John Travolta is one of the most iconic and versatile actors in Hollywood. He has starred in some of the most memorable and influential films of all time. Travolta has shown incredible talent and charisma throughout his career. But he has also faced many challenges and losses in his personal life. He has never stopped pursuing his passion for performing through it all. Let us have a look at Travolta's life and career from his early successes to his comebacks after setbacks.
Discovering a Love of Performing at a Young Age
John Travolta was born in 1954 in New Jersey and grew up in an entertainment-focused family. His mother was an actress and singer while his father was a semi-professional football player. Travolta developed a strong interest in performing from a young age. He dropped out of high school at 16 and headed to New York City to pursue acting full-time.
Travolta started by acting in commercials and plays. Soon he landed a role touring with the musical Grease foreshadowing his future fame. He got his big break on TV in 1975 starring as Vinnie Barbarino in Welcome Back, Kotter. Travolta became a hugely popular teen idol as the leader of a group of rebellious high schoolers. He also released several hit albums showing his versatility as both actor and singer.
Reaching Global Stardom in Iconic 1970s Musicals
Travolta's fame grew exponentially when he starred in two of the biggest blockbusters of the late 1970s - Saturday Night Fever and Grease. He played working-class Tony Manero who finds escape in dancing at the disco in Saturday Night Fever. He reprised his role for Grease from the stage musical as Danny Zuko who is leader of the greaser gang the T-Birds. Travolta showed he could not only act and dance but also sing with incredible talent through these films.
Facing Career and Personal Challenges in the 1980s
Travolta's career took a downturn with a series of box office flops In the 1980s. He also turned down roles in major hits like An Officer and a Gentleman. He became more involved in Scientology as his stardom faded while improving his confidence and overcoming dyslexia. But this period was not without highlights. He met and fell in love with actress Kelly Preston on a film set in 1989. The two married in 1991 and went on to have three children together.
Returning to the A-List with Pulp Fiction
Travolta made an incredible comeback playing hitman Vincent Vega in Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction in 1994. Pulp Fiction was an edgy masterpiece with its dark humor, violence and nonlinear story. His performance earned him his second Oscar nomination. But Travolta also faced heartbreaking tragedy during this period when his son Jett died at age 16 after suffering a seizure.