‘Dancing With the Stars’ Guest Judge Dies


ABC "Dancing With the Stars"

“Dancing With the Stars” guest judge Olivia Newton-John has died at the age of 73. The singer, dancer and actress died peacefully at her Southern California ranch on Monday, August 8, a representative for her family posted to her official Facebook page, as first reported by TMZ.

Newton-John’s cause of death has not been officially released, but a source close to the actress told TMZ, “After a 30-year cancer journey, she lost her battle to metastatic breast cancer.” Newton-John was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992 and it has recurred and then gone into remission several times since then.

The official Facebook post reads:

Dame Olivia Newton-John (73) passed away peacefully at her Ranch in Southern California this morning, surrounded by family and friends. 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. Her healing inspiration and pioneering experience with plant medicine continues with the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund, dedicated to researching plant medicine and cancer. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that any donations be made in her memory to the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund (ONJFoundationFund.org).

Olivia is survived by her husband John Easterling; daughter Chloe Lattanzi; sister Sarah Newton-John; brother Toby Newton-John; nieces and nephews Tottie, Fiona and Brett Goldsmith; Emerson, Charlie, Zac, Jeremy, Randall, and Pierz Newton-John; Jude Newton-Stock, Layla Lee; Kira and Tasha Edelstein; and Brin and Valerie Hall.

– via John Easterling, husband, Olivia Newton-John

Olivia Newton-John Guest-Judged on Season 21

In season 21, Julianne Hough joined the judges’ panel in Len Goodman’s place and several guest judges were welcomed throughout the season. Newton-John guest-judged in week 6, which was when couples re-created iconic dance numbers from film and television. Hayes Grier and Emma Slater performed Newton-John and John Travolta’s iconic “Grease” number “You’re the One That I Want.”

Newton-John’s daughter Chloe also competed on season 17 of the Australian version of “Dancing With the Stars,” finishing in sixth place with her pro partner Gustavo Viglio. The singer also made a surprise appearance during “Grease” night of season 30 in the fall of 2021.

At the time, a rep for the dancer told E! News, “Olivia Newton-John will be making a surprise guest appearance on Monday’s show, in support of the competing couples who will dance to the music from her iconic film role.”

That night, couples performed all of the major songs from “Grease,” the 1978 film that propelled Newton-John to international stardom, and “Grease” actor and pop star Frankie Avalon was on hand to perform “Beauty School Dropout” live in the ballroom; there was also a special appearance by Newton-John’s co-star Didi Conn, who played Frenchie in the film.

The performance list was as follows:

  • Jimmie Allen and Emma Slater performed a foxtrot to “Sandy.”
  • Melanie C and Gleb Savchenko performed a quickstep to “You’re the One That I Want.”
  • Melora Hardin and Artem Chigvintsev performed a Viennese waltz tp “Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee.”
  • Olivia Jade and Val Chmerkovskiy performed a foxtrot to “Summer Nights.”
  • Amanda Kloots and Alan Bersten performed a Viennese waltz to “Beauty School Dropout.”
  • Suni Lee and Sasha Farber performed a Charleston to “Born to Hand Jive.”
  • The Miz and Witney Carson performed a jive to “Greased Lightnin’.”
  • Kenya Moore and Brandon Armstrong performed rumba a to “There Are Worse Things I Could Do.”
  • Cody Rigsby and Cheryl Burke performed a quickstep to “We Go Together.”
  • Iman Shumpert and Daniella Karagach performed a Viennese waltz to “Hopelessly Devoted to You.”
  • JoJo Siwa and Jenna Johnson performed a foxtrot to “Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee [Reprise].”

After her guest appearance on “Dancing With the Stars” season 30, Newton-John appeared on “The Talk” alongside season 30 contestant and “Talk” co-host Amanda Kloots, who asked Newton-John what she thought of the ballroom “Grease” tribute.

“I can’t wait to see it, I have it on tape because I had a gathering I had to go to, but I have it on tape and I can’t wait to watch you. Amanda, my friend in Australia adores you. … She actually made me this sweater, so she wanted me to say please say hello to her,” said Newton-John.

Newton-John’s Foundation Is Focused on Plant-Based Medicine Research for Cancer

In early 2021, Newton-John told “The Morning Show” in Australia that she was “very focused” on her foundation and its cancer research funding. Her foundation focuses on finding plant-based medicine sources, according to its website.

“I’m just very, very happy that I’m here and doing well and very focused on the foundation fund and raising money to fund research into plant medicine for cancer, that’s my dream is to find kinder treatments for cancer and that’s what we’re doing,” said Newton-John.

Her daughter added, “I am [so proud], I’m beyond proud. It’s become my passion to spread the word about plant medicine because Amazon John, my mom’s husband, has just changed the way that I see cancer treatment and seeing how healthy and amazing and strong my mom is, I want that for everyone. I want them to know what I know and to see what I’ve seen, so it’s shaped who I am as a person and the changes that I want to make in the world.”

Newton-John is survived by her husband John Easterling, whom she married in 2008, and her daughter Chloe, 36, from her first marriage to Matt Lattanzi.

“Dancing With the Stars” returns for its 31st season on Monday, September 19, on Disney Plus.

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