John Travolta will always be hopelessly devoted to Olivia Newton-John.
The Hollywood legend used his appearance at the Academy Awards on Monday to pay tribute to his late Grease co-star, who died in 2022 after a long battle with cancer.
Travolta broke down in tears while introducing the ‘In Memoriam’ segment, in which he included a personal farewell to Newton-John.
“In this industry, we have the rare luxury of getting to do what we love for a living. And sometimes, getting to do it with people that we’ve come to love,” Travolta said.
“And since tonight is a celebration of the work and the accomplishments of our community in this past year, it is only fitting then that we celebrate those we’ve lost who dedicated their lives to their craft both in front of and behind the camera. Through the immeasurable contributions each of them left an individual and indubitable mark that shared and informed us.”
Travolta grew emotional as he alluded to his relationship with Newton-John.
‘Touched our hearts’
“They’ve touched our hearts, they made us smile, and became dear friends who we will always remain hopelessly devoted to,” referencing her hit song Hopelessly Devoted To You from Grease.
The heartfelt tribute prompted an audible chorus of appreciation from the audience.
The actor’s eyes began welling with tears and his voice wavered as he introduced rock legend Lenny Kravitz to perform Calling All Angels for the In Memoriam tribute.
Newton-John died in August after a long battle with breast cancer, aged 73.
The Australian actor and singer was first diagnosed with cancer in 1992, and subsequently underwent a partial mastectomy and reconstruction surgery.
She was informed that her cancer had returned in 2013, and again in 2018.
Throughout her health troubles, she dedicated much of her life to helping others battling cancer, becoming a prominent breast cancer campaigner and advocate.
Remembered as a visionary
Newton-John was farewelled at a state memorial service in Melbourne on February 26, where she was remembered as a visionary who cared deeply about others and the world around her.
Although Travolta was not present at the memorial service, he and Newton-John remained close friends after he played the ‘Danny’ to her ‘Sandy’ 46 years ago.
Following her passing, Travolta shared a touching tribute, in which he said his dear friend had made an “incredible impact”.
“My dearest Olivia, you made all our lives so much better,” Travolta wrote on Instagram.
“I love you so much. See you down the road and we will all be together again,” he said. “Yours from the first moment I saw you.”
Travolta signed his tribute: “Your Danny, your John”.
This year’s In Memoriam segment paid tribute to dozens of others in the film industry no longer with us.
Tribute to legends
Actors Ray Liotta, Raquel Welch, and Angela Lansbury, composer Burt Bacharach and director Jean-Luc Godard were among the influential figures remembered for their contributions to the industry.
Travolta’s Look Who’s Talking co-star Kirstie Alley was also farewelled in the segment. The actor passed away in December from colon cancer.
As expected, omissions of some high-profile Hollywood stars sparked online debate.
Late actors Anne Heche, Leslie Jordan and Charlbi Dean (who starred in Oscar-nominated film Triangle of Sadness) were all missing from the tribute.
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