The Legacy of Olivia-Newton John

Simeon Gordon, Senior Staff

Some say the point of life is to be remembered and build a legacy. But what does it take? Look no further than the late Olivia Newton-John, who may have one of the most defined legacies of all. 

She started off her career at age 14 by creating a quartet called “The Sol Four,” an all girl’s group which often performed at a coffee shop her brother-in-law owned. She also competed in a talent show called “Sing, Sing, Sing” hosted by Johnny O’Keefe and won. At OSOTA, scholars are afforded the opportunity to begin their theater career at a young age, much like Olivia. When asked about her acting career, Delaney Holt, ninth grade, said: “Starting off, I was really interested in theater; I didn’t need an extra push to start it. At the time, I was trying to find more hobbies, and I ended up growing in my relationships with some of the other kids in my class that were also interested in theater, as well as people in grades above and below me.” 

Mr. Ashley Richards, Delaney’s first theater director, stated: “What I enjoy about young theater enthusiasts is that they are open to coaching to help develop their craft because they are not afraid to try; they are not concerned about the opinions of their peers; they just get up on stage and give it their all.”

Newton-John recorded her first single “Till You Say You’ll Be Mine” for Decca Records in 1966 and released her first album “If Not For You” in 1971. From 1974-76, Olivia Newton-John had continued success with a record seven consecutive number one singles, including: “I Honestly Love You,” “Have You Never Been Mellow,” “Please Mr. Please,” “Something Better to Do,” “Let It Shine,” “Come on Over,” and “Don’t Stop Believin’.” Olivia truly solidified her legacy when she was cast as Sandy, the leading role in the cinema hit “Grease,” originally released in 1978. The movie not only was the box office hit of the year with its soundtrack spending 12 (non-consecutive) weeks at the top of the music charts, but yielded three top five singles: “You’re The One that I Want,” “Hopelessly Devoted To You,” and “Summer Nights.”  Two of the three hits, “Hopelessly Devoted To You” and “Summer Nights” were both in the top five at the same time. 

Good fortune does not last forever though. In 1992, Olivia Newton-John was diagnosed with breast cancer. She sought treatment immediately and soon went into remission. In 2013, however, the breast cancer returned in her shoulder, and in 2018, it metastasized to her lower back as well. After three decades of fighting, the award winning actor and vocalist passed away in her home in California on August 8th, 2022. When questioned about his feelings about Olivia Newton-John’s death, Mr. Richards said: “I was heartbroken over the loss of Olivia Newton-John. I was deeply in love with her acting and singing as a young adult.”

Looking back on her career and accomplishments, it is safe to say that her legacy may live on for many years to come.