There are few moments in Grease more memorable than Olivia Newton-John’s character Sandy forcing Danny, played by John Travolta, and the entire gang, really, to do a double-take by walking out in a leather-look in the final moments of the movie. It’s an ensemble that the conservative Sandy wouldn’t normally wear, and it was new territory for the actress, too.
“I’d never worn anything like that in my life,” Newton-John tells Yahoo Entertainment. “I kind of was the girl next door, and I dressed pretty conservatively, so this was a big switch for me. But it really helped me because — I’ve heard actors say this before, [and] I’m not a trained actor, so I wasn’t aware of it — but really getting into a costume and changing your hair and makeup gives you a whole new image about yourself, and it put me into character much more easily. ”
More than 40 years after the movie’s 1978 release, Newton-John is auctioning off the leather pants and jacket she wore in that famous scene and more than 500 other costumes, accessories and other personal items owned by the star are being sold Nov. 2 by Julien’s Auctions. A portion of the proceeds will benefit her own Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre in the place where she spent most of her childhood, Australia.
“I’m fond of all of them, because they all have memories and, you know, incredible moments associated with them,” Newton-John says of her belongings being sold. “But I have learned, with, you know, going through things in my life, that things are things and that’s not what’s important, but the memories are. So I feel very happy that, you know, these are things, and I’m not gonna take them with me, so better that somebody else enjoys them now.”
Initially, Newton-John only planned to auction off her pants and jacket. She changed her mind after flipping through other Julien’s catalogs and realizing that she could part with much more. She ended up putting a Pink Ladies jacket that the crew gifted her, the prom dress she wore to the movie’s premiere and other recognizable items on the block.
She still laughs when she remembers the reaction to her form-fitting leather look.
“The first night that I tried it on, we were on location. It was a very interesting evening because I got all made up and they were testing hair and makeup and everything,” she explained.
When Newton-John walked onto the set, the entire crew “kind of did a swivel.” Travolta’s eyes bulged.
“And it was like, ‘Whoa, what have I been doing wrong?’” the actress said. “So I thought, yeah, this is the right outfit.”
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