Olivia Newton-John

“To be loved is the most basic of human needs. Like a flower, it waters the soul. But to love is a true blessing.”

Olivia Newton-John, Australia-raised actress, 1948-2022

Affectionately dubbed “Olivia Neutron-Bomb” for her high-energy performances, Olivia Newton-John was a singer, dancer, activist and actress who hit the world stage at age 29 in her career-making performance as Sandy in the mega-hit Greece, opposite John Travolta. She remains one of the best-selling female artists of all time with back-to-back number one hits and four Grammy Awards.

Born in England, Newton-John moved to Melbourne when she was eight. In her early teens she won a series of televised singing contests and competed against ABBA in a Eurovision contest (they won, with “Waterloo”). She soon moved to Los Angeles, crossed over into country music, and began churning out hits of her own.

Her big breakout was getting cast in Grease after meeting its producer at a dinner party. She initially turned the role down thinking she was too old to play a highschool student. It remains one of the top grossing musicals of all time. In another twist of fate, Newton-John was offered the song “Physical” after Tina Turner passed on it, and it became her biggest hit ever, the lyric “let me hear your body talk” resonating with women in legwarmers everywhere. In 2022 she released a collector’s edition of the CD to celebrate its 40th Anniversary.

She passed away on August 8 2022, a youthful-looking 73, succumbing to her third battle with breast cancer.  She had set up a foundation to study holistic cancer therapies and a cancer wellness centre in Melbourne and was a proponent of medical cannabis. She lived on a ranch in California with her husband and her dogs and miniature horses and was an avid gardener.


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