Helen Reddy, the Australian singer whose global hit “I Am Woman” became a feminist anthem and who was the subject of a 2019 biopic of the same title, died today in Los Angeles. She was 78.
“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,” her children Traci Donat and Jordan Sommers said in a statement. “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.”
Born on October 25, 1941, in Melbourne; Reddy came from a showbiz family and made her debut onstage at age 4. She first hit the U.S. charts in 1971 with “I Don’t Know How to Love Him,” Mary Magdalene’s big song from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar. About 16 months and a couple of minor hits later, she hit No. 1 in the U.S. and Canada with “I Am Woman,” a pro-feminism song she co-wrote with Ray Burton. It propelled her to international stardom and became an unofficial anthem of the women’s rights movement of the 1970s.