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Olivia Newton-John once wore ‘Cleopatra wig’ to evade the paparazzi, nephew reveals

Brett Goldsmith said their bid to evade photographers came to nought as everybody recognized her
Olivia Newton-John died on August 8 (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
Olivia Newton-John died on August 8 (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Olivia Newton-John's death because of breast cancer at the age of 73 has left many heartbroken. As her fans continue to pay tribute to the four-time Grammy winner, her friends and family are recalling fond memories of her. Remembering the 'Grease' icon, her nephew has spoken about the time when she wore a “Cleopatra wig” in an attempt to evade the paparazzi.

Brett Goldsmith told PEOPLE, “Other than being the wonderful caring person who always called and asked about how life was going for you, she was the best fun to be around, humble and funny.”


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The son of Olivia's elder sister, Rona, who also died because of cancer in 2013, said the singer’s charisma was such that she had to make extra effort to avoid people’s attention. Mentioning a Paris tour to which Brett tagged along with his aunt in 1978, he said, "She had a makeup artist and costume designer come to the hotel to make her up in disguise. She chose a Cleopatra wig and makeup and some crazy coat. It took hours to do, and when she was finally ready to leave we walked out of the hotel thinking we had fooled everyone.”

Olivia Newton-John attends the Academy Presents
Olivia Newton-John attends the Academy Presents "Grease" (1978) 40th Anniversary at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater on August 15, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

However, he claimed that within “seconds”, they understood that "there was no disguising" for Olivia and “and nobody was fooled.” “We spent the next hour racing in the car from the photographers and fans,” Brett explained, before adding: “Even into her 60s and beyond, everywhere she went in the world both young and old were drawn to her. I was lucky to be in her family, and I was proud that she recorded some of my songs and we wrote together. I also got to photograph her, and we always had a blast together. She is a rare human that can never be replaced nor forgotten.”

Olivia's death was announced by her husband, John Easterling, on her social media pages. Easterling wrote in the statement, “Dame Olivia Newton-John (73) passed away peacefully at her Ranch in Southern California this morning, surrounded by family and friends. We ask that everyone please respect the family’s privacy during this very difficult time.”


The post went on to say, “Olivia has been a symbol of triumphs and hope for over 30 years sharing her journey with breast cancer. Her healing inspiration and pioneering experience with plant medicine continues with the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund, dedicated to researching plant medicine and cancer. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that any donations be made in her memory to the @onjfoundation.”

“Olivia is survived by her husband John Easterling; daughter Chloe Lattanzi; sister Sarah Newton-John; brother Toby Newton-John; nieces and nephews Tottie, Fiona and Brett Goldsmith; Emerson, Charlie, Zac, Jeremy, Randall, and Pierz Newton-John; Jude Newton-Stock, Layla Lee; Kira and Tasha Edelstein; and Brin and Valerie Hall,” it added.

Olivia Newton-John attends the VIP reception for upcoming
Olivia Newton-John attends the VIP reception for upcoming "Property of Olivia Newton-John Auction Event at Julien’s Auctions on October 29, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)


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Below the announcement post, talk show host Leeza Gibbons wrote, “A true inspiration and a dear friend whose heart was pure gold. She was simply magic. Grace, goodness, courage. Your legacy is powerful sweet Olivia. Rest peacefully.” Australian singer Dannii Minogue commented, “My love to John and all the family. My heart breaks for you, as the world is in mourning - what a true shining light Olivia was in every day, in every way.” “What a loss. RIP to the loveliest lady @therealonj 🕊,” Kelly Ripa added.