Helen Reddy

Helen Reddy

Australian-American singer, actress, TV host, and activist (1941–2020)
Helen Reddy

Date of Birth 25 October 1941, Richmond, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Birth Name Helen Maxine Lamond Reddy

Nickname The Singing Nun

Height 5' 3" (1.6 m)

Mini Bio (1)

The #1 Grammy-winning "I Am Woman" became not only THE anthem of the feminist movement during the radical 1970s, but also the signature song for its crop-haired composer and singer Helen Reddy. Three decades later this is the hit people still remember her for, despite the fact she had an abundance of other "top ten" records over the course of her long career.

Helen Maxine Lamond Reddy was born in Melbourne, Australia, to showbiz parents, comedy actor/producer/writer Max Reddy and singer/soap opera actress Stella Lamond. She has English, Irish, Scottish, and Welsh ancestry. Helen began performing at the age of four at the Tivoli Theatre in Perth, Australia, touring much of her native country with her parents. She left boarding school at age 15 to work on the road singing and acting. Her musical style is best described as a light amalgam of rhythm and blues, easy rock and jazz. Her soothing, quivery vocals and equally warm appeal was instantly embraced, eventually earning her own Australian radio show. "Helen Reddy Sings" aired twice weekly on the Australian Broadcasting Commission.

In 1966 Helen won a trip to New York in an Austalian Bandstand International contest and, though she met with little success during this excursion, did meet and marry second husband Jeff Wald, a manager and an agent with the William Morris talent agency. They married the following year and went to Los Angeles. Helen converted to Judaism before the marriage.

Wald worked Helen into a few performances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962), fifteen appearances total, and the resulting attention earned her her first hit with a top version of "I Don't Know How to Love Him" from the Broadway rock musical "Jesus Christ Superstar" in February 1972. Signed by Capitol Records, she enjoyed hit after hit throughout the early 70s, with "Delta Dawn" (1973) and "Angie Baby" (1974) also reaching #1. In 1973 Helen had her own summer-replacement variety show and was a popular hostess for a time on NBC's late-night variety show The Midnight Special (1972). She tried to parlay her singing success into a film career but the pretty, wholesome-looking entertainer received only a mild reception for the Disney children's film Pete's Dragon (1977) and it went no further.

In 1982, she divorced Wald and married a third time the following year to drummer Milton Ruth. Helen has ventured on into the concert and symphony orchestra forums as well as becoming a popular cabaret and nightclub attraction. In recent years she has graced a number of musical theater productions both on Broadway and in London's West End. Over the years she has been considered a primary interpreter of English playwright Willy Russell, having appeared in four productions of his one-woman show "Shirley Valentine." Other live musical productions have included "Anything Goes," "Call Me Madam," "The Mystery of Edwin Drood" and Russell's "Blood Brothers", in which she made her Broadway debut. Lately she is living again in her native Australia and retired from the business in 2002. These days she is a practicing hypnotherapist and motivational speaker.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Spouse (3)

Milton Ruth (29 June 1983 - 1995) (divorced)

Jeff Wald (25 May 1966 - 1983) (divorced) (1 child)

Kenneth Weate (1961 - 1966) (1 child)

Trade Mark (2)

Distinctive nasal vocals

Short Close Cropped Hair

Trivia (25)

She appeared in the music video and sang in the choir on the song "Voices That Care."

Daughter of comedian Max Reddy, and actress Stella Lamond.

Younger half-sister of actress Toni Lamond.

Son, Jordan Sommers, from her marriage to Jeff Wald.

Daughter, Traci Wald Donat, from her first marriage.

Cousin (by marriage) of Colleen McCullough.

Became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1974.

A reddish-violet tulip was named for her in Holland.

Half-sister Toni Lamond is a popular musical stage and cabaret singer/comedienne in Australia who has performed in such productions as "42nd Street" and "The Pirates of Penzance".

In 2000 she released her very first Christmas collection, "Helen Reddy: The Best Christmas Ever."

Served for three years as Commissioner of Parks and Recreation for her adopted state of California.

A British indie pop band called Trembling Blue Stars wrote a song in her honour called "Helen Reddy". It appears on their album "The Seven Autumn Flowers" (2005).

Lately, Helen is a practicing Clinical Hypnotherapist based in Sydney and is Patron of the Australian Society of Clinical Hypnotherapists.

Sold more than 15 million albums and 10 million singles, and was the first Australian-born performer to win a Grammy award.

Active in community affairs, Helen Reddy once served for three years as Commissioner of Parks and Recreation for the State of California.

Ex-husband Milton Ruth was a drummer who performed on her "Feeling So Young" album and served as a producer.

Was asked to play the cameo role of "The Nun" in Airplane! (1980) but passed.

Mother-in-law of Lucas Donat.

She was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 1750 Vine Street in Hollywood, California.

She suffers from Addison's disease, a failure of the adrenal glands, which requires constant treatment.

Inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame in 2006.

Stepaunt of Tony Sheldon.

Release of her book, "The Woman I Am: A Memoir".

Living on Norfolk Island, off the east coast of Australia [May 2002]

"I Am Woman" was the first #1 Billboard Hot 100 hit by an Australian artist.

Personal Quotes (2)

[on her role in Airport 1975 (1974)] I love the part, and portraying a nun certainly gives one a different perspective on life. At times while in my habit, I felt quite different than usual. It was a special feeling. The kind one feels when they've done something good and clean within themselves.

[on her role in Airport 1975 (1974)] The best thing about the picture for me is the chance to appear with veteran performers like Gloria Swanson, Myrna Loy, Nancy Olson and Martha Scott. When you're surrounded by people like that, you're bound to look good.


View details Hide details
Helen Reddy was born on Saturday, 25 October 1941 in Richmond, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Her full name at birth was Helen Maxine Lamond Reddy. She was best known as a singer. Reddy's country of citizenship (nationality) was Australian. She died on Tuesday, 29 September 2020 in Los Angeles, California, USA at the age of 78. Helen attended high school at Tintern Girls Grammar School. Her religion is listed as Jewish. She was 5' 3" (160 cm) tall with a slim build. She had light brown eyes and dyed red hair (color). Her net worth was reported to be $3,000,000 US dollars. Her zodiac star sign was Scorpio.

You can find people similar to Helen Reddy by visiting our lists 20th-century Australian women singers and Varèse Sarabande artists.

Full name at birth
Helen Maxine Lamond Reddy
Claim to fame
I Am Woman
Date of birth
25 October 1941
Place of birth
Richmond, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Date of death
29 September 2020
78 (age at death)
Place of death
Los Angeles, California, USA
Cause of death
Addison’s disease and dementia
Singer, actress, activist
Occupation category


5' 3" (160 cm)
Hair color
Eye color
Zodiac sign
Distinctive feature add_black distinctive feature
Pets add_black pets


Net worth
$3,000,000 USD
High school
Tintern Girls Grammar School
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University add_black university
Talent agency add_black talent agency
Political affiliation add_black political affiliation
Political party add_black political party
I am woman, hear me roar.

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