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Helen Reddy found fame and success as a singer and actress. She is best-known for her 1972 Grammy-winning song "I Am Woman." She was born 25 October 1941 in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia to show business parents. Her mother, Shelly Lamond, was a soap opera actress and singer, and her father, Max Reddy, was an actor, writer and producer. Helen Reddy performed on stage in Australia from the age of three. When she was 25, she left Australia for New York after winning an Australian Bandstand International contest.
While in New York, Reddy met and married William Morris talent agency manager Jeff Wald and appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Soon after that appearance, Helen Reddy had her first hit song, "I Don't Know How to Love Him." But it would be "I Am Woman," which hit number one on the Billboard music charts in October of 1972, that would become Helen Reddy's trademark song and also a song associated with feminism in the 1970s. Reddy created controversy when she accepted her Grammy award for Best Female Performance for "I Am Woman" not by thanking God, but by referring to God as "She."
Helen Reddy signed with Capitol Records and continued to churn out hit songs in the 1970s with "Delta Dawn" in 1973 and "Angie Baby" in 1974. She played concerts and was also featured in nightclubs and cabarets. Helen Reddy also performed in Broadway theater and performed with symphony orchestras.
Reddy hosted The Midnight Special in 1972 and had her own variety show in 1973. She also appeared as a nun in the film Airport 1975 and acted in television shows such as The Love Boat and Diagnosis Murder. She retired from show business in 2002.
Helen Reddy married her third husband, a drummer named Milton Ruth, in 1982. She has two children from her first and second marriages. Reddy does motivational speaking and her varied career path includes three years as California's Commissioner of Parks and Recreation. She is a clinical hypnotherapist in Australia and is the Patron of the Australian Society of Clinical Hypnotherapists.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who was Helen Reddy and why is she significant in music history?
Helen Reddy was an Australian-American singer, songwriter, and actress who gained international fame in the 1970s. She is best known for her hit song "I Am Woman," which became an anthem for the women's liberation movement. Reddy's impact on music history is marked by her role in breaking barriers for female artists and her influence on the feminist movement. Her success includes three number-one hits on the Billboard Hot 100 and she was the first Australian to win a Grammy Award and to host her own variety show on American television.
What were some of Helen Reddy's most popular songs?
Helen Reddy's most popular songs include "I Am Woman," which not only topped the charts but also earned her a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. Other notable hits are "Delta Dawn," "Angie Baby," and "Ain't No Way to Treat a Lady." These songs contributed to her status as a prominent figure in the music industry during the 1970s, with a total of 15 singles in the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100.
How did Helen Reddy's song "I Am Woman" influence the feminist movement?
"I Am Woman" became an empowering anthem for the feminist movement in the early 1970s. Its lyrics spoke to the struggle for gender equality and women's rights, resonating with many women who were fighting for equal treatment and opportunities. The song's popularity and its association with the movement helped to raise awareness and galvanize support for women's issues, making it a cultural touchstone of the era.
What awards and recognitions did Helen Reddy receive during her career?
During her career, Helen Reddy received numerous awards and recognitions. She won a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for "I Am Woman" in 1973. Reddy also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1976 for her contributions to the music industry. Additionally, she was recognized by Billboard Magazine as the Female Entertainer of the Year in 1973 and 1974.
What was Helen Reddy's impact on the entertainment industry beyond her music?
Beyond her music, Helen Reddy made significant contributions to the entertainment industry as an actress and a trailblazing television host. She appeared in films such as "Airport 1975" and "Pete's Dragon," showcasing her versatility as a performer. As the first Australian to host her own variety show on American television, "The Helen Reddy Show," she paved the way for other international artists in the American entertainment landscape.