The youngest member of a family of actors, Travolta began his career as a juvenile TV player. After guest-starring on myriad series, he signed on to Welcome Back, Kotter
in 1975 and became an instant teen idol. The next year he starred as the title character in the TV-movie The Boy in the Plastic Bubble
and embarked on an ill-fated romance with Diana Hyland, the older actress who played his mother; she soon died of cancer. Despite this personal setback, he was on a roll professionally, with an Oscar-nominated turn as a disco dancer in 1977's Saturday Night Fever
and a charismatic performance as a 1950s delinquent in the musical Grease
the next year. A series of box-office disappointments (Moment by Moment
, Two of a Kind
) followed, but his nuanced performance as a hit man in the hip 1994 film Pulp Fiction
revived his career and earned him an Oscar nod. Diverse, high-profile roles in a series of films followed, some successful and some not (most notably 2000's critically disparaged Battlefield Earth
, which he also produced). On the home front, Travolta married Kelly Preston (who fell for him when they costarred in The Experts
) in 1991 and the pair had two children. Tragedy struck, however, in 2009 when their son, Jett, died at the age of 16. In 2010, Travolta put his passion for flying to good use when he and Preston flew medical supplies and personnel to the earthquake-ravaged Haiti. Off screen, Travolta is an active follower of Scientology.John Travolta Fast Facts:
- At the height of his Welcome Back, Kotter fame, joined the teeny-bopper fray by recording the pop single "Let Her In," which rose to No. 10 on the Billboard charts.
- Dated Diana Hyland, his costar in 1976's The Boy in the Plastic Bubble, until her death from cancer in 1977. Hyland, who was 18 years his senior, portrayed his mother in the telefilm.
- Turned down Days of Heaven, American Gigolo and An Officer and a Gentleman, with all roles going to Richard Gere instead.
- Based on his passion for aviation, authored a 1997 book called Propeller One-Way Night Coach.
- Sang the duet "I Thought I Lost You" with Miley Cyrus for the ending credits of the 2008 film Bolt, in which both were voice actors.
- John Travolta Relationships:
- Helen Travolta - Mother
- Ann Travolta - Sister
- Ella Bleu Travolta - Daughter
- Ellen Travolta - Sister
- Joey Travolta - Brother
- Kelly Preston - Wife
- Salvatore Travolta - Father
- Margaret Travolta - Sister
- Sam Travolta - Brother
- Benjamin Travolta - Son
- Diana Hyland - Ex-significant Other
- Jett Travolta - Son
- John Travolta Awards:
- 1979 Golden Globe: Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy - Nominee
- 1994 BAFTA Awards: Best Actor in a Leading Role - Nominee
- 2007 Screen Actors Guild Awards: Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture - Nominee
- 1979 Golden Globe: Henrietta Award (World Film Favorites) - Winner
- 1994 Oscar: Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role - Nominee
- 1995 Screen Actors Guild Awards: Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture - Nominee
- 1995 Golden Globe: Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama - Nominee
- 1996 Golden Globe: Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy - Winner
- 1999 Golden Globe: Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy - Nominee
- 2008 Golden Globe: Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture - Nominee
- 1994 Screen Actors Guild Awards: Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role - Nominee