Although it may seem that name isn’t exactly causing a huge stir these days, at one time John Travolta was one of the biggest deals in Hollywood. For one minute, take a second to think about the cultural impact he made with films like Saturday Night Fever, Grease, Urban Cowboy and Pulp Fiction. Each one was a smash hit. Although you can rest assured that his career didn’t end with these classics. Despite his career and life looking like they’ve settled from the spotlight, recent accounts of him being spotted in Puerto Rico have been circulating for months. He isn’t there on a mere vacation either. With that, Travolta is reported to be looking more chiseled and vibrant then he has in years. What can be surrounding this mystery? We’re going to tell you, but to make sense of it we’ll have to start from the beginning.
The date was February 18, 1954. The place was Englewood, New Jersey. That is when and where John Travolta came to be. His father was Italian and his mother was Irish. It’s a mix that very well summed up what the neighborhood was made of. Both of his parents were super catholic. Of five siblings he was the youngest. Each and everyone of them was into acting and show business which you can imagine would make for a really competitive household.
It shouldn’t be shocking that the kids all had a love for acting. Their mother, Helen was an actress. Travolta has stated many times over that his mother was the reason that he decided to take acting classes in the first place. When he made it big he got his mother and sister bit roles in his films.His father, Salvatore was also somewhat of a success. He was a semi professional football player and he own his own tire shop in New Jersey called the The Travolta Tire Exchange.
When he was in school, Travolta is hardly what you’d call a straight A student. In fact he struggled a lot of the time. His interest was in acting and he just couldn’t throw himself into studying for something he didn’t care for. He’d often use his Travolta charms as a way of getting around teachers and failed assignments. He’d his teachers deep in the eyes and level with them as if they were adults.
School wouldn’t play a huge part in his life. The young Travolta dropped out at the age of sixteen in order to delve completely into acting. If you think he walked straight of high school and onto the Hollywood walk of fame, you’re wrong. He took himself across the hudson to New York and found himself working as a stock boy and going on auditions. He found little success in commercials but eventually moved to Los Angeles for more opportunities.
Although he wasn’t by any means at the top of his class or even in the middle, he was always noted for having a great work ethic. Before he hit it big in Hollywood, Travolta had a number of odd-jobs in order to support himself and his family. While attending auditions and shooting to be the next big sensation on the screen and stage, he worked as a check out boy a local grocery store and as a luggage handler.
It was at this time that Travolta landed his first television role. It was the 1970’s TV series Emergency!. The show was about a Los Angeles’ County Fire Department Station 51. The show would often see the fire fighters going on rescue missions. In the show, Travolta plays a 16-year old kid who falls down a canyon and injures himself. It’s at that point that the team springs into action and comes to his rescue.
Like any hard working person, Travolta had a brush of luck and got a part in the broadway musical, Grease. He had to leave LA and move back to New York, but it was worth it as the show was a huge success and of course opened up a whole new world of opportunities. Bouncing off the success of Grease, he got his first stable gig with the 1970’s sitcom Welcome Back Kotter. For teenage girls around the world, John Travolta became an absolute heartthrob. He stated that the character was easy to play because he was a lot like himself back in high school, a clown.
Before he became a mega star with films like Saturday Night Fever and Grease, Travolta tried for a career in singing. In 1976, the Welcome Back Kotter star released a hit single called Let Her In. His soft voice landed him on the Billboard top 10 and stayed there for nearly half a year. The albums as a whole was a great success and gained Travolta a lot of positive attention. This would eventually let it be known to the world that this man could sing.
1977 saw a huge breakthrough for John Travolta. He was starred in his feature film. The name of that was Saturday Night Fever and it would got on to be one of the biggest films to be released in the 1970’s. It was released right amidst the disco craze. The film would turn John Travolta into a 1970’s icon and it would garner him his first academy award nomination for best actor. His career could only go up from there.
With Travolta propelled into success by Saturday Night Fever, his next movie would take him to heights he could have never seen coming. 1978 say him take on the role of Danny in Grease. The blockbuster hit grossed over 400 million dollars around the world and was labeled as the fourth highest grossing musical of all time. The soundtrack alone was a huge success as that became one of the highest selling albums of the 1970’s. John Travolta was now an A-lister.
Grease sparked off a huge flame between John Travolta and Olivia Newton John. One can easily see how great the chemistry was between the two on screen. It may have something to do with a crush they had on each other during filming. The two stayed close throughout the years. They make sure to meet up with each other at least twice a year and they call each other up maybe every few weeks. It’s just sad it couldn’t all bloom into a real life relationship.
By 1980 John Travolta had struck cinematic gold again. This time with Urban Cowboy. Like his other two hits, this movie featured a soundtrack that would cause a comeback in country music. The movie tells about the turbulent relationship between Bud and Sissy. The movie takes place in Texas and really captured what it was to be a cowboy in the 1980’s. The soundtrack featured huge hits like Johnny Lee’s Lookin; For Love and Charlie Daniels’ Devil Went Down to Georgia.
One this that must be noted about Travolta is that he always did his own stunts. If you take a look at his films, you’ll often find that there is some risk taking going on the screen. On Urban Cowboy, Travolta can be seen hanging off a tower. In Saturday Night Fever he is seen jumping around on the Brooklyn Bridge. Despite how risky these stunts were, he never had a stunt devil take his place. He’d always insist on doing his own stunts.
While he was riding his wave of success, there was a part of Travolta that was always a bit questionable and that was his belief in Scientology. He first came across the “religion” when he was filming his debut film, 1975’s The Devil’s Rain. It was onset in Mexico that an actress in the movie gave him the book Dianetics. Dianetics pretty much describes and covers the whole religion. This actress also mentored him and turned him into a full on believer.
His career seemed to have hit a wall in the 1980’s. After Urban Cowboy came out he began making some bad career moves. He played roles in a number of flops like Perfect and Two of a Kind. At the same time as making these abominations, he was passing up roles for movies that were blockbusters. American Gigolo and An Officer and a Gentleman are two examples. It seemed like Travolta was falling out of the spotlight completely.
One of his big 1980’s highlights was no doubt dancing with Princess Diana in 1985 at the White House. The best part about it was that it was her request. She wanted to dance with him. He stated that he was extremely honored for being able to dance with her. Without question, dancing with John Travolta was likely the highlight of her trip to the states and something likely remembered for the rest of her life.
The 1980’s also saw John Travolta meet his wife. It was on the set of the 1989 film, The Experts where they met. The film was a bomb but he walked away from it with a girlfriend whom after three years would his wife. They end up getting married in Paris in a wedding ceremony that was all about Scientology. Since it wasn’t recognized in the US, they ended having another ceremony in Florida. The couple has been together ever since.
1989 also saw Travolta emerge from nearly a decade of flops. The hit that would do it was Look Who’s Talking. It was a wacky hit with Kristie Alley about a talking baby. It has a sequel in 1990 called Look Who’s Talking Too. Those movies helped put John Travolta back on the map. What propelled him back into stardom was his role as Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction. It is till this day one of the biggest movies he has ever been in. He’d end the decade on a high note with Face/Off.
The same year that he made Look Who’s Talking, Travolta and Kristie Alley became very close. It was even rumoured that they were more than just friends. Of course these rumours were denied by the both of them. Years later Kristie was asked about the friendship in an interview and opened up that before he was married, she had fallen completely in love with him.
One can’t deny that a big reason of why John Travolta is a big name today is because of Pulp Fiction. It was a role that was unique from the usual pretty boy parts he played.That said, his true to heart acting ability really shined. Being in Quentin Tarantino film and acting alongside other amazing actors no doubt helped him a lot. With Pulp Fiction, Travolta was again nominated for the Best Actor award.
It wasn’t easy getting Travolta a role in Pulp Fiction. Tarantino reached out to Travolta and told him that he wanted to fix his career, which was seriously dying at the time. He first offered Travolta the role of a vampire on From Dusk Till Dawn. Imagine Travolta with fangs. It would have totally worked. He didn’t want the role though and said he’d rather be in Pulp Fiction. Apparently Tarantino had to fight tooth and nail with the producers to get him this role.
Another one of his late 1990’s hits was face. It was a movie that saw him acting alongside Nicholas Cage. During the movie, the actors switch faces and both men play the same character. In order to make this possible, they weren’t asked to spend two weeks together and learn how each other act. For that reason alone this movie can go down as one of their greatest roles in cinema.
It’s also important to note that Travolta does plenty beyond acting. He is also a licensed pilot. He accomplished this way back before he was even in Saturday Night Fever. Flying has proved to be another passion for him. He talks often about how amazing it is to fly a plane and how he enjoys flying his family places in his private jet. He isn’t by any means a second rate pilot either. He can pilot over ten different types of planes. They range from small jets to the Boeing 707.
To maintain and support this hobby, Travolta lives at the Jumbolair Aviation Estates in Northeast Florida. It’s a gated community that also serves as a private airport. This way he can have is planes parked right outside his front door. At a moment’s notice he can hop into his private jet and take off to anywhere in the world. Talk about a place that’s convenient to travel from.
One must keep in mind that flying planes isn’t the safest job in the world. In 1992 Travolta nearly learned that the hard way when he was flying his plane and it began losing power. Given that he is an especially skilled pilot, he managed to figure out what was wrong with the plane, stabilize it and land it. Turns out the plane suffered from a complete lack of electrical failure. Lucky for him he was well trained.
Throughout the years, Travolta has been a Qantas Airways ambassador. He has no doubt brought them a lot of passengers throughout the years due his association alone. That said, as a gift he received a retired Boeing 707. He named the plane Jeff Clipper Ella after his children. Travolta announced recently that he would donate the plane to the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society in Australia. Getting it to Australia will be no easy task as it is in need of some serious repairs.
Travolta’s interest and hobbies go beyond acting in films and flying jet plane though. His heart also belongs to tennis. That’s right folks, tennis. This isn’t a hobby he was practicing back in his Saturday Night Fever days either, he picked it up when he was already 55 years old. He stated that he usually hits the local courts around midnight due to his busy schedule.
His hobbies don’t end there though. Along with the acting, singing, dancing, tennis and plane flying, Travolta has also dabbled in writing. He didn’t write War and Peace or anything like that, but the man did write a children’s book back in 1997. The book is called Propeller One-Way Night Coach: A Fable For All Ages. It follows a young child named Jett (probably named after his son) going on his first airplane ride and all the wonders he experiences on the way.
One of his biggest influences growing up and well into adulthood has been Marlon Brando. Brando was an absolute legend. He appeared in films such as On The Waterfront, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Wild One and The Godfather series. It would come as no shock that Travolta would be so influenced by him. Brando once told him “Don’t expect things from people who can’t give it to you.” It was a piece of advice he’d hold onto for the rest of his life. He also did a parody of Brando on Saturday Night Live.
In 1999 Travolta made another noticeable appearance, when he played in the movie, Battlefield Earth. It was based off a book written by the Scientology founder, L. Ron Hubbard. The film itself was not a hit with fans or critics. It garnered itself a 3% on Rotten Tomatoes. Hollywood wondered what Travolta was thinking acting in such a crumby picture. When asked about it today, he states that he has no regrets.
Another one of his biggest hits on the screen was 2001’s Swordfish. Oddly enough, he almost never acted in this film. He apparently rejected the offer to be in this movie five times. It was only after the sixth time he accepted and that was after he found out that Dominic Sena was directing it. That said, he made the film a classic when he acted alongside Halle Berry and Hugh Jackman.
2007 saw Travolta appear in two films. One was the Tim Allen comedy, Wild Hogs, the other was in Hairspray. It was in this film that John Travolta would play one of his oddest roles yet. He played Edna Turnblad, a woman! It took over year for Travolta to agree to do this part. Although dancing was never a problem in the past, it was the first time he ever had to dance in skirt and high heels. Let’s not forget to mention that he was in a thirty pound body suit and five hours worth a caked on makeup.
John Travolta and Kelly Preston have had three children together. Sadly, his oldest child, Jeff didn’t even make to the age of twenty. The poor child was born with autism and kawasaki disease. Seizures were nothing new for him, the poor boy would have them often. During a family vacation in 2009, one of these seizures would cause him to fall down and hit his head in the shower. He would die as a result of the injury. He was only 16 at the time.
He often described the death of his son as the worst thing that has ever happened to him in his life. It was at this point that he considered dropping out of acting all together. He felt like a broken man and questioned if he would make it. With the help of Scientology, Travolta was able to pick of the piece of his shattered life and piece them back together. For the sake of his wife and two other children, he lived on and got over the devastation.
In 2010 a recovering Travolta walked back into the spotlight, but this time as a pilot. Oprah Winfrey was celebrating twenty five seasons on air and wanted to do something special for her fans. She awarded three hundred members in her audience an eight day, everything included trip to Australia. The bigger surprise came when she announced that John Travolta would be flying them there.
In the wake of losing his eldest son, Travolta and Kelly brought a new child into their life. That was Ben. Apparently they had been trying to have a new child for three years. Travolta credits little Ben as one of the main factor that kept their lived and family together during the rough time. He really bonded them back together amidst the tragic loss. As of today Ben is doing fine and is not seven years old. How the time passes so fast.
He also has his daughter, Elle Bleu who was born in 2000. Like her father and mother, Elle has caught the acting bug. She acted in her first motion picture at the age of nine when she had a role in Old Dogs. She got to act right alongside her mother and father in that one. Of course John has been nothing but supportive of his daughter’s career choice. He had stated many times over that she has natural talent and is a top of the line performer.
Over the year Travolta has been cast in a number of Iconic roles. Although he isn’t as famous ad he was, his name still bares all the memories of his success. The actor currently has a networth of $160 million dollars. His property alone is worth $4,900,000 bucks. That’s a lot of money right there. The roles he often takes pay him about $20 million a piece. That said, he isn’t exactly desperate for any roles at this point.
It still isn’t over for the actor. Not yet. As of 2017, Travolta is currently working on a film called Cigarette. Travolta is taking on the role of Don Aronow, a multimillionaire speedboat racer who gets tangled up with mobsters and drug lords. The movie is currently being film in Puerto Rico and is expect to be a big hit. Also in the works is a film that is covering the life of Mafia legend, John Gotti. Looks like we can expect quite a come back from Travolta in the years to come. Get ready.