Olivia Newton-John named a Dame

 

Britain is hopelessly devoted to Australian film and music legend Olivia Newton-John, as the Grease star is named a Dame in the UK New Year's Honours List.

The 71-year-old has been made a dame commander of the British Empire for her services to entertainment and charity.

With five US number one singles and some of the most successful films of all time already under her belt, she joins a list of singers, directors and sports stars on the UK's top honours list.

Dame Olivia was born in Cambridge, England in 1948 before moving to Melbourne in 1954.

She started singing on Australian television when she was 14.

It wasn't long till she took the US and UK by storm with hits like "I Honestly Love You." Dame Olivia has since sold 100 million singles worldwide.

She also represented Britain in the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest.

But her worldwide fame was cemented with the classic hit film Grease in 1978 - playing the iconic role of Sandy opposite John Travolta.

Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta in 'Grease'.
Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta in 'Grease'.

Dame Olivia's career rose and rose - with some bumps in the road such the divisive film Xanadu - but she has remained a staple of pop culture.

She most recently had a recurring role in the global hit TV show Glee.

Last week, Dame Olivia reunited with her Grease co-star Travolta at a sing-a-long event of the film in Florida - and wore her costume from Grease for the first time in 41 years.

 

In recent years, she has been beset by her multiple fights with cancer and even had to dispel online rumours of her death.

She has privately battled breast cancer since 2013 and announced in 2017 the cancer had returned.

She has poured all of her struggle into her Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre in an effort to find a cure of the disease which has followed her in the past decade.

Dame Olivia is also an advocate of using cannabis oil to help ease the suffering of cancer patients.

Upon receiving the honour, she said "I am extremely excited, honoured and grateful beyond words to be included with such an esteemed group of women who have received this distinguished award before me.

"As a girl born in Cambridge, I am very proud of my British ancestry and so appreciative to be recognised in this way by the United Kingdom."

Olivia Newton-John at the Cancer Wellness and Research Centre wellness walk and research run with her daughter, Chloe Lattanzi. Picture: Sarah Matray
Olivia Newton-John at the Cancer Wellness and Research Centre wellness walk and research run with her daughter, Chloe Lattanzi. Picture: Sarah Matray

The Aussie superstar is the top name on a list which also honours members of England's cricket team and the UK's top film directors.

Cricketers Ben Stokes and Eoin Morgan have been made an OBE and CBE respectively.

Skyfall director Sam Mendes and 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen has been both named knights.

Elton John. Picture: Tony Gough
Elton John. Picture: Tony Gough

Musician Sir Elton John - who has recently been touring Australia - has had his knighthood upgraded to a Companion of Honour. This makes him one of only 65 living recipients of the award.