Helen Reddy, Known Queen Of 70s Pop, Dies At 78
Helen Reddy, known as the Queen of ’70s Pop, died Tuesday at the 78. She had been diagnosed with dementia five years ago, and passed away while at the Motion Picture and Television Fund’s Samuel Goldwyn Center for Behavioral Health in Woodland Hills. Her death was announced on Twitter by her daughters, Traci Donat and Jordan Sommers, and her ex-husband, Jeff Wald.
I am v sad to announce that my first wife of 18 years and the mother of my two oldest Traci & Jordan.Traci spent the morning with Helen and she passed soon after under the excellent care of the Motion & Television Home.#Helen Reddy
— Jeff S Wald (@JeffWald) September 30, 2020
“We take comfort in the knowledge that her voice will live on forever,” Donat and Summers wrote.
Reddy’s music has won countless awards over the years, with seven of her albums receiving the Recording Industry Association of America’s Gold certification, one of her albums receiving Platinum status, and her compilation album reaching Double Platinum status. She has charted on Billboard over 40 times, and even reached international fame by charting over a dozen times in Canada. Her feminist anthem, “I Am Woman,” has been immortalized through dozens of shows, advertisements and political events. According to Reddy, it also served as inspiration for many women to pursue higher education in fields such as law, and she stepped away from making music because the song made history.
“One of the reasons that I stopped singing was when I was shown a modern American history high-school textbook, and a whole chapter on feminism, and my name and my lyrics (were) in the book,” Reddy told the Associated Press, “I thought, ‘Well, I’m part of history now. And how do I top that? I can’t top that.'”
A biopic about Reddy, which premiered last year and is set for international release this year, is entitled I Am Woman in the song’s honor. Its director, Unjoo Moon, thanked Reddy in a posthumous message to her for the friendship that blossomed during the film’s production.
“[Reddy] paved the way for so many and the lyrics that she wrote for ‘I am Woman’ changed my life forever like they have done for so many other people and will continue to do for generations to come,” Moon said. “She will always be a part of me and I will miss her enormously.”
On Twitter, several celebrities mourned Reddy’s death as well.
Honor of my life. Introducing Helen at the Women’s March, January 2017! THANK YOU Helen. RIP
Read the lyrics. Song she wrote and performed to great acclaim. HELEN REDDY "I AM WOMAN" Women's March LA 2017 https://t.co/13eRaYvJ5i via @YouTube
— Jamie Lee Curtis (@jamieleecurtis) September 30, 2020
Actress Jamie Lee Curtis tweeted a video of Reddy singing at the 2017 Women’s March, calling introducing Reddy the “honor of [her] life.”
— Hugh Jackman (@RealHughJackman) September 30, 2020
Actor Hugh Jackman posted a throwback photo of Reddy, praising her for being “a trailblazer with a voice as smooth as silk.”
Helen Reddy, the activist and beautiful voice behind the 1972 feminist anthem "I Am Woman," has died at age 78.
She had a string of pop and rock hits in the 1970s, but it's THAT song that proves music can change the world for the better. pic.twitter.com/YFE1sNvTJf
— Eric Alper 🎧 (@ThatEricAlper) September 30, 2020
Music publicist Eric Alper wrote a short description of Reddy and her fame. He especially praises I Am Woman, which, according to Alper, “proves music can change the world for the better.”