|Real Name: John Travolta|
|Birthday: February 18, 1954|
|Place of Birth: Englewood, NJ|
Blue eyed and and young looking actor Travolta first gained fame as Vinny Barbarino, head "Sweathog" on the admired high school sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter (1975-79). The character began as an uneducated, egotistical bully but soon evolved into good natured, vulnerable, and sexy teen celebrity idol.
He first appeared in features as a teen boy who plots against "Carrie" (1976) in the
motivating Brian De Palma thriller. He then moved away from television and
worked his way to stardom in one of the best films of the late '70s,
"Saturday Night Fever" (1977). His convincing urban Italian
American attitude, combined with sympathy and several sweltering disco
dance routines helped make the film a resounding hit and earned the actor an Oscar nomination. The film benefited from, and
unfortunately contributed to, the increasing popularity of disco within mainstream America.
After the disaster of "Moment By Moment" (1978), a bad romantic drama co-starring Lily Tomlin, Travolta cemented his popularity and proved himself a capable romantic lead opposite Olivia Newton-John in "Grease" (1978). His next movie, the well-liked "Urban Cowboy" (1980), featured him as dancing lead in cowboy hat and boots as he draw on America's increasing interest in country and western music. De Palma's "Blow Out" (1981) gave John one of his most compound roles - an enthusiastic film technician who accidentally records a political murder. "Blow Out" tanked at the box office. However, the actor made a strong comeback in "Staying Alive" (1983), the Sylvester Stallone directed sequel to "Saturday Night Fever". He then spent the next ten years playing in dull and unpopular films.
It was not until "Look Who's Talking" (1989) with Kirstie Alley and Bruce Willis that he was connected with another major box office hit. The romantic comedy featured a baby's thoughts in voice over, and generated two more big roles for the superstar - "Look Who's Talking Too" (1990) and "Look Who'sTalking Now" (1993). Good reviews for his performance in Quentin Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction" (1994) returned John to the Hollywood's sexy celebrity list in his heavy-set, long-haired, earring wearing character of Vincent Vega - a sympathetic hit man with a heroin habit and a very gullible view of the world. He found himself swamped with scripts and movie deals offering him the largest paychecks of his career as well as an Oscar nomination for Best Actor.
He capitalized on his success by starring in a trio of films. As Chili Palmer in Barry Sonnenfeld's popular "Get Shorty" with Rene Russo, where he was praised for his role of a hit man fascinated by Hollywood. In "White Man's Burden" (1995), he starred with Harry Belafonte in a ruthless film about reverse discrimination that won mixed reviews but little audience support. He followed with John Woo's action adventure thriller "Broken Arrow" (1996) with Christian Slater, where he played a pilot who devises an extortion plot against the United States government. He reportedly pulled in a $10 million paycheck for "Phenomenon" (1996) where he played a man who is struck by a white light and develops superior abilities.
Some of his films ranging from the crime comedy "Get Shorty" (1995), "Phenomenon",
"Michael" (1996), the action adventure
"Face Off" (1997) with Nicolas
political satire "Primary Colors" with Billy
Bob Thorton (1998), the mystery "The General's Daughter"
(1999), the thriller "Swordfish" (2001) with Halle
Berry, and his role as a frustrated father in "Domestic
Disturbance" (2001) were very much enjoyed by viewers. He also took roles as an attorney battling powerful corporations on behalf of toxic poisoning victims in "A Civil Action", and was part of a
star studded cast including Sean Penn, Nick
Stahl, Gary Oldman and George Clooney in Terrence Malick's war movie "The Thin Red Line" (1998).
Playing a role originated by famed drag queen Divine in the original John Waters film, Travolta was outstanding as Edna Turnblad, the 1960s working class Baltimore mom of television dance star Tracy Turnblad (Nikki Bosky). The role required a huge amount of prosthetics and makeup to turn him into his new character, but the super star still danced his way into a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor. The summer blockbuster went on to become the fourth top grossing musical of all time, with “Grease” still holding strong in first position.
In 2008, he lent his voice talents to the animated comedy "Bolt" (2008) with a young Miley Cyrus, in the story of Bolt, a German Shepherd, who has lived his whole life on the set of his action TV show, where he believes he has superpowers. Next was another science fiction adventure thriller "Quantum Quest: A Cassini Space Odyssey" (2009), a story that takes place in an atomic world, where the forces of the Core and the forces of the Void battle for the fate of the universe.
Next was the movie "Old Dogs" (2009) starring with Robin Williams, in the tale about two friends and business partners who find their lives turned upside down when strange circumstances lead to them being placed in the care of 7-year-old twins. And finally for the actor was the thriller "The Taking of Pelham 123" (2009) a remake of the thriller from 1978 that pits a transit cop against a group of hijackers lead by John's character, who take over a subway train in order to rake in a hefty ransom.
In January 2009, his young seventeen year old son, Jett, was found dead in a luxury hotel suit in the Bahamas, the death apparently a result of a seizure causing a fatal head injury. While the actor denies Jett suffered from Autism, there have been rumors for years. Some believe the family's dedication the the Church Of Scientology may have played a role in stopping certain medications that may have helped. And investigation is underway.