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Who is Helen Reddy?

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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 18 July 2014
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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.

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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.

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