Helen Reddy, the Australian singer whose song from the early seventies “I Am Woman” served as an empowering feminist anthem for several generations, has died. Her children, Tracy Donat and Jordan Somers, confirmed the news through their official Facebook page on Wednesday.
“It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of our beloved mother, Helen Reddy, on the afternoon of September 29, 2020, in Los Angeles,” the statement said. “She was a wonderful mother, grandmother and a really scary woman. Our hearts are broken. But we take comfort in the knowledge that her voice will live forever. ”
Born in Melbourne, Australia, Reddy grew up in a show business family with parent actors. She performed as a child and later won a singing competition that took her to New York to audition for a recording contract. Although the situation did not materialize, she chose to stay in the United States and signed to Capitol Records. She recorded several singles that climbed the charts.
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But before her hits and fame, she fought as a single mother in New York, then later moved to Chicago with her then-husband and manager Jeff Wald, where she released the single “One-Way Ticket” at the Fountain, which modestly ranked in her native Australia.
Moving them to Los Angeles turned out to be more rewarding. It was there that she signed a contract with the Capitol and released her defining song “I Am Woman”, which she made with Ray Burton. Inspired by her participation in the women’s movement, she did not initially cause waves, but the song gained popularity and eventually climbed to the top of the charts, making her the first Australian singer to hit number one in the United States, and she also won a Grammy. During her Grammy speech, she thanked “God because He does everything possible.”
In the eighties she moved to MCA, where she released two albums, 1981 Play me and the 1983s Imagination. Her next music releases included albums from the nineties Feel so young on his own label, focused on tune Central stage and in 2000 she released the holiday album, The best Christmas ever.
In addition to his recording awards, Reddy has appeared in films and on television, appearing on shows such as The Carol Burnett Show, The doll show and was the host of his own The Helen Reddy Show. In the film, she starred in Pete’s dragon where her sung “Water Candle” won an Oscar nomination for Best Song. Her role in Airport 1975 won her a Golden Globe nomination. Her career also extended to musical theater, including her stay as Mrs. Johnstone in Blood brothers which opened on Broadway and in the West End in the 1990s.
She announced her retirement in 2002, but returned to the stage a decade later for several one-off performances.
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