Olivia Newton-John, singer and actress, passed away yesterday after a long battle with cancer. Ms. Newton-John was 73.
When she was just 14, Olivia Newton-John began singing professionally in small coffee shops. Not long after she began appearing on Australian television shows. In 1965 she won a talent contest and the following year traveled to Great Britain where she recorded her first single, “Till You Say You’ll Be Mine”. In 1971, Ms. Newton-John’s first solo album, If Not For You was released. This was the first of 26 albums she would release over the course of her long career.
The mid-70s was a sweet spot for Olivia Newton-John. She had ten number one singles including: “I Honestly Love You” (1974); “Have You Never Been Mellow” (1975); “Please Mr. Please” (1975); “Something Better to Do” (1975); “Let It Shine”/”He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” (1976); “Come on Over” (1976) and “Don’t Stop Believin'” (1976) .
In 1978, Ms. Newton-John co-starred with John Travolta in Grease which became the number one movie of the year. The Grease soundtrack also went to number one and spawned three singles. In 1980, Olivia Newton-John co-starred in the cult favorite Xanadu with Gene Kelly and Michael Beck. Ms. Newton-John easily transitioned to making music videos (a relatively new art form at the time) and had one of the most popular with her “Physical” release. For the rest of her career, Ms. Newton-John easily transitioned from acting to singing as she took on projects that interested her. She was also an activist who supported environmental and animal causes as well as cancer research.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Olivia Newton-John’s family, friends and fans.