In 2019, Olivia Newton-John was brought to tears when the buyer who purchased her iconic leather jacket from Grease returned the timeless Hollywood item to the singer and actress. The man, who wishes not to be identified, is blurred out in the video of Newton-John opening the gift, which was shared on the Facebook page for Julien's Auctions.
"This jacket belongs to you and the collective soul of those who love you, those for whom you are the soundtrack of their lives. It should not sit in a billionaire's closet for country club bragging rights," the buyer said.
Newton-John was visibly moved by the buyer's generosity.
"Are you serious?" the star asked while wiping away tears.
The jacket and skin-tight pants worn by Newton-John in the closing scene of the 1978 film sold at Julien's Auction for $405,700 in November. The jacket was sold to the anonymous bidder for $243,200, while the pants sold for $162,500 to a different buyer.
Now battling cancer for the third time since 1992, Newton-John decided to sell over 500 items from throughout her career to benefit her cancer center in Australia. All proceeds from the sale of the outfit go to the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre in Melbourne. In addition to the black leather ensemble, Newton-John auctioned off more personal items and memorabilia from her career, including the "Sandy" Pink Ladies jacket, a Grease poster and a pair of bell-bottom jeans worn on "The Midnight Special."
Newton-John first battled stage 4 breast cancer in 1992. She beat cancer once again in 2013. In 2017, she learned that the cancer had metastasized and spread to her bones.
"When you're given a cancer diagnosis or a scary honest diagnosis, you're suddenly given a possibility of a time limit. The truth is, you could get hit by a truck tomorrow. So every day is a gift, particularly now," she told 60 Minutes Australia in 2019.
The same year, Newton-John and her Grease co-star dressed up as their beloved characters, Sandy and Danny, for the first time since the film. The pair reunited for the Meet n' Grease sing-along event in West Palm Beach, Florida in December of 2019.
Newton-John shared a behind-the-scenes snapshot of the movie couple looking as happy as they did during those "Summer Nights."
Grease, based on the 1971 musical of the same name, was released in 1978. The film, starring Newton-John as Sandy Olsen, John Travolta as Danny Zuko and Stockard Channing as Betty Zuko, was the highest-grossing musical film at the time. The film's soundtrack was a huge hit as well. "You're the One That I Want," written by John Farrar, sold over 6 million copies in the U.S. and hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Newton-John's pre-Grease career featured a string of country and pop hits, including "Let Me Be There," a top 10 country hit later recorded by Elvis Presley, Tanya Tucker and as a duet between Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn.
This article was originally published in Dec. of 2019.