John Travolta

John Travolta

Birth name: John Joseph Travolta
Born: February 18, 1954
Age: 64
Birthplace: Englewood, New Jersey, U.S.
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Biography

John Joseph Travolta (born February 18, 1954) is an American actor, producer, dancer, and singer. Travolta first became known in the 1970s, after appearing on the television series Welcome Back, Kotter (1975-1979) and starring in the box office successes Saturday Night Fever (1977) and Grease (1978). His acting career declined through the 1980s, but enjoyed a resurgence in the 1990s with his role in Pulp Fiction (1994), and he has since starred in films such as Face/Off (1997), Swordfish (2001), Wild Hogs, and Hairspray (both 2007).

Travolta was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for performances in Saturday Night Fever and Pulp Fiction. He won his only Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy for his performance in Get Shorty and has received a total of six nominations, the most recent being in 2008. In 2014, he received the IIFA Award for Outstanding Achievement in International Cinema. In 2016, Travolta received his first Primetime Emmy Award as a producer of the first season of the anthology series American Crime Story, subtitled The People v. O. J. Simpson, also receiving an additional Emmy nomination and a Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal of lawyer Robert Shapiro in the series.

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Early life

Travolta, the youngest of six children, was born and raised in Englewood, New Jersey, an inner-ring suburb of New York City. His father, Salvatore Travolta (November 1912 - May 1995), was a semi-professional American football player turned tire salesman and partner in a tire company. His mother, Helen Cecilia (née Burke; January 18, 1912 - December 1978), 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 siblings, Joey, Ellen, Ann, Margaret, and Sam Travolta, have all acted. His father was a second-generation Italian American and his mother was Irish American; he grew up in an Irish-American neighborhood and has said that his household was predominantly Irish in culture. He was raised Roman Catholic, but converted to Scientology in 1975. Travolta attended Dwight Morrow High School, but dropped out as a junior at age 17 in 1971.

Career

Early career

After attending Dwight Morrow High School, 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'". 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, 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). 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). 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. 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). The films were among the most commercially successful pictures of the decade and catapulted Travolta to international stardom. Saturday Night Fever earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. At age 24, Travolta became one of the youngest performers ever nominated for the Best Actor Oscar. His mother and his sister Ann appeared in minor roles 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. 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.

Downturn

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 and An Officer and a Gentleman, both of which went to Richard Gere.

Resurgence

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. 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), and a military investigator in The General's Daughter (1999).

2000-present

Travolta also starred in and co-produced 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. Travolta's performance in Battlefield Earth also earned him two Razzie Awards. In 2007, he starred in Wild Hogs and played Mrs. Edna Turnblad in the remake of Hairspray, his first musical since Grease. In 2008 he lent his voice for the film Bolt, in which he played the title role.

In 2016, Travolta returned to TV in the first season of the anthology series American Crime Story, titled The People v. O. J. Simpson. The series was developed by screenwriters Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, and he portrayed Robert Shapiro.

Personal life

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.

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

In May 1991, Time magazine published a cover story entitled "The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power". In the article, former Church of Scientology Executive Director William Franks alleged that Travolta was wary of leaving the faith because he feared the Church would publish detailed revelations of his private life, to include homosexual behavior. These claims were reiterated by Franks and other Scientology defectors in Lawrence Wright's 2013 book Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief, and former Church official Marty Rathbun claimed that he worked with Travolta's attorneys several times to keep allegations about Travolta's homosexuality out of the press and resolve lawsuits against the star.

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. A second masseur later joined the lawsuit making similar claims. Both lawsuits were subsequently dropped by the complainants and dismissed without prejudice.

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.

In September 2014, Travolta denied claims made in January 2014 by his former pilot, Douglas Gotterba, that they had shared a sexual relationship while working for Travolta's aircraft company, Alto, for six years before leaving voluntarily in 1987. Gotterba argued that he was not bound by any confidentiality agreement during his term in the position.

Son's death

In 2009, Travolta's son, Jett, died at age 16 while on a Christmas vacation in the Bahamas. A Bahamian death certificate was issued, attributing the cause of death to a seizure. Jett, who had a troubled history of seizures, reportedly suffered from Kawasaki disease at the age of two. Travolta confirmed speculation that his son had autism and suffered regular seizures and immediately made his public statements while giving testimony after a multimillion-dollar extortion plot against him in connection to his son's death. After a mistrial, Travolta dropped the charges and has credited his immediate family and Scientology with helping him survive the death of his son and in moving forward with his film career. In memory of his son, Travolta founded the Jett Travolta Foundation, a non-profit organization to help children with special needs. It has contributed to organizations such as the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy, The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential, and the Simon Wiesenthal Center

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. After the 2010 Haiti earthquake, joining other celebrities in helping with the relief efforts, Travolta flew his Boeing 707 full of supplies, doctors, and Scientologist Volunteer Ministers into the disaster area.

Pilot

Travolta is a private pilot. He owns five aircraft, including an ex-Qantas Boeing 707-138 airliner that bears the name Jett Clipper Ella in honor of his children. 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.

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 house, with two outbuildings for covered access to planes.

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.

Travolta was inducted into the Living Legends of Aviation in 2007 and acts as the award show's official ambassador.

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.

He is the author of the book Propeller One-Way Night Coach, the story of a young boy's first flight.

Filmography

Film

Year Title Role Notes
1975 Devil's Rain, TheThe Devil's Rain Danny
1976 Carrie Billy Nolan
1977 Saturday Night Fever Tony Manero
  • National Board of Review Award for Best Actor
  • Nominated—Academy Award for Best Actor
  • Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
  • 3rd place—National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor
  • 3rd place—New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
1978 Moment by Moment Strip Harrison
Grease Daniel "Danny" Zuko
  • Henrietta Award - World Film Favorite Actor
  • Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1980 Urban Cowboy Buford 'Bud' Uan Davis
1981 Blow Out Jack Terry
1983 Staying Alive Tony Manero
Two of a Kind Zack Melon
1985 Perfect Adam Lawrence
1989 Look Who's Talking James Ubriacco
Experts, TheThe Experts Travis
1990 Look Who's Talking Too James Ubriacco
1991 Shout Jack Cabe
Eyes of an Angel Bobby
1993 Look Who's Talking Now James Ubriacco
1994 Pulp Fiction Vincent Vega
  • MTV Movie Award for Best Dance Sequence
  • David di Donatello Award for Best Foreign Actor
  • London Critics Circle Film Award for Actor of the Year
  • Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
  • Stockholm International Film Festival for Best Actor
  • Nominated—Academy Award for Best Actor
  • Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
  • Nominated—Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
  • Nominated—Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
  • Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama
  • Nominated—MTV Movie Award for Best Performance
  • Nominated—MTV Movie Award for Best On-Screen Duo
  • 3rd place—National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor
  • Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
1995 Get Shorty Chili Palmer
  • American Comedy Award for Funniest Actor in a Motion Picture (Leading Role)
  • Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
  • Southeastern Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
  • Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
1995 White Man's Burden Louis Pinnock
1996 Michael Michael
Phenomenon George Malley
Orientation: A Scientology Information Film Himself Short film
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
Mad City Sam Baily
Face/Off Sean Archer/Castor Troy
  • MTV Movie Award for Best On-Screen Duo
  • Nomination—Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Actor - Action/Adventure
  • Nomination—MTV Movie Award for Best Performance
  • Nomination—MTV Movie Award for Best Villain
  • Nomination—Saturn Award for Best Actor
She's So Lovely Joey Giamonti Also executive producer
1998 Civil Action, AA Civil Action Jan Schlichtmann
Thin Red Line, TheThe Thin Red Line Brigadier General Quintard Satellite Special Achievement Award for Outstanding Motion Picture Ensemble
Junket Whore Himself Documentary
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
Our Friend, Martin Kyle's dad Voice
2000 Battlefield Earth Terl Also producer
Razzie Award for Worst Picture of the Decade
Razzie Award for Worst Picture
Razzie Award for Worst Actor
Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple
Lucky Numbers Russ Richards Razzie Award for Worst Actor
Welcome to Hollywood Himself Cameo
Mockumentary
2001 Domestic Disturbance Frank Morrison
Swordfish Gabriel Shear
2002 Austin Powers in Goldmember "Austinpussy" Goldmember / Himself Cameo
2003 Basic Tom Hardy
2004 Ladder 49 Captain Mike Kennedy
Love Song for Bobby Long, AA Love Song for Bobby Long Bobby Long
Punisher, TheThe Punisher Howard Saint
2005 Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D James Benson "Jim" Irwin Voice
Documentary
Be Cool Chili Palmer
2006 Lonely Hearts Elmer C. Robinson
2007 Wild Hogs Woody Stevens
Hairspray Edna Turnblad
  • Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Cast
  • Hollywood Film Festival for Ensemble of the Year
  • Hollywood Film Festival for Supporting Actor of the Year
  • Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture
  • Nominated—Palm Springs International Film Festival Ensemble Cast Award
  • Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2008 Bolt Bolt Voice
2009 Taking of Pelham 123, TheThe Taking of Pelham 123 Ryder
Old Dogs Charlie Reed
2010 From Paris with Love Charlie Wax
2012 Savages Dennis
2013 Killing Season Emil Kovac
2014 The Forger Ray Cutter
2015 Life on the Line Beau
Criminal Activities Eddie Also executive producer
2016 In a Valley of Violence The Marshal
I Am Wrath Stanley Hill
2017 The Life and Death of John Gotti John Gotti Post-production

Television

Year Title Role Notes
1972 Emergency! Chuck Benson Episode: "Kids"
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 Tenth Level, TheThe Tenth Level John Television film
1975-1979 Welcome Back, Kotter Vincent "Vinnie" Barbarino 79 episodes
1976 Boy in the Plastic Bubble, TheThe Boy in the Plastic Bubble Tod Lubitch
  • Television film
  • Nominated—TV Land Award
1976 Mr. T and Tina Vinnie Barbarino Episode: "Pilot"
1987 Basements: The Dumb Waiter Ben Television film
1991 Chains of Gold Scott Barnes Television film; also writer
1992 Boris and Natasha: The Movie Himself Cameo
Television film
1994 Saturday Night Live Himself/Host Episode: "John Travolta/Seal"
2014 Kirstie Mickey Episode: "Mickey & Maddie"
2016 The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story Robert Shapiro 10 episodes; also producer
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Limited Series
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Series, Miniseries or Television Film

Discography

Albums

Year Album
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 81

Singles

Year 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"
"Let Her In" 10 5 16 7 12
"Whenever I'm Away from You" 38 62 61
"Slow Dancin'"
"It Had to Be You"
"I Don't Know What I Like About You Baby"
1977 "All Strung Out on You" 34 28 30
"Baby, I Could Be So Good at Lovin' You"
"Razzamatazz"
1978 "You're the One That I Want" 1 3 2 1
"Summer Nights" 5 3 3 1
"Sandy" 2
"Greased Lightnin'" 47 45 11
1980 "Never Gonna Fall in Love Again"
1983 "Take a Chance"
1997 "Two Sleepy People"
2008 "I Thought I Lost You"
Charities

John Travolta supports the following charitable causes: Animals, Health Education, Education, Environment, Human Rights, Children, Gay Rights.

[ Source: Wikipedia ]