The classic film Grease may be turning 40 this month, but its cultural influence is as alive as ever.
Even today, learning the lyrics to “You’re the One that I Want” is expected!
As we celebrate this special anniversary of the film’s release, one thing is for sure: Grease would not be the same without Olivia Newton-John. Her unforgettable performance helped the hit musical become the top-grossing film of 1978 and earned ONJ posters a place on fans’ walls worldwide.
Although she first gained international stardom from Grease in her late twenties, she is a naturally born performer who took to the stage as a preteen. By age fifteen, she had cocreated a girl band with classmates called Sol Four, and she earned the nickname “Lovely Livvy” while starring on Australian TV two years later.
Olivia is not only talented but also extremely passionate, making her popular among her costars — including the swoon-worthy John Travolta. She has channeled this passion into activism for multiple humanitarian causes.
As a previous survivor and recently diagnosed with breast cancer, Olivia holds cancer activism near and dear to her heart. She is “excited about educating and encouraging women to take a positive role in their breast health.” Thank you for all you have done to help others who are fighting this tough battle, Olivia. We wish you a speedy recovery!
Are you a true ONJ superfan? Check out the list below to see how well you really know the gorgeous Grease star. And if you loved this list of Olivia trivia, please be sure SHARE the fun with your family and friends on Facebook!
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1. She Wasn't Actually Born In Australia
Olivia was born in Cambridge, England, in 1948 and moved to Melbourne, Australia, when she was just 5 years old. As a teenager, she returned to Britain after winning a talent contest and prize trip to London. She kept her cute Australian accent, though!
2. She Almost Rejected The Role That Made Her Famous
In an interview with The Telegraph in January, Olivia admitted she almost turned down the chance to play Sandy because she thought she was too old for the part. 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.”
3. 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.
4. She Experienced Outrageous Mishaps On Set
Few moments in movie history are more memorable than Sandy’s big transition from goody-two-shoes to greaser at the school carnival in Grease. But while filming this classic scene, a zipper broke on Olivia’s costume — forcing the crew to sew her into those tight black pants! Who would have guessed?
5. Sandy And Danny Weren’t The Only Ones Crushing
For John and Olivia, romantic sparks flew offscreen too. In an interview with TheFIX in 2012, John admitted to being “hopelessly devoted” to Olivia while filming Grease, and she said the feeling was mutual. “We both had a crush on each other,” she gushed. “It created great chemistry.”
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 Has A Green Thumb
Sure, Olivia is glamorous, but she isn’t afraid to get her hands a little dirty working on her organic garden, growing produce, and tending to her chickens. According to her website, Olivia is passionate about the environment and was even appointed as the first Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations Environment Program in 1991.
8. She Adores Animals Of All Shapes And Sizes
A quick glance at Olivia’s Instagram feed is enough to reveal her deep love of animals. Not only has she snapped pictures of precious baby chicks on her farm, but she has shared crown-wearing cats and snuggly pups. And this friendly horse “makes my day” too, Olivia!
9. She Had Collected Three Grammys By Age 25
Olivia has raked in an impressive amount of awards, including American Music Awards and Country Music Association Awards. Most impressively, she has won four Grammys, ranging from “Best Female Country Vocal Performance” for “Let Me Be There” in 1973 to “Video of the Year” for “Physical” in 1982. And how many people can say they won “Record of the Year” before turning 26?
10. She And Travolta Have A Reunion Performance Planned
According to The Daily Mirror, Olivia recently confirmed she and John will return to their iconic roles as Sandy and Danny to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Grease. As for performance details, the pair has remained super secretive. “We are thinking up ways [to do it],” Olivia said at the Fame Awards at Hard Rock Live in Las Vegas. “Nothing to announce yet.”
What do you think this commemorative performance will look like? Don’t forget to SHARE these fun facts with fellow Grease lovers on Facebook!