Olivia Newton-John becomes a dame in UK honors list

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Olivia Newton-John, the UK-born Australian singer who found worldwide fame in the hit movie “Grease”, was given a damehood in Britain’s traditional New Year Honors unveiled on Friday.

The entertainer, whose career has spanned more than five decades, was joined on the prestigious annual achievement list by Oscar-winning Hollywood directors Sam Mendes and Steve McQueen.

English cricketing heroes Joe Root and Ben Stokes also received awards following the country’s first Cricket World Cup victory last summer.

Queen Elizabeth II’s New Year Honours List recognizes outstanding achievements in the worlds of showbiz, sport, and politics, as well as the contributions of a larger number of everyday citizens.

Overall, 1,097 names were on the list for 2020, nearly two-thirds of whom have undertaken outstanding work in or for their local community.

Newton-John, who has devoted much of her time and celebrity to charities after battling three different cancer diagnoses since the early 1990s, said she was “extremely excited, honored and grateful” to receive the award.

“As a girl born in Cambridge, I am very proud of my British ancestry and so appreciative to be recognized in this way by the United Kingdom,” she told Britain’s Press Association.

The 71-year-old moved to Australia with her family when she was five.

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