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‘Grease’ star Didi Conn on the last time she spoke to Olivia Newton-John


“Grease” star Didi Conn says she spoke to Olivia Newton-John for the last time “just a few weeks before” her death.

The actress, who played “Beauty School Dropout” Frenchy in the beloved musical, remained close to her co-star throughout the years and regularly kept in contact.

“We spoke like once a month or so,” Conn, 71, recently told Page Six in an exclusive interview.

“She was in the hospital at the time [we last spoke]. She had broken a leg and didn’t even notice. Like, her bones were just cracking.”

Despite being ill with cancer, the “Physical” singer berated her pal when she heard Conn had been sick, too.

“She said, ‘What?! Why didn’t you tell me?’” Conn remembered. “And the next day, I got this beautiful orchid plant. And three days before she died one of the orchid flowers fell down and my heart stopped.”

She added, “I said, ‘I hope that’s not a sign.’”

Didi Conn and Olivia Newton-John in 2015.
Conn remained firm friends with Newton-John over the years.

As previously reported, Newton-John, who was an outspoken advocate for cancer research, lost her battle with breast cancer in August 2022 at the age of 73.

She was first diagnosed with cancer in 1992 and again in 2013 and 2017. The disease eventually progressed to stage 4.

During our interview, Conn also recalled when Newton-John received her first cancer diagnosis.

A scene from "Grease" featuring Olivia Newton-John.
Conn didn’t know the film would become a beloved classic.
Getty Images
A scene from "Grease."
Conn played Frenchy, one of the Pink Ladies in “Grease.”
CBS via Getty Images
A scene from "Grease" starring Stockard Channing.
Conn says all the “Grease” stars have stayed in contact.
©Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection

Chloe [her daughter] was very little,” she recalled. “Her priorities about stardom andall of that just flipped to living, to being the best mom, being the best friend. And also being an advocate and a spokesperson for cancer and thriving, as she said, surviving but thriving. And that’s really what she dedicated her life to – besides performing.”

Conn remembers going to see Newton-John in concert and being pulled on stage.

“Oh my god, the place would go beserk,” she said with a laugh, adding that Newton-John always sang “I Love You, I Honestly Love You” for the encore.

Cast of "Benson."
Conn also starred in “Benson” with Robert Guillaume.
©Columbia Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

“And I’d be standing there in the wings near the stage, looking out, watching her having just danced her heart out,” she said. “Towards the end she wasn’t dancing because her cancer had gone to her sacrum and back, but [she was still] giving her 110% to the audience.”

Conn continued, “And then she would say, ‘I honestly love you,’ and put her hands out to the audience in such a loving, honest way. She honestly loved them and they loved her.”

The “Benson” alum also confessed to Page Six that she had no idea while filming “Grease” that it would become such a beloved classic.

Didi Conn in "Grease 2."
Conn also appeared in the movie’s sequel, “Grease 2.”
©Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection

“I I had… if I knew I would’ve asked for points!” she joked, noting that Paramount also had no clue that the film would become so successful.

So successful that it has spawned an upcoming prequel series, “Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies,” which takes place four years before the events of “Grease” and follows the Pink Ladies girl posse.

For more Page Six you love …

Conn told us she is “excited” to see the series.

“Somebody came up to me and said they had seen it or seen part of it. And they thought they did a really great job, that it had that wonderful ‘Grease’ spirit, you know, and fun,” she revealed. “And, you know, ‘Grease’ was about firsts. First love, first heartbreak, you know, first car, first career disappointment for Frenchy.”


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