Passion for Life

Olivia Newton-John has always been and always will be many things to many people. Simply saying she’s a singer, actress, activist, philanthropist, author, business woman, wife and mother, doesn’t even begin to describe her career that spans more than five decades. Her endless passion for life and the world around her takes her to places even she never dreamed possible.
This tiny woman with the soft yet powerful voice seemed to appear out of nowhere in the early ’70s when she first hit the country music charts.
Her version of Bob Dylan’s “If Not For You” caught the public’s attention, but it was “Let Me Be There,” that packed the biggest punch, grabbed the world’s attention and held on for dear life. That game-changing song was just the beginning. It opened doors to more and more opportunities, and this Aussie girl was well on her way.
She had been preparing for a career in music, pretty much from the time she took her first breath.
Born in Cambridge, England, in 1948, the youngest child of Professor Brin Newton-John and Irene Born, young Olivia moved to Melbourne, Australia, with her family when she was five.
Her first big break was winning a talent contest on the popular TV show, “Sing, Sing, Sing,” which earned Newton-John a trip to London. By the age of 15, she had formed an all-girl group called Sol Four and, in 1963, she was appearing on local daytime TV shows and weekly pop music programs in Australia.
When she eventually took her prize-winning trip to London, she teamed up with her friend from Melbourne, Pat Carroll (now Farrar), to create a double act, Pat & Olivia, and the duo toured army bases and clubs throughout the UK and Europe.
Newton-John cut her first single for Decca Records in 1966, a version of Jackie DeShannon’s “Till You Say You’ll Be Mine.”
Newton-John’s U.S. album debut, “Let Me Be There,” produced her first top-10 single of the same name. As a result, she was honored by the Academy Of Country Music as Most Promising Female Vocalist and earned a Grammy Award as Best Country Vocalist.
This was just the beginning of a multi-faceted and successful career. With more than 100 million albums sold, Newton-John’s successes include four Grammy Awards, numerous Country Music, American Music and Peoples Choice Awards,10 No. 1 hits including “Physical,” which topped the charts for 10 consecutive weeks, and over 15 top-10 singles. In November 2015, Billboard Magazine listed “Physical” at No. 8 on their Top 100 Songs Of All Time list and in 2010 listed it as “The Sexiest Song of All Time.” In addition, in 2015, she was ranked No. 20 on Billboard’s “Greatest of All Time Hot 100 Artists.”
While she was enjoying success on the music charts, along came another project that changed everything, Grease. In the film, she morphed from a sweet and innocent Sandy to confident, sexy Sandy, determined to win over the love of her life, Danny, a.k.a., John Travolta. In 1978, that co-starring role with Travolta catapulted her into super-stardom. 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.” Grease remains the most successful movie musical in history.
Her other feature film credits include Funny Things Happen Down Under, Toomorrow, Xanadu, Two Of A Kind, It’s My Party, Sordid Lives, Score: A Hockey Musical, and A Few Best Men.
In addition to her music and musical projects, including dancing with Gene Kelly in Xanadu, Newton-John also hosted the popular internationally syndicated “Wild Life” television show, which hinted of her passion for nature and the planet. She also turned her attentions to many humanitarian causes close to her heart over the years.
As a result she was awarded an O.B.E. (Order Of The British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth in 1979. Newton-John was named the first Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations Environment Programme and in 1991, served as the national spokesperson for the Children’s Health Environmental Coalition (CHEC), which was founded after the tragic death of her daughter Chloe’s best friend from a rare childhood cancer. Her devotion and shared commitment to CHEC’s (now Healthy Child, Healthy World) mission and goals enabled the organization to receive worldwide attention and support.
Her charmed life has not been without its share of upset. In the ’90s, Newton-John overcame her own battle with breast cancer, which inspired her self-penned and produced album, Gaia, her most personal album reflecting upon her experiences with cancer. She used these experiences to gain greater self-awareness and became a positive inspiration to millions of people battling cancer.
As a breast cancer “thriver,” Newton-John has become increasingly well known and respected for talking openly about her battle with breast cancer and for promoting public awareness of the importance of early detection. Her personal triumph over cancer led her to announce her partnership with Austin Health and the creation of the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre (ONJCWC) on the Austin Campus in her hometown of Melbourne, Australia.
In April 2008, Newton-John 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.
After continuing the fundraising efforts and helping to raise nearly $200 million, the ONJCWC, opened in June 2012, and provides a comprehensive range of services and facilities for cancer treatment, education, training and research including a wellness center for the mind, body and spirit (
In 2014, the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute opened on the grounds of the ONJCWC. The strategic co-location of research laboratories and research-training within a clinical environment enables clinicians and researchers to work together to integrate clinical medicine with basic and translational cancer research for the ultimate benefit of cancer patients.
Newton-John released her second book, LivWise: Easy Recipes For A Healthy, Happy Life (Murdoch Books) in Australia in 2011. (Her first book, A Pig Tale, an environmentally-themed story written for children, was released in 1993.)
Newton-John has kept up appearances in the entertainment world as well. In 2010, she 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.
In October 2010, she starred in the breast cancer docudrama “1 A Minute” and, the Canadian film Score: A Hockey Musical. Her 2012 film, A Few Best Men, garnered her some of the best reviews of her film career. The soundtrack to the film features dance remixes of classic hits such as “Sugar Sugar” and “Daydream Believer” recorded by Newton-John and remixed by some of the best club remixers in the world.
Additionally in 2012, she reunited with John Travolta to release This Christmas, a holiday CD collection that was also a fundraiser for both the ONJCWC and the Jett Travolta Foundation.
In 2012, Newton-John was bestowed the honor of being named one of Australia’s “National Living Treasures” by the National Trust of Australia. This was followed by another honor in 2013 when she was bestowed her own stamp as part of the “Australia Post Legends” stamp series.
Newton-John began a residency at the Flamingo Las Vegas with her show “Summer Nights,” a musical journey through her career in movies and music. To coincide with the show, she released Hotel Sessions an EP collection of songs recorded in hotel rooms in Melbourne over a 10-year period with her nephew Brett Goldsmith. Due to the popularity of the show, the residency was extended through January 2016. A two-CD set, Summer Nights — Live in Las Vegas, was released in early 2017.
Along with her daughter, Chloe, Newton-John topped the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart with their No. 1 hit, “You Have to Believe,” in 2015. That same year she toured Australia arenas with fellow Aussie icon John Farham with their show, “Two Strong Hearts.” A CD of highlights from these sold-out tours debuted at No.1 on the Aria Album charts, where it remained in the top spot for three weeks. The CD went on to receive an Aria Award nomination and, the live DVD held the No. 1 spot on the Aria DVD chart for 10 weeks.
Her most recent back-to-back projects include LIV ON, a collaborative, inspiring CD with friends Beth Nielsen Chapman and Amy Sky, is intended for those who wish to transcend loss while walking a journey toward new-found meaning and hope; and her holiday release with Farnham, Friends for Christmas. Both were released in 2016.
This year, her crazy busy schedule includes a stop in Laughlin at the Edgewater’s E Center, Saturday, March 3, for a show that is about both fond memories of the past blended with looking forward to what’s just around the bend. She welcomes her many fans to take this journey with her, as she guides them through her creative world of possibility.


The E Center at the Edgewater

Saturday, March 3 (8 p.m.)

See “Showtimes” for tickets