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John Travolta

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Look Who's Talking Too... This follow-up to the 1989 hit "Look Who's Talking" stars John Travolta and... more info $9.99was $9.99 Buy Now

Look Whos Talking DVD Before Stewie, there was Mikey, the fast-talking, wise-cracking baby voiced by... more info $14.99was $14.99 Buy Now

Collateral Damage / Eraser (Double... Arnold Schwarzenegger provides escapist heroics in two explosive hits. In... more info $6.99was $12.98 Buy Now

That's Dancing! DVD Narrated by the legendary Gene Kelley, this is a must see documentary for die... more info $19.98was $19.98 Buy Now

Two Of A Kind DVD John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John recapture their "Grease" (1978) magic by... more info $9.98was $9.98 Buy Now

Primary Colors DVD John Travolta and Emma Thompson paint the town in "Primary Colors" (1998). Based... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now



Also Known As: John Joseph Travolta Died:
Born: February 18, 1954 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Englewood, New Jersey, USA Profession: actor, dancer, singer, illustrator, author

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

The rollercoaster career of Hollywood star John Travolta decisively discredited the old adage that there are no second acts. The New Jersey native first gained fame as a suave, dim-witted Brooklyn high school student on the sitcom "Welcome Back, Kotter" (ABC, 1975-79). Being in the right place in the right era, he became inextricably linked to pop culture trends, thanks to sensational starring roles in the disco drama "Saturday Night Fever" (1977) and the 1950s retro musical, "Grease" (1978). Travolta also had a hand in the country music revival of the early 1980s with his popular portrayal of a mechanical bull-riding oil rigger in "Urban Cowboy" (1980). Then for some reason, the biggest male movie star of the late-1970s languished throughout the next decade and beyond, his engaging talent virtually forgotten until a bold decision by Quentin Tarantino cast him in the cult mainstay "Pulp Fiction" (2004). Following the rousing response to Travolta's darkly funny performance as a junkie hit man, he was overnight commanding millions of dollars for macho hits like "Get Shorty" (1995) and "Ladder 49" (2004) and becoming one-half of a celebrated Hollywood couple after marrying Kelly Preston. Critics raved...

The rollercoaster career of Hollywood star John Travolta decisively discredited the old adage that there are no second acts. The New Jersey native first gained fame as a suave, dim-witted Brooklyn high school student on the sitcom "Welcome Back, Kotter" (ABC, 1975-79). Being in the right place in the right era, he became inextricably linked to pop culture trends, thanks to sensational starring roles in the disco drama "Saturday Night Fever" (1977) and the 1950s retro musical, "Grease" (1978). Travolta also had a hand in the country music revival of the early 1980s with his popular portrayal of a mechanical bull-riding oil rigger in "Urban Cowboy" (1980). Then for some reason, the biggest male movie star of the late-1970s languished throughout the next decade and beyond, his engaging talent virtually forgotten until a bold decision by Quentin Tarantino cast him in the cult mainstay "Pulp Fiction" (2004). Following the rousing response to Travolta's darkly funny performance as a junkie hit man, he was overnight commanding millions of dollars for macho hits like "Get Shorty" (1995) and "Ladder 49" (2004) and becoming one-half of a celebrated Hollywood couple after marrying Kelly Preston. Critics raved when Travolta made a belated return to his musical roots in as a tubby Baltimore stage mom in the box-office smash "Hairspray" (2007). In fact, Travolta defined more than any other celebrity - save perhaps Cher and Frank Sinatra - the very idea that a so-called "has-been" could revive a career deemed long dead, coming back stronger than ever.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
3.
 Gummy Bear (2014)
4.
 Forger, The (2014)
5.
 Killing Season (2013)
6.
 Casting By (2013)
7.
 Savages (2012)
9.
10.
 Old Dogs (2009)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1966:
Made stage debut in "Who Will Save the Plowboy?" at age 12
1970:
Dropped out of high school at age 16
:
Began acting career in summer stock in New Jersey
:
Acted in off-Broadway productions
1974:
Made Broadway debut in "Over Here!"; acted opposite the Andrews Sisters for 10 months
1972:
Appeared in the original Broadway production of "Grease"; also toured with show for 10 months
1975:
Made feature film debut in a bit part in "The Devil's Rain"
1975:
Cast as Vinnie Barbarino on "Welcome Back, Kotter" (ABC); began appearing with less frequency toward the end of its run
1976:
TV-movie debut, "The Boy in the Plastic Bubble" (ABC)
1976:
Landed featured role in Brian De Palma's "Carrie"
1977:
First starring role in a feature, as Tony Manero in "Saturday Night Fever"; earned Best Actor Oscar nomination
1978:
Reprised stage role for the feature version of "Grease" opposite Olivia Newton-John
1980:
Starred with Debra Winger in "Urban Cowboy"
1981:
Reteamed with De Palma for "Blow Out"
1983:
Reprised Tony Manero in the "Saturday Night Fever" sequel "Staying Alive"
1987:
Returned to TV to co-star in Harold Pinter's "The Dumb Waiter," a one-act play directed by Robert Altman
1989:
Initially revived career with comedy "Look Who's Talking" but did not follow up on movie's success
1990:
Co-wrote screenplay and starred in "Chains of Gold"
1994:
Revitalized feature acting career with an acclaimed portrayal of a junkie hitman in Quentin Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction"; earned second Best Actor Academy Award nomination
1995:
Cast as Chili Palmer in Barry Sonnenfeld's "Get Shorty"; starred with Gene Hackman, Rene Russo and Danny DeVito
1996:
First film with John Woo, "Broken Arrow"
1997:
Starred opposite Nicolas Cage in second film with director Woo "Face/Off"
1998:
Portrayed Governor Jack Stanton in the political feature "Primary Colors," helmed by Mike Nichols
1998:
Played attorney Jan Schlichtman who battles powerful companies on behalf of the victims of toxic poisoning in "A Civil Action," based on the book by Jonathan Harr
2000:
Realized dream project of starring in the feature adaptation of L. Ron Hubbard's sci-fi novel "Battlefield Earth"; film and performance was panned by critics
2000:
Starred opposite Lisa Kudrow in the Nora Ephron directed "Lucky Numbers"
2001:
Portrayed a spy in the thriller "Swordfish"
2003:
Played a DEA agent in dramatic thriller "Basic"
2004:
Cast opposite Thomas Jane in "The Punisher"
2004:
Cast as Chief Kennedy in the drama "Ladder 49" opposite Joaquin Phoenix
2004:
Co-starred with Scarlett Johansson in "A Love Song for Bobby Long"
2005:
Again played Chili Palmer, his charater from the hit film "Get Shorty" in its sequel "Be Cool"
2007:
Cast in the comedy-adventure "Wild Hogs" as one of four middle-aged friends who take a freewheeling motorcycle trip
2007:
Cast in gender-bending role as 1950s housewife Edna Turnblad (originally played by Divine in John Waters' 1988 film) in the big screen adaptation of the Broadway musical "Hairspray"; earned a Golden Globe nomination for Supporting Actor
2008:
Lent his voice to the title character, a small white German Shepherd in the animated feature "Bolt"; earned a Golden Globe nomination for performing the song "I Thought I Lost You"
2009:
Played the villainous role in Tony Scott's remake of "The Taking of Pelham 123"
2009:
Co-starred with Robin Williams in the comedy "Old Dogs"; also starred wife Kelly Preston and daughter Ella Travolta
2010:
Played an FBI Agent opposite Jonathan Rhys Meyers in "From Paris with Love," co-written by Luc Besson
2012:
Featured in Oliver Stone┬┐s ensemble crime drama "Savages"
2012:
Reunited with "Grease" co-star Olivia Newton-John to record holiday album <i>This Christmas</i>
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Dwight Morrow High School: Englewood , New Jersey -

Notes

Travolta reportedly left the production of "The Double" directed by Roman Polanski nine days before shooting. He had been expected to earn a $16 million salary for the feature. A breach of contract lawsuit was settled out of court in July 1997.

He holds the record for the most ROLLING STONE covers for an actor (1978, 1980, 1983, 1985).

Travolta was named Man of the Year by Harvard's Hasty Pudding Club in 1981.

An avid flier since the age of 16, he is a licensed jet pilot and owns three jets.

Travolta and Robby Benson were finalists for the role of Michael Corleone's son in "The Godfather, Part II" (1974). Benson won the part but the character was cut from the release print.

Travolta was offered the lead in "Days of Heaven" (1978) but the producers of "Welcome Back, Kotter" would not release him. The role went to Richard Gere.

He also backed out of starring in "American Gigolo" (1980) and Richard Gere stepped in.

Travolta turned down the lead in "An Officer and a Gentleman" (1982), a part reportedly written for him, because the shooting conflicted with his attendance of American Airlines' month-long jet pilot training school. Gere got that role as well.

Travolta turned down the lead in "Blind Date" (1987). The part became Bruce Willis' feature debut as a lead.

Impressed by Travolta after their collaboration on Harold Pinter's "The Dumb Waiter" (ABC, 1987), director Robert Altman considered Travolta for the lead in "The Player" (1992) but eventually chose Tim Robbins. He feared that Travolta would bring "too much history" to the part.

"There's hardly anything I wouldn't do for Quentin [Tarantino]. But I know that he already feels paid back by my doing a good job. I know Quentin doesn't feel I owe him anything ... I don't think there's ever been anyone who's genuinely loved me more than Quentin. He doesn't want anything back other than my well-being, and every time I think about the purity of that it makes me want to cry or something. And Steven Spielberg, he's the one who called me and told me to do the Nora Ephron movie "Michael." So with Quentin Tarantino and Steven Spielberg, I think I have the best guardian angels that the planet has to offer."---John Travolta quoted in US, December 1995.

After completing his flight training, Travolta was named ambassdor-at-large for Australia's Quantas airlines. On July 1, 2002, he took his family on a two-month trip around the world. They planned to visit 13 cities and travelled on a refurbished Boeing 707 that Travolta purchased from the airline.

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Marilu Henner. Actor, singer. Met while touring in "Grease" in 1972; had on-again, off-again relationship until 1985.
companion:
Diana Hyland. Actor. 18 years Travolta's senior; met while co-starring in TV-movie "The Boy in the Plastic Bubble"; died of cancer on March 28, 1977.
wife:
Kelly Preston. Actor. Born on October 13, 1962; became engaged on January 1, 1991; married on September 5, 1991 in Paris by a French Scientologist minister; remarried on September 12, 1991 in Daytona Beach, Florida as marriage in France wasn't legal; met while filming "The Experts"; she had been previously divorced from actor Kevin Gage after a two-year marriage; briefly engaged to Charlie Sheen in 1989 and also lived with George Clooney.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Salvatore Travolta. Born c. 1913; died on May 26, 1995; semi-professional football player and co-owner of tire shop.
mother:
Helen Travolta. Former actor. Was drama coach and director of a summer theater until her family grew to six children; Irish-American; was 42 when John, the last child, was born; died of cancer in 1979.
sister:
Ellen Travolta. Actor. Older.
brother:
Sammy Travolta. Older.
sister:
Annie Travolta. Older.
brother:
Joey Travolta. Actor. Older.
sister:
Margaret Travolta. Older.
son:
Jett Travolta. Born on April 13, 1992 in Daytona Beach, Florida; mother, Kelly Preston.
daughter:
Ella Bleu. Born on April 3, 2000; mother, Kelly Preston.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"John Travolta" Jove Books
"John Travolta: Back in Character" Overlook Press
"Fever! The Biography of John Travolta" Boxtree
"Propeller One-Way Night Coach" Warner Books
"Travolta: The Life"
VIEW COMPLETE BIBLIOGRAPHY

Contributions

Rob Edelman ( 2006-03-14 )

Source: I am a co-author of this book.

Add to Bibliography:
The John Travolta Scrapbook, by Rob Edelman & Audrey Kupferberg (Citadel Press, 1997)

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