Olivia Newton-John’s appeal seems to be timeless. Across a career spanning more than four decades, she’s remained a creative individual and humanitarian, adored by fans across the world.
Across Olivia’s career, musical honors include four Grammy Awards, numerous Country Music Awards, American Music Awards, and People’s Choice Awards, ten #1 hits — including “Physical,” which topped the charts for ten consecutive weeks — plus over 15 top-10 singles. In 2008, Billboard Magazine listed “Physical” at #6 of the Top 100 Songs of All Time, and later listed it as The Sexiest Song of All Time.
Olivia, age 5, and her family moved to Melbourne, Australia, where her music career began at 15, when she formed an all-girl group and later won a TV talent contest. By 1963, Olivia was appearing on local shows and Australian weekly pop music programs. Olivia cut her first single in 1966, a version of Jackie DeShannon’s “Till You Say You’ll Be Mine.” John Farrar co-produced her 1971 cover of Bob Dylan’s “If Not For You,” and the pair continue to collaborate to this day.
Olivia’s U.S. album debut, Let Me Be There, produced her first top ten single with its title track, and won her the Grammy Award for Best Country Vocalist. This proved to be only the beginning of a superstar career that’s produced album sales topping 100 million.
Her role in 1978’s Grease, co-starring alongside John Travolta, catapulted Olivia into superstardom. This film’s best-selling soundtrack featured the duets “You’re The One That I Want” and “Summer Nights” with Travolta, as well as her mega-hit, “Hopelessly Devoted To You.” To date, Grease remains the most successful movie musical ever. Olivia’s other feature film credits include Toomorrow, Xanadu and A Few Best Men.
Throughout her career, the much-loved star has danced with Gene Kelly in Xanadu, hosted the popular Wild Life television show, was bestowed an O.B.E. (Order of the British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth, and has held many humanitarian causes close to her heart. Olivia served as Goodwill Ambassador to the U.N.’s Environment Programme and in 1991 founded the Colette Chuda Environmental Fund/Children’s Health Environmental Coalition was founded after her daughter Chloe’s best friend tragically died from a rare childhood cancer.
In the 90s, Olivia successfully overcame her own battle with breast cancer, which inspired her self-penned and produced album GAIA. As a breast cancer survivor, Olivia has become well-respected for promoting awareness of the importance of early detection. Her personal triumph led her to announce the creation of the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre in 2013, providing a range of facilities for treatment and research.
In April 2008, Olivia led a team of fellow cancer survivors, celebrities and Olympians on a trek along the Great Wall of China and raised more than $2 million to find a new way to treat cancer and build the ONJCWC. She was also invited by Pope John Paul II to perform at the Jubilee Celebration for the Sick and Healthcare Workers, and was also thrilled to perform at the Opening Ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympics — including the honor of carrying the Olympic Torch.
In 2008, Olivia began co-hosting and co-producing the PBS series Healing Quest, and reprised her film role of Bitsy Mae Harling from Sordid Lives in the series to rave reviews. In 2012, she released This Christmas, a holiday CD collection with Grease co-star John Travolta — the pair’s first collaboration in over 30 years.
Olivia and her husband John “Amazon John” Easterling work to help preserve the Rainforest and are working together with the ACEER Organization to help the indigenous people of the Amazon. In September 2009, they also joined forces with Prince Charles’ own The Prince’s Rainforest Project to further stress the global importance of preserving the Rainforest.
In 2010 Olivia also appeared as herself in two episodes of the hit series Glee, adding another Top 100 hit to her credits with a new version of “Physical,” sung with Jane Lynch. That October, Olivia starred in the breast cancer docudrama 1 A Minute and Canadian film Score: A Hockey Musical. Her latest film, A Few Best Men, garnered some of the best reviews of her film career. Its soundtrack featured dance remixes of classic hits like “Sugar Sugar” and “Daydream Believer,” recorded by Olivia and remixed by some of the hottest club remixers in the world. In addition, the soundtrack features the single “Weightless,” reuniting Olivia with her longtime producer and songwriter, John Farrar.
In addition to starring in films and television, and writing books, Olivia continues to spend time in the recording studio. Her 2010 healing CD Grace and Gratitude: Renewed, which she co-wrote and produced with Amy Sky, debuted at #2 on Billboard Magazine’s New Age chart.
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