With a career spanning over more than 5 decades, actress Olivia Newton John has managed to keep her appeal as vibrant as her character Sandy Olsson in the everloving movie, Grease.
Her transition from a country artist to a soft-rock singer during the 70s and later to starring in the highest grossing musical film at the time, it's been nothing less magical!
Although things may seem to be going downhill health wise, she has something to cheer about as she recently received the honorific title of dame from the British government.
Today, at age 71, Olivia has 4 Grammy and has sold over 100 million records worldwide. So, to celebrate her cheery spirit, we’ve come up with everything you need to know about ONJ.
Born on 26 September 1948, in England, Olivia moved to Australia at the age of 6. She is the youngest child among the three siblings. Although Olivia gained immense popularity after appearing in Grease, the actress is a natural born star. With her classmates, the 14 years old Olivia formed a short-lived group called Sol Four. The group would often perform in coffee shops owned by her brother-in-law.
Following that, she won the TV program, Sing, Sing, Sing and used the cash prize to take a trip to Great Britain. While in Britain, she recorded her first single, Till You Say You'll Be Mine for Decca Records in 1996. She then formed a duo with Pat Carroll, Pat and Olivia and toured in Europe.
In 1970, Olivia, with her group of Toomorrow, starred in a "science fiction musical" film as well as made two recording singles, You're My Baby Now and I Could Never Live Without Your Love.
Almost Rejected the Role in Grease
Even today, learning the lyrics to You’re The One That I Want is expected. Grease wouldn’t have been the same without Olivia. However, Olivia initially was hesitant to take the role of Sandy Olsson, thinking she was too old for a highschool movie. She later took on the role after John Travolta convinced her to.
Her role in the musical won her 1978 American Music Award for Grease and was a Golden Globe nominee for Best Actress. Hopelessly Devoted to You, song performed by Olivia in the movie was nominated for an Academy Award for Original Song.
Olivia’s musical career was active when she was 15 and hasn’t stopped since. Her 1973 album Let Me Be There won her an American Music Award and a Grammy Award. Similarly her 12th album, Physical won the Billboard Award as well as Grammy Award.
Olivia has released 28 studio albums, six live albums, seventeen compilations and four soundtracks.
After meeting on the set of Xanadu, Olivia married her long-time boyfriend, Matt Lattanzi in 1984. The couple got divorced in 1995 but do share a daughter Chloe Rose born in 1986.
After 9 years of on-again-off-again relationship with cameraman, Patrick McDermott, the singer got married to founder and president of the Amazon Herb Company, John Easterling. The couple got married in Peru in 2008, followed by a legal ceremony nine days later in Florida.
Battle With Cancer and Activism
Olivia was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992 but overcame it with chemotherapy and partial mastectomy. After a car accident in 2013, the doctors found cancer in her shoulder.
In 2017, she disclosed that she was again battling with breast cancer for the third time. It was also reported that the cancer had progressed to stage IV and spread to her bones.
Honored as Dame in the UK Honors List
With over 1,097 names on the list of Honors, Olivia was given a damehood for her services to cancer charity and entertainment. "I am extremely excited, honoured and grateful beyond words to be included with such an esteemed group of women who have received this distinguished award before me,” said the actress.
On November 2, 2019, Olivia sold her iconic Grease outfit for an impressive amount of $405,700. The money was donated to cancer research facilities in Australia.
She is actively working for the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre in Melbourne.
As of 2020, Olivia Newton John has an estimated net worth of $40 million.