The life and glittering career of Olivia Newton-John will be celebrated later this month with a state memorial service in Melbourne, the Victorian government has announced.
Delta Goodrem, the Sydney pop singer who portrayed Newton-John in the 2018 TV mini-series Hopelessly Devoted to You, will perform at the free, ticketed event, which is set for Feb. 26 at Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne.
The service is being planned in close consultation with representatives of the late artist, with special tributes from family and friends, reads a statement.
Newton-John died Aug. 8, 2022 after a long battle with cancer, at the age of 73.
“Dame Olivia Newton-John was an inspiration to many around the world – her work in cancer research and treatment saved lives and changed lives and her music was the soundtrack to a generation,” comments state premier Daniel Andrews.
“We know Victorians are eager to celebrate the life of a driving force in medical research and an icon of film and music, with a service befitting her international acclaim.”
For lengthy stints in the 1970s and 1980s, ONJ was Australia’s flag-bearer in pop culture with a string of hits and starring roles in Hollywood films Grease and Xanadu.
Born in Cambridge, England, Newton-John moved to Melbourne with her family at a young age. From early on, ONJ showed a knack for performing and moved to London after winning a trip on the ‘60s TV show Sing, Sing, Sing.
Newton-John did sing, and, in her heyday, was one of the most popular artists on the planet. She amassed five No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, including “Physical,” which was only the second song in Hot 100 history (following Debby Boone’s “You Light Up My Life”) to log 10 weeks at No. 1.
During her lifetime, she collected four Grammy Awards, set records at the American Music Awards and, in 1975, became just the second female solo artist to land back-to-back No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200 chart. Her catalog has sold more than 100 million units worldwide.
Newton-John used her fame for good. In 2012, she partnered with Austin Health in Melbourne, to establish the Olivia Newton-John Wellness and Research Centre (ONJWRC); she separately founded National Tree Day in Australia; and established the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund, which sponsors global research into plant medicine to help find kinder treatments for cancer.
Visit vic.gov.au/olivia-newton-john for more.