevor Noah.

"After careful consideration and analysis with city and state officials, health and safety experts, the artist community and our many partners, the Recording Academy and CBS have postponed the 64th Annual GRAMMY Awards Show," the organization announced in a statement on Wednesday. 

The Recording Academy continued, "The health and safety of those in our music community, the live audience, and the hundreds of people who work tirelessly to produce our show remains our top priority. Given the uncertainty surrounding the Omicron variant, holding the show on January 31 simply contains too many risks."

At this time, the organization has not announced when the Grammys will be rescheduled, but promised the new date "will be announced soon."

Currently, federal data reports that more than 100,000 people are hospitalized in the U.S. for COVID-19.  Data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from the weekend shows that the U.S. is now averaging nearly half a million new cases a day -- averaging out to nearly six Americans testing positive every second.

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