Her hopelessly devoted lure Olivia at last
Sunday Morning Herald
January 29, 2008
"SEE you at Mardi Gras."
Those were Olivia Newton-John's parting words to Heath Ledger's gay cowboy mate Adam Sutton as he farewelled the singer at her Malibu home at the weekend before returning home to his horses on the Central Coast, where he's hoping for some quiet time in the saddle after a surreal week in Los Angeles in the wake of Ledger's shocking death.
New pardners … Adam Sutton and Olivia Newton-John in LA.
After years of trying, Mardi Gras organisers have secured the services of the entertainment icon for the March 1 closing party as the festival marks its 30th anniversary. Newton-John is geared to deliver one of the campest Mardi Gras dawn shows yet with her exclusive gig. Discussions are continuing as to which of her hits Newton-John will sing, but there are promises of dozens of back-up dancers and a guarantee that everyone present will know the words.
Judging by her conversation with Sutton, all that remains is for the i's to be dotted and t's crossed on the contract. "She's definitely doing it," he says.
For Newton-John, the performance will seal her status as one of that select group of female singers whose age - she turns 60 in September - doesn't preclude adoration from a large gay fan base; Barbra Streisand, Cher, Bette Midler and Liza Minnelli are similarly well-loved. It will be Newton-John's first performance at a gay festival, suggesting that 30 years after tossing aside her good-girl image in the finale of Grease, she's doing it all over again.
If nothing else, it should help prepare TV viewers for her most radical makeover yet: Newton-John has just finished filming a TV series in which she reprises her role in the 2000 cult film Sordid Lives - playing a tattooed, lesbian, gum-chewing ex-con named Bitsy-Mae Harling.
Eat your heart out, Sandra Dee.
No one is happier about Newton-John's Mardi Gras gig than Sutton, who led last year's parade with Rupert Everett. The horseman bonded with Newton-John during a flying visit to LA that was supposed to be about promoting his participation in her Great Walk to Beijing charity event in April - but ended up consumed by the media hurricane that followed Ledger's death.
The Herald journalist Neil McMahon, the co-author of Sutton's memoir Say It Out Loud, reports that it was Newton-John's generous embrace that helped ease the blow for the 33-year-old from Cooranbong. Immediately under siege - Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood and People magazine were among those chasing him - Sutton had the blessing of the Ledger family to pay tribute to the actor, and used the platform given him to set an example. He announced that his planned donation of book royalties to Newton-John's cancer centre appeal would now be made in Ledger's name.
The same goes for all funds he raises for his Great Wall of China trek with Newton-John. "He's left me a legacy and I plan to use it," Sutton says. Newton-John is thrilled by the Ledger tribute, telling the cowboy: "It'll make him part of it."
Sutton is now back in Australia, but plans to fly to Perth to say a more private goodbye at Ledger's funeral. Then between Mardi Gras and China there will be more charity work.
As the public face of the ChillOut festival in Daylesford, Victoria, from March 7 to 10, he has waived all fees and expenses, asking that they be donated to the festival's chosen beneficiary, the Better Buddies anti-bullying program of the Allanah and Madeline Foundation.
Article From:: Australian Sunday Morning Herald