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Now 63, John Joseph Travolta shot to fame in the 1970s with leading roles in the blockbuster movies Saturday Night Fever and Grease, and he has fascinated film fans ever since. However, in a career spanning five decades, there have been some pivotal moments in the personal and professional life of the Hollywood giant which reveal the real man who exists when the cameras aren’t rolling. The following 20 facts add up to a fascinating backstory to how Travolta came to be the man he is today.

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20. He was too cool for school

Travolta has admitted that he was never a model student growing up, which could explain why he never actually completed high school. Even from early on the Grease actor preferred to act rather than study at Dwight Morrow High School in his home town of Englewood, New Jersey. He once said, “I participated in football and basketball, and did what they were doing, but not many kids understood my going to acting studios at night.”

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19. He has the luck of the Irish

Travolta has been cast mostly as an Italian-American, which is natural enough as he is predominately of Italian descent. While he was brought up in a strict Roman Catholic household by his parents Salvatore and Helen, the star is on record as saying that his family was more interested in their Irish roots. Subsequently, it was more potato than pasta as young John was exposed to more Irish culture than Italian.

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