John Travolta Life Story
John Joseph Travolta (born February 18, 1954) is an Academy Award nominated American actor and singer. Travolta was born in Englewood, New Jersey, the youngest of the six children of Salvatore Travolta (an Italian American semi-professional football player turned tire salesman) and Helen Cecilia Burke (an Irish American actress and singer who had appeared in radio vocal group The Sunshine Sisters, and acted and directed before becoming a high school drama teacher).
Travolta then moved to New York City to get a job as a performer. He landed roles in the touring company of Grease and on Broadway in Over Here! singing the Sherman Brothers’ song “Dream Drummin’”. Travolta also cut singles for a local record company, but the songs were quickly forgotten. But eventually, he moved to Los Angeles, California to further his career in show business.
Travolta gained his first major movie role as Billy Nolan, a sadistic classmate who taunted Sissy Spacek’s Carrie White 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 real-life sister Ellen Travolta, now married to actor Jack Bannon, also occasionally appeared (as Arnold Horshack’s mother).
Around this time he also had a hit single called “Let Her In”, peaking at #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. His most memorable roles came as Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever (1977) and as Danny Zuko in Grease (1978) at the height of the disco era. His mother appeared as an extra in Saturday Night Fever and his sister Ellen appeared as extra in Grease. Travolta performed several of the songs on the Grease soundtrack album, that eventually went on to sell more than 10 million copies.
After the hit musical came a string of flops that sidelined his acting career into forgettable fare. Ironically during that time he was offered the lead role (but turned it down) for what would become a series of box office hits including American Gigolo and An Officer and A Gentleman. It wasn’t until he played Vincent Vega in Quentin Tarantino’s cult hit Pulp Fiction (1994), for which he received an Academy Award nomination, that his career was revived.
The movie shifted him back onto the A-list, and he was inundated with offers. Ironically, before Travolta took the role, he had first visited Tarantino who was living in a ramshackle apartment in Los Angeles, the same apartment that Travolta had been living in when he got his start.
Among other notable roles following Tarantino’s film include a movie buff loan shark in Get Shorty (1995), a role Travolta reprised in Be Cool (2005), a traumatized father in Face/Off (1997), a desperate attorney in A Civil Action (1998) and a military detective in The General’s Daughter (1999).
Travolta also played a lead role in the panned Battlefield Earth (2000) (which is based on a work of pulp fiction by L. Ron Hubbard), in which he plays the leader of a group of aliens that enslave humanity on a bleak future Earth. The film received almost universally negative reviews and did poorly at the box office.
Travolta, who is a Scientologist (converted 1975) and endorses the teachings of the late L. Ron Hubbard, had hoped that the film would be well-received and be the first in a series of Hubbard film adaptations. Contrary to these expectations, the film was poorly received and won a Razzie Award for Worst Film of the Year at the 2000 awards.
His affiliation with Scientology has caused some controversy. In 1998 he was named in a lawsuit involving a former member who claimed that he was promised that his homosexuality could be cured. The lawsuit alleged that the organization frequently cited Travolta as proof that the organization could in fact change a person’s sexual orientation. A lawyer for Travolta replied, “This looks like complete hogwash. Travolta is a happily married man, which proves he isn’t gay”.
Jett Travolta, the 14 year old son of John Travolta and Kelly Preston is being raised under the strict guidelines of Scientology, despite the fact that the teachings prevent him from getting the care he needs to treat what appears to be autism. The Travolta’s have blamed Jett’s ill health in the past on Kawasaki syndrome. They say it was caused by “environmental toxins”, but that Jett was mostly-kinda “cured” after a detox regimen dictated by the writings of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, even though Jett still has all the same symptoms he had before.
But experts say that Jett clearly has autism, a conclusion shared by experts on the disease including executives from the Autism Society of America and Cure Autism Now. The Travolta’s may be hesitant to admit Jett’s disease because treatment would involve psychiatric care, a form of medicine strictly prohibited by Scientology.
Questions have also been raised regarding what kind of agreements were made between Travolta and then President Bill Clinton, regarding how Travolta would portray Clinton in the movie Primary Colors and whether Clinton would pressure the German government to remove its ban on Scientology. Travolta was quoted about the issue in May 1998 issue of George magazine: The next day, I met with Clinton. He told me: “Your program sounds great. More than that, I’d really love to help you with your issue over in Germany with Scientology.” I was waiting for the seduction that I had heard so much about. I thought, “Well, how could he ever seduce me?” And after we talked, I thought, “Bingo!” He did it. Scientology is the one issue that really matters to me.
In another interview, Travolta admitted that his portrayal of Clinton was much more kind than that in the book Primary Colors. The next year, in November 1998, Clinton sent Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to urge German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel to grant Scientology the status of a registered religion.
Travolta is married to fellow Scientologist and actress Kelly Preston and is the father of two children, Jett and Ella Bleu. Previously he was involved with actress Diana Hyland, who died of breast cancer (reportedly in Travolta’s arms) in 1977.
Travolta and Preston’s son, Jett died on January 2, 2009 while on their holiday in The Bahamas. A Bahamian death certificate was issued, attributing the cause of death to a seizure. Jett, who had a history of seizures, reportedly suffered from Kawasaki disease in early childhood. Long a source of speculation, in September 2009, Travolta and Preston confirmed that their son had autism and suffered regular seizures. They made the statements while giving testimony after a multi-million dollar extortion plot against Travolta and Preston around the circumstances of their son’s death.
On January 23, 2009, three people were arrested in the Bahamas in relation to the plot. It is believed that the plot centered around a “refusal to transport” document allegedly signed by Travolta and Preston when paramedics arrived to treat their son, that a police spokesman noted did not apply in the Travolta case. One of the men, Obie Wilchcombe, a member of the Bahamian Parliament and former Bahamian Minister of Tourism, was described as a “close friend” of Travolta and Preston. The other two people allegedly involved are EMT Tarino Lightbourne and former senator Pleasant Bridgewater, who was charged with abetment to extort and conspiracy to extort. She resigned from the Senate as a result of the allegations.
Travolta is a qualified pilot and owns five airplanes, including a former Qantas Boeing 707-138. The plane bears the name Jett Clipper Ella in honor of his son Jett and his daughter Ella. Pan Am was a large operator of the 707 and used Clipper in their names. His house in Jumbolair, Florida has its own runway and taxiway right to the door. In 1993, Travolta successfully performed an emergency landing of a plane with electric trouble at Washington National Airport, now known as Reagan Washington National Airport.
In 1992, he wrote and illustrated a short children’s book entitled Propeller One-Way Night Coach about the fictional journey of an 8 year old boy named Jeff across the USA in the 1950s.Related Information: