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John Travolta
John Travolta Deauville 2013 2.jpg
Travolta in 2013
John Joseph Travolta

February 18, 1954 (1954-02-18) (age 67)
Occupation Actor, producer, writer, singer, dancer, aircraft pilot
Years active 1972–present
Notable work
Kelly Preston (m. 1991)
Children 3
Relatives Margaret Travolta (sister)
Ellen Travolta (sister)
Joey Travolta (brother)
Awards Full list
John Travolta signature.png

John Joseph Travolta (born February 18, 1954) is an American actor, director, film producer, dancer and singer. Travolta first became known in the 1970s, after appearing on the television series Welcome Back, Kotter (1975–1979) and starring in the box office successes Saturday Night Fever (1977) and Grease (1978). His acting career declined through the 1980s, but enjoyed a resurgence in the 1990s with his role in Pulp Fiction (1994), and he has since starred in films such as Get Shorty, Broken Arrow, Face/Off, Swordfish, Be Cool, Wild Hogs, Hairspray and The Taking of Pelham 123.

Travolta was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for performances in Saturday Night Fever and Pulp Fiction. He won his first and only Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy for his performance in Get Shorty and has received a total of six nominations, the most recent being in 2011.

In 2010, he received the IIFA Award for Outstanding Achievement in International Cinema. In 2016, Travolta received his first Primetime Emmy Award, as a producer of the first season of the anthology series American Crime Story, subtitled The People v. O. J. Simpson. He also received an additional Emmy nomination and a Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal of lawyer Robert Shapiro in the series.

Early life

Welcome Back Kotter John Travolta 1976
Travolta as Vinnie Barbarino in the ABC comedy Welcome Back Kotter, c. 1976

Travolta, the youngest of six children, was born and raised in Englewood, New Jersey, an inner-ring suburb of Bergen County, New Jersey. His father, Salvatore Travolta (November 1912 – May 1995), was a semi-professional American football player turned tire salesman and partner in a tire company. His mother, Helen Cecilia (née Burke; January 18, 1912 – December 1978), was an actress and singer who had appeared in The Sunshine Sisters, a radio vocal group, and acted and directed before becoming a high school drama and English teacher.

His siblings, Joey, Ellen, Ann, Margaret, and Sam Travolta, inspired by their mother's love of theatre and drama, have all acted. His father was a second-generation Italian American (with roots in Godrano, Sicily) and his mother was Irish American; he grew up in an Irish-American neighborhood and has said that his household was predominantly Irish in culture. He was raised Roman Catholic, but converted to Scientology in 1975. Travolta attended Dwight Morrow High School, but dropped out as a junior at age 17 in 1971.

Personal life

John Travolta Kelly Preston Cannes 2014
Travolta and wife Kelly Preston at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival

Travolta was in a relationship with actress Diana Hyland, whom he met while filming The Boy in the Plastic Bubble. He is now married to actress Kelly Preston in 1991, they have a home in Islesboro, Maine. The couple had a son, Jett, who in 2009 died at age 16 while on a Christmas vacation in the Bahamas. Their daughter, Ella Bleu, was born in 2000 and a third child, a son named Benjamin, was born in 2010 in Florida.

In memory of his son, Travolta created the Jett Travolta Foundation, a non-profit organization to help children with special needs. It has contributed to organizations such as the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy, The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential, and the Simon Wiesenthal Center

Travolta has been a practitioner of Scientology since 1975 when he was given the book Dianetics. After the 2010 Haiti earthquake, joining other celebrities in helping with the relief efforts, Travolta reportedly flew his Boeing 707 full of supplies, doctors, and Scientologist Volunteer Ministers into the disaster area.



Year Title Role Notes
1975 Devil's Rain, TheThe Devil's Rain Danny
1976 Carrie Billy Nolan
1977 Saturday Night Fever Tony Manero
1978 Grease Daniel "Danny" Zuko
Moment by Moment Strip Harrison
1980 Urban Cowboy Buford 'Bud' Uan Davis
1981 Blow Out Jack Terry
1983 Staying Alive Tony Manero
Two of a Kind Zack Melon
1985 Perfect Adam Lawrence
1989 Experts, TheThe Experts Travis
Look Who's Talking James Ubriacco
1990 Look Who's Talking Too James Ubriacco
1991 Shout Jack Cabe
Eyes of an Angel Bobby
1993 Look Who's Talking Now James Ubriacco
1994 Pulp Fiction Vincent Vega
1995 Get Shorty Chili Palmer
White Man's Burden Louis Pinnock
1996 Michael Michael
Phenomenon George Malley
Orientation: A Scientology Information Film Himself Short film
Broken Arrow Maj. Vic 'Deak' Deakins
1997 Off the Menu: The Last Days of Chasen's Himself Documentary
Mad City Sam Baily
Face/Off Sean Archer / Castor Troy
She's So Lovely Joey Giamonti Also executive producer
1998 Civil Action, AA Civil Action Jan Schlichtmann
Thin Red Line, TheThe Thin Red Line Brigadier General Quintard
Primary Colors Governor Jack Stanton
1999 General's Daughter, TheThe General's Daughter Warr. Off. Paul Brenner
Our Friend, Martin Kyle's dad Voice
2000 Battlefield Earth Terl Also producer
Lucky Numbers Russ Richards
Welcome to Hollywood Himself Cameo
2001 Domestic Disturbance Frank Morrison
Swordfish Gabriel Shear
2002 Austin Powers in Goldmember Himself as "Austinpussy" Goldmember Cameo
2003 Basic Tom Hardy
2004 Ladder 49 Captain Mike Kennedy
Love Song for Bobby Long, AA Love Song for Bobby Long Bobby Long
Punisher, TheThe Punisher Howard Saint
2005 Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D James Benson "Jim" Irwin Voice
Be Cool Chili Palmer
2006 Lonely Hearts Elmer C. Robinson
2007 Wild Hogs Woody Stevens
Hairspray Edna Turnblad
2008 Bolt Bolt Voice
2009 Taking of Pelham 123, TheThe Taking of Pelham 123 Ryder
Old Dogs Charlie Reed
2010 From Paris with Love Charlie Wax
2012 Savages Dennis
2013 Killing Season Emil Kovac
2014 The Forger Ray Cutter
2015 Life on the Line Beau
Criminal Activities Eddie Also executive producer
2016 In a Valley of Violence The Marshal
I Am Wrath Stanley Hill
2018 Gotti John Gotti
Trading Paint Sam Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1972 Emergency! Chuck Benson Episode: "Kids"
Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law Episode: "A Piece of God"
1973 Rookies, TheThe Rookies Eddie Halley Episode: " Frozen Smoke"
1974 Medical Center Danny Episode: "Saturday's Child"
1975 Tenth Level, TheThe Tenth Level John Television film
1975–1979 Welcome Back, Kotter Vincent "Vinnie" Barbarino 79 episodes
1976 Boy in the Plastic Bubble, TheThe Boy in the Plastic Bubble Tod Lubitch Television film
1976 Mr. T and Tina Vinnie Barbarino Episode: "Pilot"
1987 Basements: The Dumb Waiter Ben Television film
1991 Chains of Gold Scott Barnes Television film; also writer
1992 Boris and Natasha: The Movie Himself Cameo
Television film
1994 Saturday Night Live Himself/Host Episode: "John Travolta/Seal"
2014 Kirstie Mickey Episode: "Mickey & Maddie"
2016 The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story Robert Shapiro 10 episodes; also producer

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