Olivia Newton-John's Publicist Speaks out After Emmy's 'In Memoriam' Snub

Olivia Newton-John's publicist is disappointed the late singer and actress was omitted from the "In Memoriam" tribute at the 2022 Emmy AwardsTMZ reported that Michael Caprio, Newton-John's publicist of 24 years, was personally disappointed by the decision. While Caprio acknowledged the family was still grieving and did not want to comment, he felt Emmy Awards executive producer Reggie Hudlin should have considered her substantial Hollywood background.

Caprio referred to Newton-John's acting credits in TV movies like A Mom For Christmas and appearances on American IdolRuPaul's Drag RaceMurphy Brown, Glee, and Dancing With the Stars. The Grease star's representative had responded to fan backlash over the exclusion of Newton-John and other celebrities from the annual memorial honoring the lives of deceased stars. Despite Newton-John's absence from the live tribute, her name does appear on the EmmysIn Memoriam site online.

The "In Memoriam" segment featured John Legend, who took the stage on Sept. 12 to sing his new song "Pieces." Some viewers criticized the use of wide shots during the EGOT winner's performance with the names of the memorialized in the background, making the words difficult to read. The celebrities featured included Betty White, Bob Saget, Sidney Poitier, Ray Liotta, Anne Heche, Bernard Shaw, Larry Sellers, Estelle Harris, John Madden, Nichelle Nichols, Gilbert Gottfried, Louie Anderson, Paul Sorvino, and James Caan. 

Among the other actors missing was Beverly Hills, 90210 stars Denise Dowse and Joe E. Tata, Pat Carroll (voice of Ursula in The Little Mermaid), Mary Alice, Taurean Blacque, Larry Storch, Lenny Von Dohlen, Maggie Peterson, Charles Siebert, Philip Baker Hall, David Birney, Norm Macdonald, and Scoey Mitchell.

Newton-John passed away in her Southern Californian home at 73, surrounded by family and friends. Her death came after a courageous and highly public battle with cancer that spanned decades, beginning in 1992 with another diagnosis in 2013, culminating with a final relapse in 2017. Cancer ran in Newton-John's family. Her father died of liver cancer at age 78, just before she was first diagnosed with breast cancer. She lost her elder sister, Rona, to a brain tumor at age 72 in 2013, and her older brother, Hugh, to cancer at age 80 in 2019.

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In 2015, Newton-John established the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Center in Melbourne, Australia, which conducts clinical trials for cancer treatments. The British-Australian activist is best known as Sandy in the 1978 musical film Grease with John Travolta, whose soundtrack still ranks among the top-selling albums worldwide. She has sold over 100 million records and won four Grammy awards.

Newton-John's death sparked public grief, with Australia's Victorian Premier Dan Andrews providing a state funeral for her family. Her husband, John Easterlingrevealed the Xanadu actor's final wish before she passed away was for donations in her memory to be made to her foundation fund instead of flowers.