About this Famous Person
British-Australian singer and actress
Source : Tim DOWLING
Olivia Newton-John was born in Cambridge, England, to a Welsh father, Brinley ("Bryn") Newton-John, and a German-born mother, Irene Born, the eldest child of the Nobel prize-winning atomic physicist Max Born. Her mother's family had left Germany before World War II to avoid the Nazi regime (Newton-John's maternal grandfather was Jewish, and her maternal grandmother was of paternal Jewish ancestry). She is closely related to Ben Elton. Her maternal great-grandfather was jurist Victor Ehrenberg and her matrilineal great-grandmother's father was German jurist Rudolf von Jhering. Newton-John is the youngest of three children, following brother Hugh, a doctor, and sister Rona, an actress who was married to Grease co-star Jeff Conaway from 1980 until their divorce in 1985. Newton-John's father was an MI.5 officer on the Enigma project at Bletchley Park who took Rudolf Hess into custody during World War II. In 1954, at the age of six, Newton-John's family immigrated to Melbourne, Australia, where her father worked as a professor of German and as Master of Ormond College at the University of Melbourne.
At 14, Newton-John formed a short-lived all-girl group, Sol Four, with three classmates often performing in a coffee shop owned by her brother-in-law. She became a regular on local Australian radio and television shows including HSV-7's The Happy Show where she performed as "Lovely Livvy." She also appeared on the Go Show where she met future duet partner, Pat Carroll, and future music producer John Farrar (Carroll and Farrar would later marry). She entered and won a talent contest on the television program Sing, Sing, Sing, hosted by 1960s Australian icon Johnny O'Keefe, performing the songs "Anyone Who Had A Heart" and "Everything's Coming Up Roses." Newton-John was initially reluctant to use the prize she had won, a trip to England, but travelled there nearly a year later after her mother encouraged her to broaden her horizons.
Newton-John recorded her first single, Till You Say You'll Be Mine b/w Forever, in England for Decca Records in 1966. Newton-John was homesick in England for her then-boyfriend, Ian Turpie, with whom she had co-starred in the Australian telefilm, Funny Things Happen Down Under. Newton-John would repeatedly book trips back to Australia that her mother would subsequently cancel. Newton-John's outlook changed when Pat Carroll also moved to England. The two formed a duo called "Pat and Olivia" and toured nightclubs in Europe. (In one incident, they were booked at Paul Raymond's Revue in Soho, London. Dressed primly in frilly, high-collared dresses, they were unaware that this was a strip club until they began to perform onstage.) After Carroll's visa expired forcing her to return to Australia, Newton-John remained in England to pursue solo work until 1975. She became engaged to the Shadows' guitarist Bruce Welch, but they never married.
Newton-John was recruited for the group Toomorrow formed by American producer Don Kirshner who was also the music consultant for the earliest recordings of the Monkees. In 1970, the group starred in a "science fiction musical" film and recorded an accompanying soundtrack album both named after the group. The project bombed and the group disbanded.
- Category Singer & Musician