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August 9, 2022

Interesting Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Olivia Newton-John

Olivia Newton-John, one of the biggest pop stars of the 1970s and 1980s, who charmed generations of viewers in the movie musical Grease, died on Monday, August 8, according to a statement from her husband. She was 73.

For the past three decades, Newton-John has been struggling with breast cancer. The fight started in 1992 when the star received her first diagnosis. She was subsequently able to fight the disease into remission. However, it came back in 2013. After another successful fight, the disease returned stronger than ever in 2017. Today, the beloved entertainer has reportedly passed away.

From 1973-83, Newton-John was among the world’s most popular entertainers. She had 14 top 10 singles just in the U.S, won four Grammys, starred with John Travolta in Grease and with Gene Kelly in Xanadu. The fast-stepping Travolta-Newton-John duet, “You’re the One That I Want,” was one of the era’s biggest songs and has sold more than 15 million copies.

Below are 7 interesting facts about the star that you probably didn’t know.

1. She’s Australian

Olivia Newton-John was born on September 26, 1948, in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England. She lived there until she was five years old, and her family relocated to Australia when her father was offered a job as the dean of a college in Melbourne. When she was a teen she returned to live in England with her mother, after winning a singing talent contest. She kept her cute Australian accent, though!

2. She Competed in Eurovision

The 1974 Eurovision contest took place on home soil in Brighton with Olivia performing second up in an eye-catching (and not in a good way) ruffled baby blue full length dress. She sang “Long Live Love.” It was an odd choice that drowned out her figure but she put in a strong performance and finished a credible 4th place on the night to a little group called ABBA and their song “Waterloo.” 

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph in 2015 Newton-John said the experience was “terrifying” and “dreadful” because she wasn’t a fan of the song, saying “The viewing audience voted for the song and it was my least favorite.”

3. She Almost Rejected the Role That Made Her Famous

Olivia admitted she almost turned down the chance to play Sandy in Grease because she thought she was too old for the part. “I could not play a high school student at 28,” she thought. Luckily, John Travolta befriended her and convinced her to stay on the Grease set. “John was charming and really wanted me to do [the movie],” she said. “That was one of the deciding factors.”

4. She and John Travolta Were Almost Romantic Together

Their chemistry was palpable off-screen just as much as it was on. But sadly, life always got in the way. “It almost happened between us a few other times but it didn’t," John once revealed. “Sometimes life just offers you the wrong timing.”

5. She and John Revisited Grease Characters in ‘Glorious’ Final Time

Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta reprised their iconic Grease roles for special sing-along screenings held in West Palm Beach, Florida in 2019 – which are understood to have been their last in character reunions together.

6. Her Sister Married One of Her Costars

Just like Olivia, her older sister Rona also pursued acting. She was actually briefly married to Grease heartthrob Jeff Conaway, who played the daredevil Kenickie.

7. She Comes From a Family of Brainiacs

Did you know that Olivia’s German grandfather was a Nobel Prize-winning physicist? Or that her dad was an MI5 Officer that worked on the famous Enigma Project? Her brother Hugh also added to the family legacy by becoming a doctor.


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