How old was Olivia Newton-John in Xanadu? She played 'ageless Greek muse'

Amber Peake August 9, 2022
How old was Olivia Newton-John in Xanadu? She played 'ageless Greek muse'
Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images


Celebrated actress and singer Olivia Newton-John, who was known to audiences around the world for her roles in Grease and Xanadu, has died aged 73. 

The actress’ husband confirmed her passing in a statement on her Facebook page on Monday (August 8). He revealed she had died at her Southern Californian ranch surrounded by family, having battled breast cancer for three decades. 

As fans and figures across the world of entertainment look back on her more than 50-year career, some have wondered how old Olivia Newton-John was in Xanadu. Let’s take a look…

Locke & Key 3 | Final Season Trailer | Netflix

Locke & Key 3 | Final Season Trailer | Netflix

Filming for Xanadu began in the fall of 1979

Xanadu followed the story of Sonny Malone, a struggling artist whose life takes a turn when he meets an “ageless Greek muse” named Kira portrayed by Olivia Newton-John.

Production for Xanadu began a year before its release in September 1979. Newton-John’s role in Xanadu came off the back of her success in Grease, which was released in 1978. 

Filming lasted four months before wrapping in January 1980. The film premiered later that summer in August, first in the US and Australia. It premiered in the UK the following month and in Europe from that October. 

How old was Olivia Newton-John in Xanadu?

Photo by CLINT SPAULDING/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Olivia Newton-John was born September 26, 1948, meaning when filming began, she would have been on the cusp of her 31st birthday.

The actress would have been the same age when production ended in January 1980 as well as its initial release in the US and Australia that August. However, by the time it was released across Europe that October, she would have celebrated her 32nd birthday.

Newton-John reflected on her feature in the 80s movie in a past appearance on Australia’s Today Show as the film was adapted to stage.

Looking back on her time on set, the actress reminisced about “dancing with everybody and singing with everyone” as she added: “It was a great experience, actually a lot of fun.”

How old was Olivia in Grease? 

The classic film, which saw the late actress portray good girl Sandy who fell for greaser Danny Zuko was filmed in the summer of 1977. 

Production began that June and came to an end that September after three months. Filming ended just before her 29th birthday, meaning she would have been 28 throughout the film. 

When the film premiered in June 1978, Olivia Newton-John would have been 29, just a couple of months away from her 30th birthday.

Where to watch Xanadu and Grease in late actress’ honour

The 1980 film Xanadu does not appear to be currently streaming online however, Grease is available on Paramount+ and Hulu.

Both Xanadu and Grease are also available to buy and rent on Amazon and on Apple TV.

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Amber is an entertainment journalist with a love for anything showbiz, celeb or reality TV. After graduating with a degree in Journalism at Brunel University she became a Showbiz Reporter at Having written for both HITC and The Focus, Amber is now a staff writer for The Focus covering the latest celeb and entertainment trends.