Get InQueensland in your inbox Subscribe

I am woman: Australian singer, activist Helen Reddy dies at 78


Australian singer, actor and activist Helen Reddy has died, aged 78.

Print article

“It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved mother,” her daughter Traci and son Jordan posted on Facebook.

“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.”

Reddy, who was best known for her song I Am Woman, the unofficial anthem of the feminist movement in the 1970s, died in Los Angeles on Tuesday, September 29.

She had been diagnosed with dementia in 2015 and later moved into a care facility, the Motion Picture and Television Fund’s Samuel Goldwyn Jr. Centre for Behavioural Health in Woodland Hills, California.

Her ex-husband Jeff Wald paid homage to his first wife of 18 years and the mother of his eldest children.

“Traci spent the morning with Helen and she passed soon after under the excellent care of the Motion & Television Home,” he said, according to Variety.

Hundreds of Reddy’s fans from around the world have begun flooding her official fan page on the Facebook platform, praising her achievements and mourning her passing.

“Quiet Please, There is a Lady Leaving the Stage,” the page administrator posted.

Reddy’s signature song, I Am Woman went to No. 1 in the US in 1972 and was succeeded by further hits, Delta Dawn and Angie Baby, in 1973 and 1974.

At the 1973 Grammys, as she accepted her pop female vocalist award, Reddy further cemented her status as a symbol of the women’s liberation movement when she thanked “God – because She makes everything possible.”

That same year she hosted a network variety show, “The Helen Reddy Show,” for eight episodes, before going on to an acting career that included roles in Pete’s Dragon and Airport ’75.

In 2006 Reddy published her memoir, The Woman I Am.

Her life story was turned into a feature film, I Am Woman, which first aired at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2019.

The film’s director, Australian Unjoo Moon, was friends with Reddy for years.

“She 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,” she said in a statement.

The film was scheduled for release in Australia and elsewhere earlier this year, but then the coronavirus pandemic struck.

It finally had its Australian premiere in Adelaide in August and is currently streaming on the entertainment platform Stan.

Reddy was born on October 25, 1941, in Melbourne, Victoria.

She is survived by her children, her granddaughter Lily and her ex-husband Jeff Wald.


More Culture stories

Loading next article