February 18, 1954
Born In: Englewood, New Jersey
Career: Hollywood Actor
One of the highly successful actors in Hollywood, who made an impact even after a string of flops, John Travolta is known for his dancing and singing skills as well. His ‘never say die’ spirit pulled him through the toughest times in his life. Credited with some blockbuster hits like Saturday Night Fever, Grease, Pulp Fiction, Look Who’s Talking, Face Off, Ladder 49, etc. John Travolta is definitely one of the most respected actors in Hollywood. Along with his acting prowess, he is also a certified pilot and owns personal planes. His life is an interesting mix of highs and lows. To know more about his childhood and profile, read this short biography of John Travolta.
Childhood and Early Years
John Travolta was born John Joseph Travolta on February 18, 1954 in Englewood, New Jersey. His father was a semi-professional football player turned tire salesman named Salvatore Travolta and was from Italian American descent. Helen Cecilia was his mother and was an actress and singer who acted and directed before becoming a high school English and drama teacher. She was from an Irish American descent. John Travolta was the last of the six children and his household was predominantly Irish, culturally.
As a child, John was always fascinated by on-stage world, due to the influence of his mother and also learnt to play the guitar, do the tap dance and also won a Twist competition at a tender age. He joined acting workshop at the age of 12 due to his love for acting. He dropped out of the Dwight Morrow High School after his junior year and went off to New York in order to secure a job as a performer. He got small roles in musicals like Grease and on Broadway but nothing was significant. He moved to Los Angeles to hunt for new opportunities and appeared in small roles in CBS serials like The Edge of Night and The Secret Storm.
Shot to Fame
The first California filmed television role of John was as a fall victim in Emergency! in the year 1972. Around 1976, he landed in his major role in the TV sitcom ‘Welcome Back, Kotter’ as Vinnie Barbarino. Thereafter, he appeared in a number of television ads like Band-Aid, Haggar Slacks and Mony Insurance. It was around this time that he belted out a hit single titled ‘Let Her In’, which secured the 10th position on Billboard Hot 100 chart. Then came his big hit movie in the form of Saturday Night Fever (1977) as Tony Manero and as Danny Zuko in Grease (1978).
These two movies placed him on the highest level of international stardom and he gained cult following among the young generation then. In the movie Grease, John Travolta had sung many songs for the soundtrack, which went on to sell more than 10 million copies. In the year 1980, John Travolta took the music world by storm as he gave yet another musical hit in the form of Urban Cowboy, which also starred Debra Winger. He won the appreciation of fans as well as critics, but life wasn’t going to be all that easy after this.
His acting career was sidelined drastically after Urban Cowboy. He did movies like Staying Alive (Saturday Night Fever sequel), Perfect, Two of a Kind, etc, which were commercial disasters. He was labeled as a disco stud who was not capable of performing outside a cliché role. Due to this tag, his agent turned down many good offers that actually became box office hits like American Gigolo, Flash Dance, An Officer and a Gentleman, Splash and Fatal Attraction. Instead of going into depression and sulking, John took to flying and after rigorous training for some years, he earned his license that allowed him to command aircrafts. During this time, he was offered the movie Look Who’s Talking co-starring Kirstie Alley in the year 1989. This movie was a hit and John says his character in the film is close to what he is in real life.
Back to Limelight
In 1994, he played the role of Vincent Vega in the movie Pulp Fiction. This movie re-shaped his career and he got an Academy Award nomination for his performance. After this movie, he was flooded with offers as he proved he had the ability to take an average film beyond the $100 million mark. Then came notable movies like Get Shorty (1995), Broken Arrow (1996), Face Off (1997), A Civil Action (1998), Primary Colors (1998) and The General's Daughter (1999). He then did the movie Ladder 49 (2004), which was notable for being the first post-9/11 film that focused on the life of firefighters.
John Travolta married actress Kelly Preston in the year 1991 and they have two kids, a son named Jett and a daughter named Ella Bleu. He is a certified pilot and owns five airplanes, which includes an ex-Australian Boeing 707-138. He is the official ambassador of Qantas Airways. He has his own runway and taxiway in his $4.9 million estate in the Jumbolair subdivision in Ocala, Florida, situated in the Greystone Airport. He has been a practitioner of Scientology since the year 1975.