October 14, 1950
Englewood, New Jersey, U.S.
|Occupation||Actor, producer, director, writer|
Wendy Shawn (m. 1980)
|Relatives||John Travolta (brother)|
Ellen Travolta (sister)
Margaret Travolta (sister)
Life and career
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Travolta, one of six children, was born and raised in Englewood, New Jersey, an inner-ring suburb of New York City, where he attended Dwight Morrow High School. His father, Salvatore Travolta, was a semi-professional football player turned tire salesman and partner in a tire company. His mother, Helen Cecilia (née Burke; 1912–1978), who was 38 when Travolta was born, 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. His father was a second-generation Italian American and his mother was Irish American.
Travolta began a singing career in 1978 as a recording artist on Casablanca Records, releasing his eponymous album. The following year he made his acting debut starring in the feature film Sunnyside for Filmways Productions. He then became a guest star in the 1980s television show Simon & Simon (episode: "The Hottest Ticket in Town").
Additional acting credits include work with director John Landis on multiple feature film projects: Beverly Hills Cop III (1994), Oscar (1991), and Susan's Plan. He was also a series regular on the WB television hit Movie Stars (1999).
Stage performances include starring roles in Bye Bye Birdie, Guys and Dolls, and West Side Story. He wrote and directed Diva Las Vegas in 1989, which went on to win the Italian Funny Film Festival.
In 1991, Joey Travolta produced and starred in Da Vinci's War. He later produced and starred in the sequel, To the Limit (1995). He made directing his main priority in 1994. He directed the action thrillers Hard Vice (1994) and Navajo Blues (1996). Subsequent titles include Earth Minus Zero (1996), Laws of Deception (1997), Detour (1999), Mel (1996), Partners (2000), Enemies of Laughter (2000), and Waiting to Live (2002).
For television audiences he directed the police drama L.A. Heat (1999), Friday Night After the Movies (2010), and the syndicated Disney series Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: The TV Show (2007). He has directed music videos as well such as Aqua's Doctor Jones and Latvia's entry, in Eurovision Song Contest 2008, Pirates of the Sea.
Travolta has also gained national acclaim for his mission of helping students develop self-esteem, confidence, and creativity through acting and digital film making. He founded Inclusion Films, which involve individuals with special needs in the process of making films.
The first of these, Sweet Sixteen, was made in 2008. In late 2009, Travolta hired filmmaker Tyler Norman to write and direct Inclusion's second film, Spud. Travolta's students crewed the film, which premiered in 2010 and took numerous festival awards. Shortly thereafter, the third film Accidents was completed.
He has collaborated with a non-profit organization called HEAL, based in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, to form another film camp in association with Inclusion Films and Jacksonville-based Filmlab Productions, called the HEAL Film Camp with Joey Travolta.
- McCarthy, Dennis (April 1, 2004). "Autistic kids let us into their world". Daily News of Los Angeles. p. N3.
- Pearce, Garth (July 15, 2007). "On the move: John Travolta". Times Online. Retrieved July 17, 2007.
- via United Press International. "Joey Travolta: you-know-who's brother", Eugene Register-Guard, June 7, 1979. Accessed August 27, 2018. "Joey's first appearance was on stage at Dwight Morrow (N.J.) high school, where his late mother directed school plays and musicals."
- "John Travolta Biography (1954–)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved August 26, 2009.
- "Begorrah!! Travolta's Irish..." Showbiz Ireland. January 7, 2007. Retrieved July 17, 2007.
- Profile, Yidio.com; accessed October 27, 2017.