Singer Helen Reddy’s feminist anthem “I Am Woman,” the only song she wrote herself, earned her a Grammy and international stardom. Born to a family of vaudeville performers, Reddy began performing at age four, but rebelled at age twelve, wanting to be a “normal” housewife when she grew up. After a brief marriage at age 20, Reddy became a single mother and went back to show business to support her child. She came to the US in 1966 and struggled to find paying gigs, but finally got a foothold when her cover of the Jesus Christ Superstar torch song “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” hit the Top 40 charts in 1971. The following year, inspired by the feminist movement, she wrote and recorded “I Am Woman,” which earned her her first of three Grammy awards. She followed this with another fifteen Top 40 hits and began making forays into acting with roles in Airport 1975 and Pete’s Dragon. She then shifted to theater, acting in a variety of musicals through the 1980s and 1990s, but also became a licensed hypnotherapist and served briefly as California’s Parks and Recreation Commissioner. Although she retired from performing in 2002, she briefly returned to singing in 2012.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Helen Reddy." (Viewed on May 7, 2021) <https://jwa.org/people/reddy-helen>.