Remembering Olivia Newton-John


On Monday, August 8, 2022, the world lost one of the most prominent pop culture figures of the late seventies and early eighties, Dame Olivia Newton-John. Most renowned for her performance of Sandy Olsson in the cult classic film Grease, along with John Travolta’s Danny Zuko and Stockard Channing’s Rizzo. She also starred in the 1980 film Xanadu, as well as appeared in television series, and she has a total of five number-one hits on the Billboard Hot 100.

Born on September 26, 1948, in Cambridge, England, the youngest of three children, and at the age of five, her family moved to Melbourne, Australia. From a young age, Newton-John showed potential talent in her musical abilities, when she was fourteen years old she formed an all-girl group called Sol Four with three of her classmates. While the group was short-lived, it marked the beginning of a fruitful career for Newton-John. Soon after discovering her talent for singing, she learned she also had a knack for acting after starring in her high school’s production of The Admirable Crichton. After appearing in several small television roles, Newton-John recorded her first singled titled “Till You Say You’ll Be Mine” in 1966. Early in her career, she proved to be successful in Austria, but not so much on an international scale. That was until 1973 when she released the song “Let Me Be There”, which reached number six on the American top ten pop, and also earned her a Grammy for Best Female Country Performance. In 1974, she represented the United Kingdom in the European singing competition Eurovision, where she finished fourth in the competition.

Olivia Newton-John’s early success was nothing compared to what she experienced after starring in Grease. The movie became the number one box office hit of the year, and the soundtrack spent 12 non-consecutive weeks on the number one spot of the billboard hot 100. Grease is what made Olivia Newton-John a household name, and solidified her role as one of the most notable entertainers of the late seventies.

 It was on the set of Grease that she bonded with co-star and close friend John Travolta. After news of Newton-John’s passing broke, Travolta took to the internet to pay tribute to the star. Perhaps one of the most heartfelt tributes to the actress, Travolta wrote “My dearest Olivia, you made all of our lives so much better. Your impact was incredible. I love you so much. We will see you down the road and we will all be together again. Yours from the moment I saw you and forever! Your Danny, your John!” Olivia Newton-John passed away after an almost thirty-year-long battle with breast cancer.