Australian singer of feminist anthem I Am Woman passes away

Helen Reddy shot to fame in the 1970s
Helen Reddy shot to fame in the 1970s

Australian singer Helen Reddy has died at the age of 78 behind the feminist anthem I Am Woman.

Reddy died in Los Angeles on Tuesday, his family said in a Facebook statement.

Her children Tracy Donnet and Jordan Somerous describe her as “an amazing mother, grandmother and a truly formidable woman”.

“Our hearts are broken. But we take comfort in the knowledge that his voice will live forever.”

Reddy, who had Addison’s disease and was diagnosed with dementia in 2015, spent the last year of his life at a celebrity care home in Los Angeles.

She received pop-rock hits in the 1970s, but is best known for the 1972 anthem I’m Woman – which became a staple in the women’s liberation movement.

Helen Reddy became a feminist icon for her trailblazing song
Helen Reddy became a feminist icon for her trailblazing song

A sleeper hit, it went on to sell millions of copies worldwide, making Reddy the best-selling female artist in the world for two years.

In collecting the 1973 Grammy Award for Best Female Singer, Reddy “thanked God for making everything possible”.

Self-made success

Born in 1941 in Melbourne, Reddy grew up in a showbiz family with actor parents, and performed regularly as a child.

After winning a talent competition in Australia, her prize ticket was moved to New York City in the 1960s, where she auditioned for a recording contract.

That opportunity fell through but the soprano decided to remain in the US, later signing with Capitol Records.

Her first hit, I Don’t Know How to Love Him, was followed by a succession of others including Crazy Love, Delta Dawn, and Angie Baby.

But it was her second hit film I Am Woman, which catapulted her to international fame and became a defining song for a generation of women.

Reddy said he sang the song – a woman who struggles to find other songs – with lines like “I’m a woman, roar me” and “I’m strong, I’m invincible, I’m a woman” Reflects his pride in being.

Singer ‘Pucca Rasta’

Among those who paid tribute on Wednesday were Unja Moon, who directed a biopic about Reddy – titled I Am Woman – which was released earlier this year.

“She paved the way for so many people and the songs she wrote for I Am Woman changed my life forever like she did for many others and will continue to do for generations to come, “Moon said.

Actress Jamie Lee Curtis shared a clip of Ready singing in protest against a Women’s March in Los Angeles in 2017, part of global rallies that directed anger at US President Donald Trump.

Reddy with celebrities including Jamie Lee Curtis in a women's march in 2017
Reddy with celebrities including Jamie Lee Curtis in a women’s march in 2017

“Respect for my life. Introducing Helen to the Women’s March.” He wrote, “Read the song”.

Fellow actors Jane Lynch and Patricia Arquette and 1970s singing group The Pointer Sisters also paid tribute.

At the height of his fame, Reddy toured internationally and was a regular guest at the Hollywood Showcase Show.

She hosted a season of the Helen Reddy Show on NBC TV in 1973, and was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame a year later.

Later in his career he acted in a handful of films and stage musicals.

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