John Travolta

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John Travolta
John Travolta, London, 2013 (derivate).jpg
Travolta in 2013
Born John Joseph Travolta
(1954-02-18) February 18, 1954 (age 60)[1]
Englewood, New Jersey, U.S.
Residence Jumbolair subdivision; Ocala, Florida
Occupation Actor, singer, dancer, producer, writer, pilot
Years active 1969–present
Religion Roman Catholic (1954–1975)
Scientologist (1975–present)
Spouse(s) Kelly Preston (m. 1991)
Children
  • Jett Travolta (1992–2009)
  • Ella Bleu Travolta (b. 2000)
  • Benjamin Travolta (b. 2010)
Website
www.travolta.com

John Joseph Travolta (born February 18, 1954) is an American actor, dancer, and singer. Travolta first became known in the 1970s, after appearing on the television series Welcome Back, Kotter and starring in the box office successes Saturday Night Fever and Grease. Travolta's acting career declined through the 1980s.

His career enjoyed a resurgence in the 1990s with his role in Pulp Fiction, and he has since continued starring in more recent films such as Face/Off, Ladder 49, and Wild Hogs. Travolta was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for Saturday Night Fever and Pulp Fiction. He won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for his performance in Get Shorty. In 2014, He has received the IIFA Award for Outstanding Achievement in International Cinema at the 15th IIFA Awards held at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, in the United States.[2]

Early life

Travolta, the youngest of six children,[3] was born and raised in Englewood, New Jersey, an inner-ring suburb of New York City. His father, Salvatore Travolta (November 1912 – May 1995),[4] was a semi-professional American football player turned tire salesman and partner in a tire company.[5] His mother, Helen Cecilia (née Burke, January 1912 – December 1978),[4] was an actress and singer who had appeared in The Sunshine Sisters, a radio vocal group, and acted and directed before becoming a high school drama and English teacher.[6] His siblings, Joey, Ellen, Ann, Margaret, and Sam Travolta, have all acted.[6] His father was a second-generation Italian American and his mother was Irish American;[7][8] he grew up in an Irish-American neighborhood and has said that his household was predominantly Irish in culture.[9][10] He was raised Roman Catholic, but converted to Scientology in 1975.[8][11] Travolta attended Dwight Morrow High School, but dropped out as a junior at age 17 in 1971.[12]

Career

Early career

Travolta as Vinnie Barbarino in the ABC comedy Welcome Back Kotter, c. 1976

After attending Dwight Morrow High School,[13] Travolta moved across the Hudson River to New York City and landed a role in the touring company of the musical Grease and on Broadway in Over Here!, singing the Sherman Brothers' song "Dream Drummin'".[14][15] He then moved to Los Angeles to further his career in show business.

Travolta's first California-filmed television role was as a fall victim in, Emergency! (S2E2), in September 1972,[16] but his first significant movie role was as Billy Nolan, a bully who was goaded into playing a prank on Sissy Spacek's character in the horror film, Carrie (1976).[17] Around the same time, he landed his star-making role as Vinnie Barbarino in the TV sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter (1975–1979), in which his sister, Ellen, also occasionally appeared (as Arnold Horshack's mother).[18] The show aired on ABC.

1970s stardom

Travolta had a hit single entitled "Let Her In", peaking at number ten on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in July 1976.[19][20][21] In the next few years, he appeared in two of his most noted screen roles: Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever (1977) and as Danny Zuko in Grease (1978).[6] The films were among the most commercially successful pictures of the decade and catapulted Travolta to international stardom.[22] Saturday Night Fever earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.[23] At age 24, Travolta became one of the youngest performers ever nominated for the Best Actor Oscar.[24] His mother and his sister Ann appeared as extras in Saturday Night Fever and his sister Ellen appeared as a waitress in Grease. Travolta performed several of the songs on the Grease soundtrack album.[25] In 1980, Travolta inspired a nationwide country music craze that followed on the heels of his hit film, Urban Cowboy, in which he starred with Debra Winger.[26]

Downturn

Travolta in 1983.

After Urban Cowboy, Travolta starred in a series of financial and critical failures that sidelined his acting career. These included Perfect, co-starring Jamie Lee Curtis, and Two of a Kind, a romantic comedy reteaming him with Olivia Newton-John. During that time he was offered, but turned down, lead roles in what would become box office hits, including American Gigolo[27] and An Officer and a Gentleman, both of which went to Richard Gere.[28]

Resurgence

Travolta in 1997.

In 1989, Travolta starred with Kirstie Alley in Look Who's Talking, which grossed $297,000,000, making it his most successful film since Grease. Travolta continued to the two sequels Look Who's Talking Too (1990) and Look Who's Talking Now (1993). But it was not until he played Vincent Vega in Quentin Tarantino's hit Pulp Fiction (1994), for which he received an Academy Award nomination, that his career revived.[6][29][30] The movie shifted him back onto the A-list, and he was inundated with offers. Notable roles following Pulp Fiction include a movie-buff loan shark in Get Shorty (1995), an FBI agent and terrorist in Face/Off (1997), a desperate attorney in A Civil Action (1998), a Bill Clinton-esque presidential candidate in Primary Colors (1998),[6] and a military investigator in The General's Daughter (1999).

2000–present

Travolta also starred in Battlefield Earth (2000) based on a work of science fiction by L. Ron Hubbard, in which he played the leader of a group of aliens that enslaves humanity on a bleak future Earth. The film received almost universally negative reviews and did very poorly at the box office.[31] In 2007 he starred in Wild Hogs and played Mrs. Edna Turnblad in the remake of Hairspray, his first musical since Grease.[32] In 2008 he lent his voice for the film Bolt, in which he played the title role. Similarly, he is to play the voice of Gummy Bear in the animated film release scheduled for late 2015, "Gummy Bear The Movie 3D", a film that may be noted more for its associated merchandise revenues.

Personal life

Travolta dancing with Diana, Princess of Wales, at the White House, November 9, 1985. She is wearing her Travolta dress.

Relationships

Travolta was in a relationship with actress Diana Hyland, whom he met while filming The Boy in the Plastic Bubble; Hyland died of breast cancer in 1977.[33]

Travolta married actress Kelly Preston in 1991. The couple had a son, Jett (April 13, 1992 – January 2, 2009).[34] Their daughter, Ella Bleu, was born in 2000 and a third child, a son named Benjamin, was born in 2010 in Florida.[35] Travolta and Preston have regularly attended marriage counseling; Travolta has stated that therapy has helped the marriage.[36]

Travolta and wife Kelly Preston at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.

In May 2012, an anonymous masseur filed a lawsuit against Travolta citing claims of sexual assault and battery. A lawyer for Travolta said that the allegations were "complete fiction and fabrication" and someone wanting their 15 minutes of fame. Travolta's counsel also stated that his client would be able to prove that he was not in California on the day in question and asserted that Travolta would "sue the attorney and Plaintiff for malicious prosecution" after getting the case thrown out.[37] A second masseur later joined the lawsuit making similar claims.[38][39] Both lawsuits were subsequently dropped by the complainants and dismissed without prejudice.[40]

A judge ruled to dismiss a defamation lawsuit against Travolta and his attorney Marty Singer by writer Robert Randolph. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Malcolm Mackey dismissed the case on September 27, 2012, because he found that a letter, written by Singer in response to allegations in a book by Randolph, had free speech protection.[41]

Son’s death

In 2009, Travolta's son, Jett, died while on a Christmas vacation in The Bahamas.[42][43] A Bahamian death certificate was issued, attributing the cause of death to a seizure.[44] Jett, who had a troubled history of seizures, reportedly suffered from Kawasaki disease at the age of two.[45][46] Travolta confirmed speculation that his son had autism and suffered regular seizures and immediately made his public statements while giving testimony after a multi-million dollar extortion plot against him in connection to his son's death.[47] After a mistrial, Travolta dropped the charges and has credited his immediate family and faith in helping him survive the premature death of his son and in moving forward with his film career.[48][49][50]

Religion

Travolta has been a practitioner of Scientology since 1975 when he was given the book Dianetics while filming the movie The Devil’s Rain in Durango, Mexico.[51] After the 2010 Haiti earthquake, joining other celebrities in helping with the relief efforts, Travolta flew his 707 full of supplies, doctors, and Scientologist Volunteer Ministers into the disaster area.[52]

Pilot

Travolta in 2004.

Travolta is a certified private pilot.[citation needed] He owns five aircraft, including an ex-Qantas Boeing 707–138 airliner that bears the name Jett Clipper Ella in honor of his children.[53] Pan American World Airways was a large operator of the Boeing 707 and used Clipper in its names. The 707 aircraft bears the marks of Qantas, as Travolta acts as an official goodwill ambassador for the airline wherever he flies.[54]

His $4.9 million estate in the Jumbolair subdivision in Ocala, Florida, is situated on Greystone Airport with its own runway and taxiway right to his front door.[55]

On November 24, 1992, Travolta was piloting his Gulfstream N728T at night above a solid undercast, when he experienced a total electrical system failure, while flying under instrument flight rules into Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. During the emergency landing, he almost had a mid-air collision with a USAir Boeing 727, an event attributed to a risky decision by an air traffic controller.[56]

On September 13, 2010, during the first episode of the final season of her talk show, Oprah Winfrey announced that she would be taking her entire studio audience on an 8-day expenses-paid trip to Australia, with Travolta serving as pilot for the trip. He had helped Winfrey plan the trip for more than a year.[57]

He is the author of the book Propeller One-Way Night Coach, the story of the young Jeff’s first flight.[58]

Filmography

Film
Year Title Role Notes
1975 Tenth Level, TheThe Tenth Level John TV movie
1975 Devil's Rain, TheThe Devil's Rain Danny
1976 Boy in the Plastic Bubble, TheThe Boy in the Plastic Bubble Tod Lubitch
1976 Carrie Billy Nolan
1977 Saturday Night Fever Tony Manero
1978 Moment by Moment Strip Harrison
1978 Grease Daniel "Danny" Zuko
1980 Urban Cowboy Buford 'Bud' Uan Davis
1981 Blow Out Jack Terry
1983 Staying Alive Tony Manero
1983 Two of a Kind Zack Melon
1985 Perfect Adam Lawrence
1987 Basements Ben TV segment "The Dumb Waiter"
1989 Look Who's Talking James Ubriacco
1989 Experts, TheThe Experts Travis
1990 Look Who's Talking Too James Ubriacco
1991 Shout Jack Cabe
1991 Eyes of an Angel Bobby aka The Tender
1991 Chains of Gold Scott Barnes TV movie; also writer
1992 Boris and Natasha: The Movie Himself cameo
1993 Look Who's Talking Now James Ubriacco
1994 Pulp Fiction Vincent Vega
1995 Get Shorty Chili Palmer
1995 White Man's Burden Louis Pinnock
1996 Michael Michael
1996 Phenomenon George Malley
1996 Orientation: A Scientology Information Film Himself short subject
1996 Broken Arrow Maj. Vic 'Deak' Deakins Nomination—MTV Movie Award for Best Villain
Nomination—MTV Movie Award for Best Fight (shared with Christian Slater)
1997 Off the Menu: The Last Days of Chasen's Himself documentary
1997 Mad City Sam Baily
1997 Face/Off Sean Archer/Castor Troy
1997 She's So Lovely Joey Giamonti also executive producer
1998 Civil Action, AA Civil Action Jan Schlichtmann
1998 Thin Red Line, TheThe Thin Red Line Brigadier General Quintard Satellite Special Achievement Award for Outstanding Motion Picture Ensemble
1998 Junket Whore Himself documentary
1998 Primary Colors Governor Jack Stanton Nomination—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1999 General's Daughter, TheThe General's Daughter Warr. Off. Paul Brenner/Sgt. Frank White
1999 Our Friend, Martin Kyle's dad animated educational film, voice only
2000 Welcome to Hollywood Himself mockumentary; cameo
2001 Domestic Disturbance Frank Morrison
2001 Swordfish Gabriel Shear
2002 Austin Powers in Goldmember "Austinpussy" Johann van der Smut (Goldmember) / Himself cameo
2003 Basic Tom Hardy
2004 Ladder 49 Captain Mike Kennedy
2004 Love Song for Bobby Long, AA Love Song for Bobby Long Bobby Long
2004 Punisher, TheThe Punisher Howard Saint
2005 Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D James Benson "Jim" Irwin narrator; documentary
2005 Be Cool Chili Palmer
2006 Lonely Hearts Elmer C. Robinson
2007 Wild Hogs Woody Stevens
2007 Hairspray Edna Turnblad
2008 Bolt Bolt voice
2009 Taking of Pelham 123, TheThe Taking of Pelham 123 Benard Ryder
2009 Old Dogs Charlie Reed
2010 From Paris with Love Charlie Wax
2012 Savages Dennis
2013 Killing Season Emil Kovac
2015 Gummy Bear The Movie 3D Gummy Bear voice
2015 Criminal Activities Filming
2015 In a Valley of Violence Filming
Television
Year Title Role Notes
1972 Emergency! Chuck Benson[59] Episode: "Kids"
1972 Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law Episode: "A Piece of God"
1973 Rookies, TheThe Rookies Eddie Halley Episode: " Frozen Smoke"
1974 Medical Center Danny Episode: "Saturday's Child"
1975–1979 Welcome Back, Kotter Vincent "Vinnie" Barbarino Main Role (Seasons 1–3) / Special Guest Star (Season 4); 79 episodes

Discography

Albums

Year Album US
1974 Over Here!
1976 John Travolta 39
1977 Can't Let You Go 66
1978 Travolta Fever 161
Grease 1
1983 Two of a Kind 26
1986 The Road to Freedom
1996 Let Her In: The Best of John Travolta
2003 The Collection
2007 Hairspray
2012 This Christmas (with Olivia Newton-John) 81

Singles

Year US Billboard US Cash Box US Record World US AC CAN CAN AC UK Title
1974 "Dream Drummin'"
1975 "Easy Evil"
"Can't Let You Go"
1976 "You Set My Dreams To Music"
"Goodnight Mr. Moon
"Rainbows"
"Settle Down"
"Moonlight Lady"
"Right Time of the Night"
"Big Trouble"
"What Would They Say"
"Back Doors Crying"
10 5 16 7 "Let Her In"
38 62 61 "Whenever I'm Away From You"
"Slow Dancin'"
"It Had To Be You"
"I Don't Know What I Like About You Baby"
1977 34 28 30 "All Strung Out On You"
"Baby, I Could Be So Good at Lovin' You"
"Razzamatazz"
1978 1 3 2 1 "You're the One That I Want" (with Olivia Newton-John)
5 3 3 1 "Summer Nights" (with Olivia Newton-John)
- - - - - 1 "Sandy"
47 45 "Greased Lightnin'"
1980 "Never Gonna Fall in Love Again"
1983 - "Take A Chance" (with Olivia Newton-John)
1997 - "Two Sleepy People" (with Carly Simon)
2008 - "I Thought I Lost You" (with Miley Cyrus)

See also

References

  1. ^ "Monitor". Entertainment Weekly (1247). February 22, 2013. p. 32. 
  2. ^ IIFA 2014: John Travolta, Kevin Spacey star in 'Bollywood Oscars' - NDTV
  3. ^ Pearce, Garth (July 15, 2007). "On the move: John Travolta". Times Online (London). Retrieved July 17, 2007. 
  4. ^ a b "Social Security Death Index". Ssdi.rootsweb.ancestry.com. Retrieved May 14, 2011. 
  5. ^ "John Travolta Biography (1954–)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved August 26, 2009. 
  6. ^ a b c d e Stated on Inside the Actors Studio, 2003
  7. ^ "Begorrah!! Travolta's Irish...". Showbiz Ireland. January 7, 2007. Retrieved July 17, 2007. 
  8. ^ a b Flynn, Gaynor (February 28, 2010). "The resurrection man". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved September 9, 2010. 
  9. ^ "Celebetty: John Travolta". BeatBoxBetty.com. 2000. Retrieved July 17, 2007. 
  10. ^ Grant, Meg (February 2005). "Night Moves". Reader's Digest. Retrieved July 17, 2007. 
  11. ^ "The Big Question: John Travolta". "THE BIG QUESTION" BBC1. January 28, 2004. Retrieved July 17, 2007. 
  12. ^ Reeves, Michael. "Travolta recalls lonely high schooldays", The StarPhoenix, September 28, 1978. Accessed June 12, 2011. "As far as academics were concerned, John was not the best student at Dwight Morrow High School. He confesses that 'I was only an average student.'"
  13. ^ "Q&A: John Travolta". Sports Illustrated. February 28, 2007. Retrieved August 26, 2009. 
  14. ^ "Masterworks & Playbill Debut 2 Editors' Choice Compilations". Baltimore.broadwayworld.com. March 11, 2007. Retrieved August 26, 2009. 
  15. ^ Collins, Nancy (August 18, 1983). "Sex and the Single Star: John Travolta". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 26, 2009. 
  16. ^ "The Quintessential Tarot Tina: What's on the Cards for Star John Travolta". Highbeam.com. July 3, 2005. Retrieved August 26, 2009. 
  17. ^ Mcelroy, Steven (July 8, 2006). "What's on Tonight". New York Times. Retrieved August 26, 2009. 
  18. ^ "A Sister's Inspiration – John Travolta Followed Ellen's Lead into Acting". The Spokesman-Review. July 7, 1996. Retrieved August 26, 2009. 
  19. ^ Let Her In - John Travolta Billboard.com. retrieved: 2012-08-24.
  20. ^ Blank, Ed (March 28, 2003). "John Travolta talks about his past, his present and his destiny in Hollywood". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved August 26, 2009. 
  21. ^ "Then & Now: 10 Best Teen Idols of All Time". FOXNews.com. January 1, 2009. Retrieved August 26, 2009. 
  22. ^ White, Jim (October 17, 1994). "Look who's acting: Staying Alive was dire. Perfect was anything but. Now, courtesy of Tarantino's Pulp Fiction, Travolta is back.". The Independent (London). Retrieved August 26, 2009. 
  23. ^ "Saturday Night Fever". Variety. December 14, 1977. Retrieved August 26, 2009. [dead link]
  24. ^ Karger, Dave (April 27, 2007). "Spotlight on Ryan Gosling". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 26, 2009. 
  25. ^ "Travolta, R.E.M., Moby, Danzig Make Movie/Music Crossovers". Mtv.com. July 17, 1997. Retrieved August 26, 2009. 
  26. ^ "John Travolta". MTV. February 18, 1954. Retrieved August 26, 2009. 
  27. ^ Jackson, Kevin (February 6, 1996). "High-concept high roller". The Independent (London). Retrieved August 26, 2009. 
  28. ^ "John Travolta goes the whole Hog with his new hit movie". The Independent (London). April 6, 2007. Retrieved August 26, 2009. 
  29. ^ Lasalle, Mick (October 15, 1995). "Making Movies With the Mob / John Travolta stars as gangster producer in Elmore Leonard's `Get Shorty'". Sfgate.com. Retrieved August 26, 2009. 
  30. ^ James, Caryn (December 2, 2004). "CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK; As Praise Flows, Travolta Awaits His 3rd Comeback". New York Times. Retrieved August 26, 2009. 
  31. ^ John Travolta at Rotten Tomatoes
  32. ^ Travolta on becoming a woman, interview with stv/movies, June 2007 at the Wayback Machine (archived December 19, 2007) stv.tv
  33. ^ "Biography of Diana Hyland". IMDB. Retrieved March 28, 2007. 
  34. ^ Douglas Thompson (January 3, 2009). "'For John Travolta, protecting Jett was everything'". London: Dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved May 14, 2011. 
  35. ^ "John Travolta and Kelly Preston Welcome Son Benjamin". People.com. November 24, 2010. Retrieved November 24, 2010. 
  36. ^ Linton, Marilyn (February 10, 2009). "Therapy can keep it real when the honeymoon is over". London Free Press. Retrieved February 12, 2009. [dead link]
  37. ^ "John Travolta Sued for Assault and Sexual Battery by Masseur, Actor's Rep Calls Claim a "Baseless Lie"". E! Online. Retrieved May 7, 2012. 
  38. ^ "John Travolta fights back as two masseurs allege sexual harassment - Chicago Sun-Times". Suntimes.com. Retrieved May 9, 2012. 
  39. ^ "BBC News - John Travolta faces more masseur abuse claims". Bbc.co.uk. May 9, 2012. Retrieved May 9, 2012. 
  40. ^ "Second masseur drops John Travolta lawsuit". The Daily Telegraph (London). May 17, 2012. 
  41. ^ Matthews, KJ. "Lawsuit against John Travolta dismissed, again". CNN. Retrieved September 28, 2012. 
  42. ^ "Jett Travolta, son of actors, dies at 16". CNN. January 2, 2009. Retrieved January 2, 2009. 
  43. ^ "John Travolta's teenage son dies". BBC News Online (BBC). January 2, 2009. Retrieved January 2, 2009. 
  44. ^ "Death Certificate: John Travolta's Son Died of a Seizure". ABC News. January 5, 2009. Retrieved January 5, 2009. 
  45. ^ "John Travolta's 16-Year-Old Son Dies". People. January 2, 2009. Retrieved January 4, 2009. 
  46. ^ Errico, Marcus (January 2, 2009). "John Travolta's Son Jett Dead at 16". E! Online. Retrieved January 2, 2009. 
  47. ^ Abraham, Mary Rose (September 23, 2009). "From John Travolta: I Ran Down the Stairs To Help My Son". ABC News. Retrieved September 23, 2009. 
  48. ^ Usborne, David (October 23, 2009). "Judge declares mistrial in Travolta extortion case". The Independent (London). Retrieved June 28, 2011. 
  49. ^ Allen, Nick (September 6, 2010). "John Travolta to drop charges in extortion case". The Telegraph (London). Retrieved June 28, 2011. 
  50. ^ "John Travolta: Scientology Helped Me Heal". huffingtonpost.com. January 28, 2010. Retrieved June 13, 2011. 
  51. ^ "Successes of Scientology". Church of Scientology International. May 2007. Retrieved May 21, 2007. 
  52. ^ "John Travolta's mercy flight to Haiti". Douglas Hyde – CNN Entertainment Producer. January 25, 2010. Retrieved January 26, 2010. 
  53. ^ "John Travolta’s Boeing 707 at Flightstory.net - Aviation Blog". Blog.flightstory.net. Retrieved April 27, 2012. 
  54. ^ "John Travolta Qantas Ambassador-at-large". Qantas - Ambassadors. Qantas airlines official website. Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  55. ^ Kelly Preston showed a picture of this on the August 29, 2007, episode of Late Night with Conan O'Brien.
  56. ^ "Travolta Lucky To Live Through Incident - Orlando Sentinel". Articles.orlandosentinel.com. March 27, 1995. Retrieved April 27, 2012. 
  57. ^ Clark, Ally (September 13, 2010). "Oprah Taking Audience Down Under, with Travolta at Controls". NBC Chicago. Retrieved September 14, 2010. 
  58. ^ Travolta, John (October 1997). Propeller One-Way Night Coach. Warner Books. ISBN 978-0446522571. 
  59. ^ "John Travolta". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved September 22, 2012. 

Further reading

External links