Actress and Singer Olivia Newton-John Talks About Jewish Roots, Mother’s ‘Words of Wisdom’
Australian singer and “Grease” star Olivia Newton-John opened up about her Jewish roots in an interview with i24News published on Sunday.
“My mother was very proud of her Jewish tradition and talked about it a lot,” said the four-time Grammy winner, 70, who added that some of her closest girlfriends now are Jewish.
Newton-John’s mother, Irene Born, was the daughter of Jewish Austrian Nobel Prize-winning physicist Max Born. Newton’s grandfather was close friends with Albert Einstein and Irene in fact translated a book of letters between Max and Einstein that was published as “The Born-Einstein Letters 1916-1955.”
Newton-John told i24News that her grandfather helped German Jews escape to England during World War II and she regretted not meeting him before he died.
The cancer fighter, who was diagnosed with the disease last year for the third time in three decades, also said that when she was approached to get involved in the building of the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research and Wellness Centre in her hometown of Melbourne, Australia, she was at first hesitant, but her mother encouraged her to take part in the building process. She told the publication, “My mother basically said her words of wisdom: if you can help someone, do it.”