Stockard Channing pays touching tribute to Grease co-star Olivia Newton-John: ‘I will miss her’

Tribute: Stockard Channing was one of many stars who paid tribute to Olivia Newton-John on Monday, after she passed away at 73, following a 30-year battle with breast cancer; Pictured in 1998


Stockard Channing was one of many stars who paid tribute to Olivia Newton-John on Monday, after she passed away at 73, following a 30-year battle with breast cancer.

The 78-year-old actress called her Grease co-star ‘the essence of summer’ in a touching statement to People

‘I don’t know if I’ve known a lovelier human being. Olivia was the essence of summer – her sunniness, her warmth and her grace are what always come to mind when I think of her,’ she said, adding, ‘I will miss her enormously.’ 

Tribute: Stockard Channing was one of many stars who paid tribute to Olivia Newton-John on Monday, after she passed away at 73, following a 30-year battle with breast cancer; Pictured in 1998

Tribute: Stockard Channing was one of many stars who paid tribute to Olivia Newton-John on Monday, after she passed away at 73, following a 30-year battle with breast cancer; Pictured in 1998

Channing played Pink Lady Betty Rizzo alongside Newton-John’s goody two shoes teenager Sandy Olsen in the iconic 1978 musical Grease. 

Fellow co-star John Travolta, 68, was among the first to pay tribute on Monday, writing: ‘My dearest Olivia, you made all of our lives so much better. Your impact was incredible. I love you so much.’

He added: ‘We will see you down the road and we will all be together again. Yours from the first moment I saw you and forever! Your Danny, your John!’ 

Touching: The 78-year-old actress called her Grease co-star 'the essence of summer' in a touching statement to People; Channing as Rizzo in 1978 still from Grease

Touching: The 78-year-old actress called her Grease co-star 'the essence of summer' in a touching statement to People; Channing as Rizzo in 1978 still from Grease

Touching: The 78-year-old actress called her Grease co-star 'the essence of summer' in a touching statement to People; Newton-John as Sandy

Touching: The 78-year-old actress called her Grease co-star 'the essence of summer' in a touching statement to People; Newton-John as Sandy

Touching: The 78-year-old actress called her Grease co-star ‘the essence of summer’ and said she will ‘miss her enormously’ in a touching statement to People; (L) Channing as Rizzo (R) Newton-John as Sandy in 1978 stills from Grease 

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Sunny: 'I don't know if I've known a lovelier human being,' she said, adding, 'Her sunniness, her warmth and her grace are what always come to mind when I think of her'; Pictured 2001

Sunny: 'I don't know if I've known a lovelier human being,' she said, adding, 'Her sunniness, her warmth and her grace are what always come to mind when I think of her'; Pictured 2001

Sunny: ‘I don’t know if I’ve known a lovelier human being,’ she said, adding, ‘Her sunniness, her warmth and her grace are what always come to mind when I think of her’; Pictured 2001

The Grease star died with loved ones by her side at her ranch home in Southern California on Monday, according to her husband, John Easterling. 

‘Dame Olivia Newton-John (73) passed away peacefully at her Ranch in Southern California this morning, surrounded by family and friends,’ a Facebook post read. 

‘We ask that everyone please respect the family’s privacy during this very difficult time.

‘Olivia has been a symbol of triumphs and hope for over 30 years sharing her journey with breast cancer.

Iconic: Channing played Pink Lady Betty Rizzo alongside Newton-John's goody two shoes teenager Sandy Olsen in the iconic 1978 musical Grease

Iconic: Channing played Pink Lady Betty Rizzo alongside Newton-John's goody two shoes teenager Sandy Olsen in the iconic 1978 musical Grease

Iconic: Channing played Pink Lady Betty Rizzo alongside Newton-John’s goody two shoes teenager Sandy Olsen in the iconic 1978 musical Grease

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

Olivia got her big break in the movie musical, in which she starred opposite John Travolta’s hunky bad boy Danny Zuko – and originated the new song ‘Hopelessly Devoted To You’.

She famously resisted the part, at first turning down producer Allan Carr because she thought she was too old for the role.

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He won her over, and adapted the script to make the character an Australian ex-pat to accommodate her accent.

Lovely: Fellow co-star John Travolta, 68, was among the first to pay tribute, writing: 'I love you so much' and adding, 'Yours from the first moment I saw you and forever!'

Lovely: Fellow co-star John Travolta, 68, was among the first to pay tribute, writing: 'I love you so much' and adding, 'Yours from the first moment I saw you and forever!'

Lovely: Fellow co-star John Travolta, 68, was among the first to pay tribute, writing: ‘I love you so much’ and adding, ‘Yours from the first moment I saw you and forever!’

Sandy and Danny: Olivia got her big break in the movie musical, in which she starred opposite Travolta's hunky bad boy Danny Zuko

Sandy and Danny: Olivia got her big break in the movie musical, in which she starred opposite Travolta's hunky bad boy Danny Zuko

Sandy and Danny: Olivia got her big break in the movie musical, in which she starred opposite Travolta’s hunky bad boy Danny Zuko

When the movie was released, it was an immediate, international hit and she became a global sex symbol.

She would later defend her sweet-to-sexy transition for years to come and amid a wave of criticism from during the #MeToo movement.

‘It’s a movie. It’s a story from the 50s where things were different. Everyone forgets that, at the end, he changes for her, too. There’s nothing deep in there about the #MeToo movement. It’s just a girl who loves a guy, and she thinks if she does that, he’ll like her.

‘And he thinks if he does that, she’ll like him. I think that’s pretty real. People do that for each other. It was a fun love story.’

Fate: She famously resisted the part, at first turning down producer Allan Carr because she thought she was too old for the role; L-R Jeff Conaway (as Kenickie), Jamie Donnelly (as Jan), Newton-John, Kelly Ward (as Putzie), Travolta, and Channing

Fate: She famously resisted the part, at first turning down producer Allan Carr because she thought she was too old for the role; L-R Jeff Conaway (as Kenickie), Jamie Donnelly (as Jan), Newton-John, Kelly Ward (as Putzie), Travolta, and Channing

Fate: She famously resisted the part, at first turning down producer Allan Carr because she thought she was too old for the role; L-R Jeff Conaway (as Kenickie), Jamie Donnelly (as Jan), Newton-John, Kelly Ward (as Putzie), Travolta, and Channing

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