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Keith Urban, Dolly Parton Share Tributes During Olivia Newton-John’s State Memorial

27 February 2023 | 11:58 am | Mallory Arbour

Olivia Newton-John died on August 8, 2022, at the age of 73.

(Image: via Facebook)

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Keith Urban and Dolly Parton were among the stars who contributed to a compilation video of tributes that was played during Olivia Newton-John's state memorial service on Sunday.

Other celebrities who shared their memories of the late singer, songwriter, actress, entrepreneur, and activist included Nicole Kidman, Cliff Richard, Barry Gibb, Mariah Carey, Elton John, P!nk, Hugh Jackman, RuPaul, Tina Arena and Richard Marx.

Urban shared, “I first met Livvy back in the late 90s at a songwriting retreat and the first thing that struck me about her was she was exactly as I’d imagined she’d be as a person. No pretences, no façade, just the real deal. Warm, friendly, kind, interested, just a real light.”

“Of course, then she played a big role in the night that my wife [Nicole Kidman] and I met. Nic and I met at an event in Los Angeles and Olivia was introducing me that night on stage and there she was part of our very early beginnings. So for that, and many more reasons, she’s always going to play a very special role in our life and place in our heart. 

“The extraordinary thing about Olivia is the legacy that she’s left. Not only in music and film but her humanitarian legacy is extraordinary and that’s the kind of thing that will go on for generations and help millions and millions of people. For that, and so many other reasons, I love you Livvy, we love you. We miss you. From all of us, thank you so much.”   

"We lost one of our greatest’s talents when Olivia left us,” Parton added. “Now I know it’s especially painful for all the folks there in Australia since she's one of your own. And as a country, you should be very proud and know that the whole world mourns with you. 

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"I had the honour of singing with her several times and I considered her a great friend, as well as a fellow entertainer. And Olivia, to quote one of your songs, 'I Honestly Love You.' Thank you for shining your light on us."

Parton's collaborations with Newton-John includes a joint re-recording of Parton's classic Jolene. Newton-John covered the song in 1976, three years after Parton originally released it. The music video and duet itself were recorded shortly before Newton-John's passing. 

The new version of Jolene will feature on the posthumous collection, Just The Two Of Us: The Duets Collection, which includes Mariah Carey, Barry Gibb, Michael McDonald, John Travolta, Vanessa Amorosi, Jon Secada and more. 

At the state memorial itself, Newton-John's husband John Easterling and her daughter Chloe Lattanzi both spoke, as did Delta Goodrem, who played the late star in the 2018 biopic series Olivia Newton-John: Hopelessly Devoted to You.

The service, which was held at Hamer Hall in Arts Centre Melbourne, was open to the public. It was also livestreamed and will be available to watch through March 5.

Newton-John died on August 8, 2022, at the age of 73, after a battle with breast cancer.