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John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John Back in their Grease Roles for Fans

Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta in Grease (1978). Photo by Paramount/Getty Images
Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta in Grease (1978). Photo by Paramount/Getty Images

Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta are back as Sandy Olsson and Danny Zuko from Grease. Not in a new movie, but in a special appearance at a public event.

The recent “Meet ‘n Grease” in Florida was a get together for fans looking to sing along to the classic musical and relive the days of Pink Ladies and T-Birds. And the stars delighted fans by rocking up in a variety of outfits.

Newton-John (now 71) was pictured in her iconic yellow cardigan and skirt. Holding her hand was Travolta (65), all quiffed up and clad in black leather. Both actors hadn’t appeared in costume since their big screen outing in 1978. “So excited!” Newton-John wrote on Instagram.


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First time in costume since we made the movie ! So excited!!

A post shared by Olivia Newton-john (@therealonj) on

A Q & A saw her change into another memorable ensemble – a leather jacket and leggings. Newton-John was famously sown into the leggings for the film, where she duetted on “You’re The One That I Want” with Travolta. Other standout tracks from the flick include “Hopelessly Devoted To You” and of course the title track. “Grease” is short for “greasers”, the young working class subculture who worshipped fast cars and super slick hairstyles.


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We had such a fantastic time! FLORIDA is the word too!!

A post shared by Olivia Newton-john (@therealonj) on

The plot concerns Danny and Sandy meeting during her vacation from Australia. As the pair fall deeply in love and sing about it for all to hear, audiences were also introduced to an amusing array of high school characters. Stockard Channing played Betty, who was in charge of the Pink Ladies gang. Her main squeeze Kenickie was Danny’s best pal, with Jeff Conaway taking on the role. Didi Conn is remembered fondly as Frenchy, who forms a strong bond with Sandy.


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Last night’s show in Jacksonville! Thank you Florida for being so amazing!

A post shared by John Travolta (@johntravolta) on

Talking of strong bonds, Newton-John and Travolta are still as close as ever. Speaking to Us Weekly at the premiere of his movie The Fanatic, the actor commented: “We were together not that long ago, about three months ago, and we text each other all the time. It’s wonderful … If I go to see her in her show, we go backstage and hang out, and I watch the show and all that. If I go to see her personally, we usually have dinner and catch up. And recently we’ve been talking about trying to do something together.”

That connection has no doubt been strengthened following news that Newton-John is battling cancer for a third time. A breast cancer diagnosis in 2017 revealed she is in stage four of the disease, and doesn’t know how long she has to live. Even decades on, Grease is still an important part of her career.

Talking to the Telegraph in 2017 she said about the movie, “I was very nervous about making the film, because I was an Australian, but they said, ‘That’s OK, you can do an Australian accent.’” The age gap between her and Travolta concerned her, though he was no spring chicken for the part in his early 20s! “I worried that at 29 I was too old to play a high-school girl. But John was charming and really wanted me to do it, and that was one of the deciding factors. He’s a lovely man – we became great friends and he was very helpful to me on set, as I was not an experienced actress.”

She went on to appear in cult fantasy musical Xanadu (1980), the last production of veteran star Gene Kelly. More recently, she appeared on RuPaul’s Drag Race and Dancing With The Stars. Her last recorded film appearance was in horror comedy Sharknado 5: Global Swarming! Travolta had already been a star at the time of Grease from his Oscar nominated performance in Saturday Night Fever. He later made a famous comeback with his Oscar nominated performance in Pulp Fiction. But for many of us he’ll always be the dad from Look Who’s Talking, or perhaps Vinnie Barberino in Welcome Back Kotter.

Grease has been staged around the world, and will go on entertaining crowds for years to come. A sequel, Grease 2, was made in 1982 with Michelle Pfeiffer and Maxwell Caulfield playing the leads. As of this year, a prequel is reported to be in development.

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Newton-John received a touching tribute when she sold her leather jacket from Grease for $243, 300. Intended to raise money for her cancer research center, the winning bidder surprised her by returning it. “The odds of beating a recurring cancer using the newest emerging therapies is a thousand-fold greater than someone appearing out of the blue, buying your most famous and cherished icon, and returning it to you, which is what I’m going to do right now,” the buyer said in a video, adding it “should not sit in a billionaire’s closet for country club bragging rights.”

This gesture alone sums up why Grease and its star are so beloved by millions.