Ellen Travolta

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Ellen Travolta
Born (1940-10-06) October 6, 1940 (age 77)
Englewood, New Jersey, U.S.
Education Dwight Morrow High School
Alma mater Carnegie Mellon University
Occupation Actress
Years active 1976–2009
Spouse(s) James Fridley
(m. 1964; div. 1977)

Jack Bannon
(m. 1983; d. 2017)
Children 2
Relatives Joey Travolta (brother)
Margaret Travolta (sister)
John Travolta (brother)

Ellen Travolta (born October 6, 1940) is an American actress.

Early years[edit]

Ellen Travolta was born on October 6, 1940 in Englewood, New Jersey [2] to Salvatore ("Sam") Travolta (1913-1995) and Helen Cecilia (née Burke) Travolta (1912-1978). Her father was a semi-professional football player[3] before becoming a tire salesman and a partner in a Firestone franchise called Travolta Tires.[4]

Helen Travolta was an actress and singer who appeared with "The Sunshine Sisters", a radio vocal group.[3] She later became a drama coach, actress, and director of student productions.[5] Travolta has five younger siblings: Joey, Margaret, Sam, and John Travolta.

Travolta attended Dwight Morrow High School in Englewood, New Jersey[6] and Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.[7]


She is probably best known for her portrayal of Louisa Arcola Delvecchio, the aunt of Fonzie (Henry Winkler) and mother of Chachi Arcola (Scott Baio) in the 1950s-based sitcom Happy Days, and the spin-off Joanie Loves Chachi. She also played the mother of Baio's character on the syndicated comedy series Charles in Charge from 1987-90.[6] Travolta played Mrs. Horshack-O'Hara in three episodes of Welcome Back, Kotter, on which her brother, actor John Travolta, starred as Vinnie Barbarino in the series. Later in the 1970s, she played Dorothy Manucci in the short-lived television series Makin' It.[6] She played Marion Keisker in John Carpenter's renowned 1979 television film Elvis.

Personal life[edit]

Ellen Travolta has been a longtime performer and supporter of the Coeur d'Alene Summer Theatre[8] where she appeared in a production of Hello, Dolly! in the Coeur d'Alene Summer Theatre in 2000 and 2012 playing the star role opposite her husband's portrayal of Horace Vandergelder.[9] The theatre is the beneficiary of the Helen Burke Travolta Memorial fund, established in honor of Ms. Travolta's mother. Travolta has stated “My mother was the beginning of all of this for us. She loved the theater, and she was always involved with the community theater and she encouraged all of us to be in it.”[10]

Marriages and children[edit]

Travolta married James Fridley in May 1964.[11] Ellen and James had two children, a son, Tom Fridley (born 1965), an actor whose credits include Oy Vey! My Son Is Gay!!, Face/Off, Phantom of the Mall: Eric's Revenge, Summer Camp Nightmare, Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI, and The Karate Kid.[12] and a daughter, Molly Allen Ritter.[13] Molly Allen Ritter (also called Molly Allen) has been a preschool teacher, waitress, disc jockey, and actress. She wrote "The Day Spring Wouldn't Come Out", a play in which Ellen Travolta performed in 2003[14] and currently has a number one morning radio program, Dave, Ken and Molly in the Morning on KZZU-FM.[9]

Travolta and Fridley divorced in 1977. She then married actor Jack Bannon on April 9, 1983. In 1994, the couple moved to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.[9][15] They remained together until Bannon's passing in 2017.

Selected TV and filmography[edit]


  1. ^ Skipper, Richard. "Jack Bannon : Horace Vandergelder (opposite Ellen Travolta) Coeur D'Alene Summer Theater' 2000 and 2012 productions of Hello, Dolly!". Richard Skipper's Celebrities. Retrieved 2013-10-13. 
  2. ^ "Ellen Travolta: Biography". TV Guide. Retrieved 2013-10-13. 
  3. ^ Saks, Diane. Overcoming Celebrity Obsession. iUniverse. p. 217. ISBN 978-1-45022-847-3. 
  4. ^ Reeves, Michael. "John's mom gave him introduction to acting". The Milwaukee Journal. Journal Communications. Retrieved 2013-10-13. 
  5. ^ a b c Ellen Travolta on IMDb
  6. ^ Holmes, Abby (2010-09-15). "Dear Ellen". The Wenatchee World. Retrieved 2013-10-13. 
  7. ^ Kerschner, Jim (2004-05-23). "Travolta family to put on a show". The Spokesman-Review Mobile. Retrieved 2015-06-06. 
  8. ^ a b c Skipper, Richard. "Ellen Travolta - Call on Dolly: Celebrating The First Fifty Years of Hello, Dolly!". Retrieved 2013-10-14. 
  9. ^ Kershner, Jim (1998-02-22). "Keillor And Radio Show Here In June". The Spoksman-Review Mobile. Retrieved 2013-10-13. 
  10. ^ "Ellen Travolta". 
  11. ^ Tom Fridley on IMDb
  12. ^ "Dear Ellen". Wenatcheeworld.com. 2010-10-15. Retrieved 2012-05-21. 
  13. ^ "Right season for play finally comes along". The Spokesman-Review Mobile. 2003-12-19. Retrieved 2013-10-14. 
  14. ^ Bannon, Ellen Travolta and Jack. "Excitement of Summer Theater (video)". YouTube. 

External links[edit]