John Travolta

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John Joseph Travolta (born February 18, 1954 in Englewood, New Jersey) is an American actor.

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John Travolta in Qantas pilot uniform in an interview with Australian Talk Show host Rove McManus

Travolta was born in Englewood, New Jersey, the son of Italian-American Salvatore Travolta, a semi-professional footballer turned tire salesman and Irish-American Helen Cecilia Burke, an 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 gained his first major movie role as Billy Nolan the taunter of Sissy Spacek's Carrie White in the horror film Carrie (1976). He was also well known at the time for his role as Vinnie Barbarino in the TV sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter (1975-1979) in which his real-life sister Ellen Travolta also occasionally appeared (as "Horshack's mother"). His most memorable roles came in 1977 and 1978 as Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever, (1977) and as Danny Zuko in Grease at the height of the disco era. After that, his career more or less slumped until he played Vincent Vega in Quentin Tarantino's cult hit Pulp Fiction, for which he received an Academy Award nomination.

Travolta also played a lead role in the panned Battlefield Earth (which, oddly enough, is based on a work of pulp fiction), 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 idolizes 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.

His affiliation with Scientology has caused some controversy. In 1998 he was named in a lawsuit involving a former member of the cult that claims that he was promised by the cult 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." [1]. Despite his lawyer's contention, rumors of Travolta's homosexuality persist.

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. John 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[2], 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. [3] [4]

Travolta is married to fellow Scientologist and actress Kelly Preston and is the father of two children. Previously he was involved with actress Diana Hyland, who died of breast cancer (reportedly in Travolta's arms) in 1977.

Travolta is a qualified pilot and owns five airplanes, including a former Qantas Boeing 707-138. The plane bears the name "Jett Clipper Ella". Pan Am was a large operator of the 707 and used Clipper in their names. The plane is named for his son Jett and daughter Ella. His house in Ocala, 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.


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John Travolta (left) and Samuel L. Jackson (right) in Pulp Fiction.

TV work

External links

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