NEWTON-JOHN, OLIVIA (1948– ), U.K.-born, Australia-raised singer and actress who scored numerous top-10 pop and country hits in the 1970s and 1980s, including, "Physical" and "Have You Never Been Mellow." Newton-John is the granddaughter of German Nobel Prize-winning physicist max born , who was a friend of albert einstein . In a 2004 TV interview, Newton-John said: "My mother tells me … that there used to be music in the house and Einstein used to come and play music with my grandfather." She has never been publicly identified as being Jewish. Newton-John moved to Australia with her family at age five, but was back in the U.K. at age 16 to pursue a singing career. She joined the cast of U.K. singer Cliff Richard's TV show in 1972, and began releasing record albums. Her first British hit was a version of bob dylan 's "If Not for You." She topped the U.S. record charts for the first of five times in 1974 with "I Honestly Love You." Other No. 1 titles include: "Have You Never Been Mellow" (1975), "You're the One that I Want" (1978, a duet with John Travolta from the film Grease, in which she co-starred), and "Magic" (1980, from the film Xanadu). Her 1981 pop-disco song "Physical" spent 10 weeks at No. 1. She has not charted since 1985, but sang at the opening ceremony of the 2000 Sydney Olympics. She recuperated from breast cancer in 1992, and afterward became a spokeswoman for breast cancer awareness. Newton-John was recipient of the OBE (Order of the British Empire) from Queen Elizabeth in 1979. (Alan D. Abbey (2nd ed.)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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