The Grease star introduced the In Memoriam segment at the 2023 Oscars ceremony.
Mon, 13 March 2023 at 7:32 am GMT
John Travolta choked back tears as he paid a special tribute to Dame Olivia Newton-John at the 95th Academy Awards.
The 69-year-old actor introduced the In Memoriam segment at the 2023 Oscars ceremony, remembering those in Hollywood film industry who have died in the past year, including his Grease co-star Newton-John, who died on 8 August 2022 after a long struggle with breast cancer.
Travolta said: “Each of them left an individual and indelible mark that shared and informed us. They’ve touched our hearts, they’ve made us smile, and became dear friends…”
Apparently struggling with his words he before he continued: “Who we will always remain hopelessly devoted to.”
This was a reference to Newton-John’s hit single Hopeless Devoted to You which she recorded as Sandy in the musical Grease.
The Australian singer, actor and philanthropist rose to fame after starring as Sandra Dee in the hit 1978 film, opposite Travola as Danny Zukko.
She died at the age of 73 after a long battle with breast cancer.
Also remembered at the ceremony was Travolta’s Look Who’s Talking co-star to Kirstie Alley, who died at the age of 71 in December 2022, following a short battle with cancer.
However, several stars were omitted from the In Memoriam montage.
Among those not mentioned was Anne Heche, who died aged 53 in August last year after she crashed her car into a house in Los Angeles while under the influence of narcotics.
Though she had never been nominated for an Oscar, her career was long and varied, with roles in crime thriller Donnie Brasco and rom com Six Days, Seven Nights with Harrison Ford.
Also omitted was Native American civil rights activist Sacheen Littlefeather who died at the age of 75.
The actor, model and civil rights activist was famous for her appearance at the 1973 Oscars ceremony where she turned down Marlon Brando‘s best actor award for The Godfather on his behalf, as a protest against the representation of Native Americans in film.
Goodfellas actors Paul Sorvino and Tony Sirico were left out of the montage, along with South African actor Charlbi Dean, who died aged just 32, shortly before the release of her film Triangle of Sadness.
Before Travolta took to the stage to introduce the In Memorium segment Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel joked: “Now it’s time for the interactive part of the show. Everybody, please get out your phones, it’s time to vote. If you think Robert Blake should be part of the In Memoriam montage, text, ‘give me a Blake’ to the number on your screen.”
Blake – star of In Cold Blood and 70s cop show Baretta – was revealed to have died aged 79 on Friday, 10 March, just days before the ceremony.
The actor’s career was eclipsed after he became known for being accused of murdering his second wife Bonny Lee Bakely outside of a restaurant in 2001.