Husband John Easterling pays tribute to late wife Olivia Newton-John at G’Day USA 2023

John Easterling, husband of Olivia Newton-John, who sadly passed away on 8 August 2022, paid tribute to his late wife in an emotional speech at this year’s G’Day USA celebrations in Los Angeles.

At the G’Day USA Arts Gala, which he attended together with Olivia’s daughter Chloe Lattanzi, John Easterling spoke the following beautiful words about his late wife:

... On behalf of Chloe, myself and the family, I would just like to express my gratitude to this community for all the the love and support that has come our way the last several months. It is deeply appreciated. I want to give a warm and special thank you to Delta for her friendship and support.

Olivia and I unexpectedly, madly, deeply forever fell in love in the Amazon rainforest. For the past 15 years I’ve been blessed to share the depth and the passion of her being. We shared a love and a happiness on an order of magnitude that I didn’t even think was possible. Every day with Olivia was a bit of magic. Every day with Olivia was supernatural. She was the most courageous and compassionate woman I’ve ever known, with an uncommon capacity to genuinely care about other people. There is her caring and healing that lives on in two great initiatives that bear her name the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness Centre in Australia and the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund in America – the research in finding medicine for cancer. You know, there is an old and proven principle that like attracts like, and Olivia knew that her voice and her huge profile of talents were a gift. And she accepted this natural gift, they were just part of who she was. And she very conscientiously and very generously gave those gifts into the world, and the world responded in like kind showing Olivia recognition and support both professionally and personally. Her legacy continues as a joyful healing spirit that was continuously focused on moving things, in her words, into the ‘love and the light.

Apart from her husband John’s tribute, actor Paul Hogan also paid tribute to his good friend of many years by reminiscing. He tells of their first meeting in the eighties and of the last project they worked on, the movie The Excellent Mr. Dundee, for which Olivia did some cameo scenes while she was in excruciating pain – but did not want to let her friend down. (Shortly after she was admitted to her own hospital in Melbourne, where they discovered she had fractured her sacrum, confirming that the cancer had spread to her lower back).

At the Gala Paul said: “The kid was in pain but she was worried about the extras getting cold.” And: “She was the nicest person you’d ever want to meet.” 

Olivia and G’Day USA: a perfect match for many years

The G’Day USA gala is a yearly event that celebrates Australians who are living and working in the USA in the field of entertainment. At the gala remarkable Australians are honoured and rewarded. Olivia has been a regular guest and presenter at the G’Day USA galas since its inception twenty years ago.

In 2018 Olivia honored her great mate songwriter and producer John Farrar who has been so instrumental to her career as a singer and was the composer of the Grease hit singles ‘You’re the One that I Want’ and ‘Hopelessly Devoted to You’. Farrar, who is a shy person in real life and is not so much used to the spotlight as Olivia felt somewhat uncomfortable on the red carpet. At the gala he was awarded for ‘Outstanding Achievement in the Arts’.

In 2013 Olivia had the honour of presenting her good friend and Australia lover John Travolta with the Goodwill Ambassador award. (Travolta is a Quantas ambassador and even had Olivia join him once as a special flight attendant on the Airbus 380 maiden flight in 2008!)

In 2011 Olivia presented Barry Gibb of Bee Gees fame with the ‘Excellence in Music’ award. Barry said he considered this recognition to be one of the most special he had ever received. At the gala a tribute video was shown highlighting his and his brothers’ career.

Olivia Newton-John and her good friend Barry GIbb attend the 2011 G'Day USA Gala
Olivia and Barry Gibb at G’Day USA 2011

And in 2006 Olivia herself was presented with the ‘Life Achievement Award’ by her long time friend John Travolta. In those days the gala still had to gain popularity and it is difficult to find footage and photos from the event.
She responded to the recognition with the following words:
“I’m just thrilled. Listen: I’ve lived several lifetimes, I think and this is another one. And I’m just thrilled to be here and I’m thrilled! I’m going to enjoy every moment. Instead of being nervous, I’m gonna just enjoy every second, because life is short and fleeting, and the good moments aren’t always there, so I’m very happy.”

John Travolta presents Olivia Newton-John with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2066 G'Day LA Gala

Here’s a small retrospective from 2013 looking back on ten years of G’Day USA:

Delta Goodrem

At the 2023 G’Day USA Gala Delta Goodrem, who has called Olivia her mentor and a very good friend, performed some classic Olivia songs as a tribute.

Delta and Olivia have known each other for a long time. In 2017 Delta played Olivia in a biopic which Olivia herself at the time was not too happy about it being made. She did say however that she trusted Delta portraying her, because it assured her the production would be made sincerely and respectfully and true to the facts. The two part biopic titled ‘Olivia Newton-John: Hopelessly Devoted to You‘ aired on Australian television in 2017. Olivia and Delta even re-recorded some of Olivia’s old songs for the soundtrack. A shortened version of the movie aired in the US, but because so much was left out it did not get good reviews over there.

Right here with you

Delta and Olivia have worked together on numerous occasions and forged a true friendship which began after Delta was diagnosed with cancer at a young age. They have also recorded together to raise money for Olivia’s hospital, the ONJCWRC, in Melbourne, Australia. The song ‘Right Here With You’ is featured on Olivia’s 2008 duets album A Celebration in Song.

Dolfilms: fundraiser for the ONJCWRC and the ONJ Foundation

Dolfilms is a fundraiser for the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre and the ONJ Foundation Fund. A portion of the proceeds of photo sales will be donated. I sell stock photos and POD product through several outlets. This year I have added a special ONJ Collection to my Zazzle shop to raise funds as part the annual Olivia’s Walk For Wellness.

Find out more about the Zazzle collection here.