16″ x 20″ Signed September 20, 1997 through the mail
Actor, producer. Born February 18, 1954, in Englewood, New Jersey, to Salvatore and Helen Travolta. His family encouraged creative expression; his older sister, Ellen, was a television actress. Travolta’s first public performance was at eight years old, when he danced “The Twist” for a local theater crowd. Immediately after high school, he pursued an acting career full time. He appeared in over forty commercials and many stage shows, including an early road show of Grease.
Travolta’s first major role came in 1975 as Vinnie Barbarino on the sitcom Welcome Back Kotter. He was the breakout star and helped make the show an immediate hit. At nearly the same time, Travolta appeared in the made-for-TV movie The Boy in the Plastic Bubble. During production, Travolta and co-star Diana Hyland (playing his mother) fell in love. Travolta suffered a great personal loss when Hyland died of cancer in March 1977.
Later that same year, Travolta’s movie career took off when Saturday Night Fever was released to both critical and popular acclaim. Travolta, with his charisma and dynamic dancing, became an icon of the disco craze that was just hitting the mainstream. He became a full-fledged teen idol in 1978 when he starred in the film version of Grease opposite Olivia Newton-John.
Travolta finally escaped the fading Welcome Back Kotter in 1979 and sought to make the transition to serious adult actor. Although Brian DePalma’s Blow Out (1982) was not a big hit, Travolta got great reviews and critical respect for the first time in his career. However, this acclaim was quickly squandered as Travolta starred in a series of flops from 1983-1989, including Two of a Kind and Perfect.
His slump culminated with yet another bomb, The Experts, in 1989. However, Travolta did meet actress Kelly Preston on the set. Two years later, after Preston broke up with actor Charlie Sheen, she began dating Travolta. They were married a short time later on September 5, 1991, in Paris, France, although a subsequent civil ceremony in Florida was required to make it legal. Seven months later, the couple had a son, Jett, whose name was inspired by his father’s passion for aviation. The birthing was conducted in complete silence in accordance with the principles of Scientology, which Travolta has followed since 1972.
Travolta’s career enjoyed a renaissance beginning in 1994 with Pulp Fiction, which he did for $140,000. His comeback was so well received that within two years his asking price had reached $20 million as he starred in Get Shorty(1995, Golden Globe Award), Broken Arrow (1996 ), Face/Off (1997), Primary Colors (1998), A Civil Action (1998), and The General’s Daughter (1999).
In 2000, Travolta produced and starred as an evil alien leader in the futuristic science fiction epic Battlefield Earth. The film, set in the year 3000, was adapted from the novel by L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of the Church of Scientology. Both Battlefield Earth and the comedy Lucky Numbers, costarring Lisa Kudrow, were relative disappointments both critically and commercially. In the summer of 2001, a newly buff Travolta costarred opposite Halle Berry in the action movie Swordfish.
Travolta and Preston had a second child, Ella Bleu, in April 2000. Travolta spends much of his free time piloting his private jet.