105 Facts About Olivia Newton-John


Dame Olivia Newton-John was a British and Australian singer and actress.


Olivia Newton-John was a four-time Grammy Award winner whose music career included 15 top-ten singles, including 5 number-one singles on the Billboard Hot 100 and two number-one albums on the Billboard 200: If You Love Me, Let Me Know and Have You Never Been Mellow.


In 1978, Newton-John starred in the musical film Grease, which was the highest-grossing musical film at the time and whose soundtrack remains one of the world's best-selling albums.


Olivia Newton-John, who battled breast cancer three times, was an advocate and sponsor for breast cancer research.


Olivia Newton-John was an activist for environmental and animal rights causes.


Olivia Newton-John was born on 26 September 1948 in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, to Brinley "Bryn" Newton-John and Irene Helene.


Olivia Newton-John's father was born in Wales to a middle-class family.


Olivia Newton-John's mother was born in Germany and had come to the UK with her family in 1933 to escape the Nazi Regime.


Helene Agatha's own father, Olivia Newton-John's great-great-grandfather, was jurist Rudolf von Jhering.


Olivia Newton-John's father was an MI5 officer on the Enigma project at Bletchley Park who took Rudolf Hess into custody during World War II.


Olivia Newton-John was the youngest of three children, following her brother Hugh, a medical doctor, and her sister Rona, an actress who was married to restaurateur Brian Goldsmith and was later married to Olivia Newton-John's Grease co-star Jeff Conaway.


Olivia Newton-John had a half-brother, Toby, and a half-sister, Sarah, both of whom were born of her father's second marriage.


In early 1954, when Olivia Newton-John was five, her family emigrated to Melbourne, Victoria, on the SS Strathaird.


Olivia Newton-John's father worked as a professor of German and as the master of Ormond College at the University of Melbourne.


Olivia Newton-John's family attended church while her father served as the head of the Presbyterian college.


Olivia Newton-John went to primary school with Daryl Braithwaite, who followed a singing career.


At age 14, with three classmates, Olivia Newton-John formed a short-lived, all-girl group called Sol Four which often performed at a coffee shop owned by her brother-in-law.


Olivia Newton-John originally wanted to become a veterinarian but then chose to focus on performance after doubting her ability to pass science exams.


In 1964, Olivia Newton-John's acting talent was first recognised portraying Lady Mary Lasenby in her University High School's production of The Admirable Crichton as she became the Young Sun's Drama Award best schoolgirl actress runner-up.


Olivia Newton-John then became a regular on local Australian television shows, including Time for Terry and HSV-7's The Happy Show, where she performed as "Lovely Livvy".


Olivia Newton-John performed the songs "Anyone Who Had a Heart" and "Everything's Coming Up Roses".


Olivia Newton-John was initially reluctant to use her prize, a trip to Great Britain, but travelled there nearly a year later after her mother encouraged her to broaden her horizons.


Olivia Newton-John repeatedly booked trips back to Australia that her mother cancelled.


In 1966, Olivia Newton-John recorded her first single, "Till You Say You'll Be Mine", in Britain for Decca Records.


Olivia Newton-John's outlook changed when Pat Carroll moved to the UK.


Olivia Newton-John was recruited for the group Toomorrow, formed by American producer Don Kirshner.


Olivia Newton-John released her first solo album, If Not for You, in 1971.


Olivia Newton-John's follow-up single, "Banks of the Ohio", was a top 10 hit in the UK and Australia.


Olivia Newton-John was voted Best British Female Vocalist two years in a row by the magazine Record Mirror.


Olivia Newton-John made frequent appearances on Cliff Richard's weekly show It's Cliff Richard and starred with him in the telefilm The Case.


Olivia Newton-John's fortune changed with the release of "Let Me Be There" in 1973.


In 1974, Olivia Newton-John represented the United Kingdom in the Eurovision Song Contest with the song "Long Live Love".


Olivia Newton-John finished fourth at the contest, held in Brighton, behind the Swedish winning entry, "Waterloo" by ABBA.


In many of her concert performances, Olivia Newton-John closed with this tune, and she further explains: "It's such a special song, and I have some very profound memories of times that I've sung it, very intimate times, with special people in my life; and all through my life, it's meant something different to me, and every time I sing it it has a different resonance".


Olivia Newton-John topped the Pop and Country albums charts with her next album, Have You Never Been Mellow.


For 45 years, Olivia Newton-John held the Guinness World Record for the shortest gap by a female between new Number 1 albums on the US Billboard 200 album charts until Taylor Swift in 2020.


Olivia Newton-John's singles continued to top the AC chart, where she amassed ten No 1 singles, including a record seven consecutively:.


Olivia Newton-John headlined her first US television special, A Special Olivia Newton-John, in November 1976.


Olivia Newton-John's Making a Good Thing Better album was not certified gold, and its only single, the title track, did not reach the AC top 10 or the Country chart.


Olivia Newton-John was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 1979 New Year Honours and Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2020 New Year Honours for services to charity, cancer research, and entertainment.


Olivia Newton-John's fourth, Making a Good Thing Better, was late.


Olivia Newton-John sued for $10 million and claimed that MCA's failure to adequately promote and advertise her product freed her from their agreement.


MCA's countersuit requested $1 million in damages and an injunction against Olivia Newton-John working with another music firm.


Ultimately, Olivia Newton-John was forbidden from offering her recording services to another label until the five-year pact had run its course.


In 1978, Olivia Newton-John's career soared after she starred as Sandy in the film adaptation of the Broadway musical Grease.


Olivia Newton-John was offered the role after meeting producer Allan Carr at a dinner party at Helen Reddy's home.


Disillusioned by her Toomorrow experience and concerned that she was too old to play a high school senior, Olivia Newton-John insisted on a screen test with the film's co-lead, John Travolta.


Olivia Newton-John's performance earned her a People's Choice Award for Favourite Film Actress.


Olivia Newton-John was nominated for a Golden Globe as Best Actress in a Musical and performed the Oscar-nominated "Hopelessly Devoted to You" at the 1979 Academy Awards.


Olivia Newton-John began 1980 by releasing "I Can't Help It", a duet with Andy Gibb from his After Dark album, and by starring in her third television special, Hollywood Nights.


In 1981, Olivia Newton-John released her most successful studio album, the double platinum Physical, which strongly reinforced her image change by showcasing risque, rock-oriented material.


Olivia Newton-John helped pioneer the music video industry by recording a video album for Physical, featuring videos of all the album's tracks and three of her older hits.


In September 1989, Olivia Newton-John released her self-described "self-indulgent" album, Warm and Tender, which reunited her with producer John Farrar, absent from her previous LP, and marked a return to a more wholesome image.


Shortly after the album's release, Olivia Newton-John was diagnosed with breast cancer, forcing her to cancel all publicity for the album, including the tour.


Olivia Newton-John received her diagnosis the same weekend her father died.


Olivia Newton-John recovered and later became an advocate for breast cancer research and other health issues.


Olivia Newton-John was a product spokesperson for the Liv-Kit, a breast self-examination product.


Olivia Newton-John was partial owner of Byron Bay's Gaia Retreat and Spa, which was founded in 2005 and sold in 2021 for $30 million to the investment firm of Tattarang.


Olivia Newton-John cancelled a 1978 concert tour of Japan to protest the slaughter of dolphins caught in tuna fishing nets.


Olivia Newton-John subsequently rescheduled the tour when the Japanese government assured her that the practice was being curbed.


Olivia Newton-John was a performer on the 1979 Music for UNICEF Concert for the UN's International Year of the Child televised worldwide.


Olivia Newton-John was appointed a Goodwill ambassador to the United Nations Environment Programme.


Gaia was the first album on which Olivia Newton-John wrote all the music and lyrics herself, and this endeavour encouraged her to become more active as a songwriter thereafter.


Olivia Newton-John was listed as president of the Isle of Man Basking shark Society between 1998 and 2005.


Olivia Newton-John re-recorded some tracks from Grace and Gratitude in 2010 and re-released the album as Grace and Gratitude Renewed on the Green Hill music label.


Olivia Newton-John was featured in UniGlobe Entertainment's breast cancer docu-drama, 1 a Minute, released in October 2010.


Olivia Newton-John continued to record and perform pop-oriented music as well.


In December 1998, following a hiatus of about 16 years, Olivia Newton-John resumed touring by herself and in 2000 released a solo CD, One Woman's Live Journey, her first live album since 1981's Love Performance.


In 2002, Olivia Newton-John was inducted into Australia's ARIA Hall of Fame.


The tribute album featured Olivia Newton-John covering songs by artists such as Joan Baez, the Carpenters, Doris Day, Nina Simone and Minnie Riperton.


Olivia Newton-John dedicated the album to her mother, who had died the previous year of breast cancer.


Olivia Newton-John appeared in a supporting role in the 1996 AIDS drama, It's My Party.


Olivia Newton-John reprised her role for Sordid Lives: The Series which aired one season on the LOGO television network.


In 2010, Olivia Newton-John starred in the film Score: A Hockey Musical, released in Canada.


Olivia Newton-John portrayed Hope Gordon, the mother of a home-schooled hockey prodigy.


Olivia Newton-John guest-starred as herself in the sitcoms Ned and Stacey, Murphy Brown and Bette and made two appearances as herself on Glee.


In 2008, Olivia Newton-John took part in the BBC Wales program Coming Home about her Welsh family history.


Olivia Newton-John sang Gordon Lightfoot's hit "Cotton Jenny" with Murray.


In January 2011, Olivia Newton-John began filming the comedy A Few Best Men in Australia with director Stephan Elliott, in the role of mother of the bride.


Olivia Newton-John was actively touring and doing concerts from 2012 to 2017 and performed a handful of shows in 2018.


Olivia Newton-John resumed performing, doing 45 shows beginning in April 2014.


Olivia Newton-John's Vegas stay was eventually extended beyond August 2014, and her Summer Nights residency finished in December 2016 after 175 shows.


In 2015, Olivia Newton-John reunited with John Farnham for a joint venture called Two Strong Hearts Live.


In 2015, Olivia Newton-John was a guest judge on an episode of RuPaul's Drag Race.


In 2015, Olivia Newton-John was inducted into the Music Victoria Hall of Fame.


In February 2020, Olivia Newton-John appeared at the Fire Fight Australia charity event.


In January 2021, Olivia Newton-John released her final single, "Window in the Wall", a duet about unity which she recorded with her daughter Chloe Lattanzi.


Olivia Newton-John told me Shirley Bassey has been a big influence on her.


Michael Dwyer of the Sydney Morning Herald maintains that following Olivia Newton-John's career was like watching "our slightly older and braver sister growing up in public" and her passing "feels today like a lost member of the family".


Olivia Newton-John's work has inspired many other female vocalists, including Juliana Hatfield, Lisa Loeb, Kylie Minogue, Delta Goodrem, Natalie Maines and Alanis Morissette.


Pink staged a commemorative Olivia Newton-John cover during the 2022 American Music Awards.


In 1968, Olivia Newton-John was engaged to but never married Bruce Welch, one of her early producers and co-writer of her hit "Please Mr Please".


In 1972, Olivia Newton-John ended her relationship with Welch, who subsequently attempted suicide.


In 1973, while vacationing on the French Riviera, Olivia Newton-John met British businessman Lee Kramer, who became both her new boyfriend and manager.


Olivia Newton-John lived with Kramer on and off and they stayed a couple until 1979; she called their turbulent pairing "one long breakup".


Olivia Newton-John married her long-time partner, actor Matt Lattanzi, in December 1984.


When Olivia Newton-John and Easterling first met, they were both married to other people.


In 1973, Olivia Newton-John purchased a modest one-bedroom flat in northwest London.


In 2019, Olivia Newton-John sold her 187-acre Australian farm, which she had owned for nearly 40 years and is located near Byron Bay in New South Wales.


The Dalwood estate sold for $4.6 million; in 1980, Olivia Newton-John had paid $622,000 for the property, which had additional land adjoined in both 1983 and in 2002.


Olivia Newton-John subsequently revealed this was actually her third bout with breast cancer, as she had a recurrence of the disease in 2013 in addition to her initial 1992 diagnosis.


Olivia Newton-John experienced significant pain from the metastatic bone lesions and had spoken of using cannabis oil to ease her pain.


Olivia Newton-John was an advocate for the use of medical cannabis; her daughter Chloe owns a cannabis farm in Oregon.


Olivia Newton-John died on 8 August 2022 at age 73 at her home in the Santa Ynez Valley of California.


In September 2022, Olivia Newton-John's family held a "small and very private" memorial service in California for the singer, who asked to be cremated and have her ashes scattered in Byron Bay, on her Santa Ynez ranch and "in other places that I love".