As the news broke this evening, Travolta posted to his four million followers: “My dearest Olivia, you made all of our lives so much better. Your impact was incredible. I love you so much. We will see you down the road and we will all be together again. Yours from the first moment I saw you and forever! Your Danny, your John!” The Australian actress and singer passed away this morning at her home in South California, surrounded by friends and family.
Grease’s Danny Zuko and Sandy Olsson remain one of the great movie musical romantic pairings. From innocent puppy love on a beach all the way to leather-clad raunch by the end, their chemistry didn’t just give us chills, it was electrifying. And, it seems, the two stars themselves also felt the same way. Travolta and Newton-John have both spoken out about how that connection was very wonderfully (and innocently) real. She also said in her autobiography Don’t Stop Believin’: “Yes, we really liked each other and there was an attraction.” A passionate kiss at the film’s after-party fuelled the rumours even more. But, fans of the wholesome beloved Newton-John will be happy to know, there were honourable reasons why it never went any further.
In 2019, Travolta was asked directly whether there was sexual tension between the two of them and, as well as confirming it, said you can see it come to a head during one iconic number.
He said: “I think you saw that in You’re the One That I Want. There’s almost resolve of that tension right there.”
The song reveals Sandy in her new incarnation as a confident, sexy man-eater after a make-over from the Pink Ladies. When she purred, “Tell me about it, stud”, Danny, and most of the audience, understandably went wild for the sizzling new look.
But what really happened behind the scenes? What about that kiss photographed at the Paramount Studios after-party? And the one on camera revealed in 2018?
What fans didn’t know at the time was there had already been a rather passionate kiss on camera. Director Randall Kleiser had filmed a slightly different version of the ending which he had not been able to use but finally revealed in 2018. In this one, as they fly away, Sandy and Danny smooch.
Co-star Did Conn, who played Frenchie, revealed that the kiss was very real and not scripted: “You see for a moment she’s surprised and then she responds. It’s juicy and it’s great. They weren’t acting in that moment, it was like he had his chance and he was going to take it. It was real, it really was.”
WATCH THE ALTERNATE ENDING AND KISS BELOW:
Cute kisses on screen and at parties aside, both stars had always denied anything went beyond the mutual attraction and it developed into the deep friendship that they maintained until today. Newton-John opened up in 2018 and explained why she was happy that they never acted on their passion: “We were both with other people when we were filming and I think, respectfully, it just didn’t happen.”
She was still with her manager boyfriend, Lee Kramer, in a tumultuous relationship that would fizzle out by 1979. Travolta was with actress Diana Hyland, who was battling breast cancer and would die in March 1977.
Newton-John added: “I think it was good because I think it kept the tension there and the chemistry. It might have been a real disaster had we decided to date or we had a falling out or something. So I think it was just as well that it didn’t happen. But we’re still great friends.”