LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess) — Australian country music legend and activist Helen Reddy died on Sept. 29th in Los Angeles. She was 78.
Her passing was confirmed by statement by her family on her official Facebook page on Wednesday.
It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved mother, Helen Reddy, on the afternoon of September 29th, 2020 in Los Angeles,” the statement said.
“She was a wonderful Mother, Grandmother and a truly formidable woman. Our hearts are broken. But we take comfort in the knowledge that her voice will live on forever.”
A cause of death for Reddy was not disclosed but Reddy had been suffering from Addison’s Disease and dementia for several years.
Born in Melbourne to a show business family, Reddy began pursuing a career as a performer in Australia. In 1966, she won a televised talent competition, and the prize included a ticket to New York City to take part in an audition with a U.S. record label.
When she arrived, she was a single mother of a three-year-old with $200 dollars in her pocket, but she was determined to stay in the U.S. and make a name for herself.
The early years for Reddy were challenging and due to the lack of a work permit, she often had to travel to Canada, where citizens of Commonwealth countries could find employment.
She also was featured at impromptu performances in New York City where the door fee helped raise money for Reddy’s monthly rent payments.
By 1971, her diligence began to pay off. Reddy, with help from her agent and romantic partner Jeff Wald, landed a recording contract with Capital and she scored a hit with the b side ‘I Don’t Know How to Love Him.’
The following year, she released what would become her signature hit “I am woman” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and propelled Reddy to the top of the charts in Australia, making her the first female recording artist to do so.
The track, which by then had become a feminist anthem, earned Reddy a Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.
Reddy went on to release more than a dozen top 40 hits, including “Emotion”, “Leave Me Alone (Ruby Red Dress)”, and “Angie Baby.”
Along with her career as a recording artist, she parlayed her success into opportunities on the big and small screen, and stage. She was a frequent guest on variety and late-night talk shows, including The Bobby Darin Show, The Carol Burnett Show, and The Muppet Show.
She also portrayed a nun in the disaster film Airport 1975, which earned her a Golden Globe for most promising female newcomer.
As her musical career faded through the 1980s and 1990s, she launched a career in theater, and appeared in productions on Broadway and London’s West End.
In 2012, she briefly revived her musical career, appearing in several benefit concerts.
Following her passing, Reddy’s friend and fan club president Jim Keaton paid tribute to her on Facebook.
“Quiet Please, There is a Lady Leaving the Stage. I am so very thankful to Traci and Jordan for sharing their mother with me. And to Helen for adding more to my life than I can ever explain or describe. She always left me feeling loved (even when I got on her last nerve!) and that I mattered. That, in itself, is a rare and precious gift that I will treasure for the rest of my life.”