John Travolta, circa 1980.
 
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John Travolta
Forecourt Ceremony held on Monday, June 2, 1980
 
Born: February 18, 1954, in Englewood, New Jersey
Age at the time of the ceremony: 26
 
John Travolta made the leap from television to movie stardom, and has had a devoted following since the mid-1970s. Always revealing more talent than some of his characters would suggest, Travolta can be counted on to bring it in each film.

Travolta's father was a football player, tire salesman and tire company owner, while his mother Helen, was a singer, who eventually became a high school teacher of theatre and English. John was the youngest of six children, all of whom have acted at some point in their lives. Travolta grew up in a household which was more Irish than Italian.

John dropped out of high school at the age of 17, headed across the Hudson to Manhattan, where he adutioned for and got the part of Doody in a touring company of the musical Grease. He made his Broadway debut in Over Here! from February, 1974, but Travolta seems to have left the popular show in order to seek his desitny in Los Angeles.

His first role in Tinseltown was as a fall victim on Emergency! aired over NBC in September, 1972, then played a "troubled teen" on The Rookie aired on ABC in October, 1973, and a young lover getting in the way of his girlfriend's treatment on Medical Center aired over CBS in December, 1974.

Things shifted into high gear when Travolta was cast in the ground-breaking show Welcome Back, Kotter for 82 episodes over ABC from September, 1975, to February, 1979. At the beginning of 1975, Travolta joined Scientology, and has become one of its most famous adherents.

During the show's hiatus periods, Travolta worked in feature films, beginning with the incredible Carrie (released in November, 1976) with Sissy Spacek. He scored a huge impression in The Boy in the Plastic Bubble aired over ABC in November, 1976, directed by Randal Kleiser.

Travolta was now such a number that he headlined in Saturday Night Fever (released in December, 1977), which showcased his athletic dancing skills. A monster hit, Fever convinced producer Robert Stigwood to star Travolta in the film version of Grease (released in June, 1978), again, being directed by Randal Kleiser.

With Grease being a huge hit, Travolta's next film should have been a hit too. Moment by Moment (released in December, 1978), with Lily Tomlin, was perhaps the most misguided flop of the 1970s. It is effectively buried in the vaults today. Travolta continued working on Welcome Back, Kotter, but he was getting — get this — $2,000 per episode!

Travolta's first post Kotter hit was Urban Cowboy (released in June, 1980), with Debra Winger. Director Brian De Palma tapped Travolta to star in his remake of Blowup, Blow Out (released in July, 1981, with Nancy Allen. An ultra-buff Travolta starred in a Saturday Night Fever sequel directed by Sylverster StalloneStaying Alive (which played the Chinese in July, 1983) — was a hit, but is an acquired taste.

Travolta likes to work. But finding the right vehicles became dicey. He entered into a period of misfires — mostly comedies, like Perfect (released in June, 1985), with Jamie Lee Curtis, Look Who's Talking (released in October, 1989), with Kristie Alley (and a huuuge hit, nontheless), Shout (released in October, 1991), with Jamie Walters. This lamentable state bottomed out with Look Who's Talking Now (released in November, 1993), again with Kristie Alley. Travolta and talking dogs — doesn't that sound great?

Director Quentin Tarantino cast Travolta in his seminal Pulp Fiction (which played the Chinese in October, 1994), which has become Travolta's most signature performance. The film placed Travolta in a new phase of his career: The Man Who Could Do No Wrong.

He got rave notices for playing a mobster who goes into film finance in Get Shorty (released in October, 1995), with Gene Hackman, then had a solid hit with the touchy/feely Phenomenon (released in July, 1996), with Kyra Sedgwick, and Michael (released in December, 1996), with Andie McDowell.

Another rather sizable hit for Travolta was Face/Off (released in June, 1997), with Nicholas Cage, for director John Woo. He played a candidtae running for the US presidency in Primary Colors (released in March, 1998), while The General's Daughter (which played the Chinese in June, 1999), playing an Army Warrant Officer caught in a web of deceit. Another hit.

But in each life — a little rain. Travolta starred in L. Ron Hubbard's sci-fi potboiler, Battlefield Earth (released in May, 2000), which fared worse than Moment by Moment.

Travolta continued to star in action films, balanced with other projects. Swordfish (released in June, 2001), with Hugh Jackman, and Be Cool (which played the Chinese in March, 2005), were predicatable enough, but in Hairspray (released in July, 2007), Travolta played the female lead in the film, singing and dancing, and wowed everyone, with the picture becoming his fourth most succesful to date.

Travolta has most hewn to the action genre of late, including From Paris with Love (released in February, 2010), with Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Criminal Activities (released in November, 2015), with Michael Pitt, and I am Wrath (released in April, 2016).

Married since 1991 to actress Kelly Preston, the couple had three children. Oldest son Jett died while on vacation in the Bahamas of Kawasaki disease at the age of 16. Travolta is an avid pilot and owns several aircraft.
 
 
Caption TK
Mann's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood, California. John Travolta Forecourt ceremony, Monday, June 2, 1980. Travolta gives the camera a smile after finishing his handprint.
 
 
 
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