John Joseph Travolta (born February 18, 1954) is an American actor, dancer and singer whose career has had more lives than a cat.
Travolta has twice been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor. The first, for his role in Saturday Night Fever and the second for Pulp Fiction. He won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for his performance in Get Shorty.
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 played a messenger on the CBS soap opera The Edge of Night. He also appeared on another CBS serial The Secret Storm. Travolta's first California-filmed television role was as a fall victim in an Emergency! episode, 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). In the next few years, he appeared in some of his most memorable screen roles: Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever (1977) and as Danny Zuko in Grease (1978). These two 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. After Urban Cowboy came a string of flops that sidelined his acting career. 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 film career was briefly revived before fizzling again in the 2000s and he began appearing in poorly received direct-to-video films with the occasional indie project where he reminds audiences that he has range as an actor. He earned critical acclaim, however, upon returning to television with American Crime Story, earning Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for his portrayal of Robert Shapiro and winning an Emmy as the series' producer.
He has the distinction of another actor having built his entire career on taking projects he'd turned down, as Richard Gere only got the three roles that put him on the map in Days of Heaven, American Gigolo, and An Officer and a Gentleman after Travolta passed on them all.
Travolta married actress Kelly Preston in 1991. The couple had two children: Jett, born on April 13, 1992, and Ella Bleu, born in 2000. Their son, Jett died on January 2, 2009 while the family was on holiday in The Bahamas. Kelly gave birth to a second son on November 23rd 2010. Sadly, Kelly succumbed to breast cancer on July 12, 2020.
Rumors that he may be gay, or at least bi, have circulated for years. He endured serial male sexual harassment scandals in 2012, but they fizzled when the accusers recanted. More information on that on Wikipedia.
You know what they call a film credit in Paris? "Le Film Credits":
- Welcome Back, Kotter (19751979) - Vincent "Vinnie" Barbarino
- Carrie (1976) - Billy Nolan
- Saturday Night Fever (1977) - Tony Manero
- Staying Alive (1983)
- Grease (1978) - Danny Zuko
- Two of a Kind (1983) - Zack Melon
- Perfect (1985) - Adam Lawrence
- The Look Who's Talking trilogy (19891993) - James Ubriacco
- Eyes of an Angel (1991)
- Pulp Fiction (1994) - Vincent Vega
- White Man's Burden (1995) - Louis Pinnock
- Get Shorty (1995) - Chili Palmer
- Be Cool (2005)
- Broken Arrow (1996) - Vic Deakins
- Michael (1996) - Archangel Michael
- Mad City (1997) - Sam Baily
- Face/Off (1997) - Sean Archer/Castor Troy
- The Thin Red Line (1998) - Brigadier General Quintard
- Primary Colors (1998) - Jack Stanton
- The General's Daughter (1999) - Warr. Off. Paul Brenner
- Battlefield Earth (2000) - Terl
- Domestic Disturbance (2001) - Frank Morrison
- Swordfish (2001) - Gabriel Shear
- Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002) - Austinpussy Goldmember / Himself
- Basic (2003) - Tom Hardy
- Ladder 49 (2004) - Deputy Chief Mike Kennedy
- The Punisher (2004) - Howard Saint
- Hairspray (2007) - Edna Turnblad
- Bolt (2008) - Bolt
- The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (2009) - "Ryder"
- Old Dogs as Charlie Reed
- From Paris with Love (2010) - Charlie Wax
- Savages (2012) - Dennis
- American Crime Story (2016) - Robert Shapiro
- Gotti (2018) - John Gotti
- The Fanatic (2019) - Moose