Photo: Canadian Press
File – This January 12, 2013, in a file photo, Helen Reddy arrives at the G Day USA Gala at the JW Marriott LA Live Online in Los Angeles. Reddy, an Australian-born singer who had a persistent hit with her feminist anthem “I Am Woman”, died in Los Angeles at the age of 78. Reddy’s children announced their mother’s death on Tuesday evening, September 29, 2020, as they were heartbroken, “they are comforted by the knowledge that her throat will live forever.” (Photo by Richard Shotwell / Invision / AP, file)
Helen Reddy shot into the stardom in the 1970s with her passionate feminist anthem “I Am Woman” and recorded a string of other hits. She is 78 years old.
Reddy’s children Tracy and Jordan announced on Tuesday that the actor-singer had died in Los Angeles. “She is a wonderful mother, grandmother and a really formidable woman,” they said in a statement. “Our hearts are broken. But we find solace in the knowledge that her voice lives on forever. ”
Reddy’s 1971 edition of “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” from “Jesus Christ Superstar” launched a string of top 40 hits over a decade, three of which reached No. 1.
The Australian-born singer appeared as a singing nun in “Airport 1975” and “There is no way to treat a lady,” “Delta Dawn,” “Angie Baby” and “You and Me Against the World.”
In 1973, she won the Grammy Award for Best Female Vocal Pop Performance for “I Am Woman”, thanking her then-husband and others in her acceptance speech.
“I only have 10 seconds, so I want to thank everyone from Sony Capital Records, because Jeff Wald makes my success possible and I thank God she makes everything possible,” Reddy said, lifting her up and clapping loudly in the air. She also performed a song at the ceremony.
“I Am Woman” will be her biggest hit, used in movies and television series.
In a 2012 interview with The Associated Press, Reddy attributed the huge success of “I Am Woman” to her departure from public life.
“It was one of the reasons I stopped singing, when it showed me the high school textbook of modern American history, and feminism and my name and my literature (in the book) the whole chapter,” she told the AP. “And I thought,` Well, I ‘m part of history now. How do I top it off? I can’t stay on top. ‘So, it’s easy to withdraw. ”
Reddy’s death comes less than three weeks after the release of a biopic about her life called “I Am Woman”.
Director Unju Moon said that he had a seven-year friendship with Reddy because of the film.
“I will always be grateful to Helen for teaching me so much about being an artist, woman and mother,” she said in a statement. “She has paved the way for so many people and the lyrics she has written for ‘I Am Woman’ have changed my life forever, as they did for so many other people and will continue to be a part of me for generations to come and I will miss her immensely.”
An exhibitor since childhood, Reddy is part of a show-business family in Melbourne. She won a competition, brought her to the United States and began her recording career, although she first had to overcome thoughts about her sound.
“In my previous days in Australia, I was considered a jazz singer,” she told the AP in 1991. “When I won the competition that brought me to this country, one person said, ‘The judges did not think you could have a recording career because you have no commercial voice.'”
Reddy retired from the show in the 1990s and returned to Australia, graduating with a degree in clinical hypnotherapy.
She later returned to California, where she served on the statewide Parks and Recreation Commission in the 1970s and occasionally returned to the stage.
In 2017, she performed “I Am Woman” at the Women’s March in Los Angeles, singing alongside actor Jamie Lee Curtis. Curtis said introducing Reddy to the show was “the honor of my life”.