Now 63, John Joseph Travolta shot to fame in the 1970s with leading roles in the blockbuster movies Saturday Night Fever and Grease. Since those heady days, moreover, he’s continued to enthral moviegoers with turns in the likes of Pulp Fiction and Hairspray.
And, naturally, there have been some pivotal moments in Travolta’s personal and professional lives that have helped shape him. Indeed, the following 20 facts both reveal some of the Hollywood star’s fascinating backstory and explain how Travolta came to be the man he is today.
20. He was too cool for school
Travolta has admitted that he wasn’t a model student growing up, which may explain why he never completed high school. And perhaps that’s because the future Grease star preferred to act rather than study at Dwight Morrow High School in his home town of Englewood, New Jersey. This led to him being something of an oddity among his peers, as Travolta would explain in a 1978 interview with Rochester, New York, newspaper the Democrat and Chronicle. He 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.”
19. He has the luck of the Irish
It’s understandable that Travolta has been cast mostly as an Italian-American, as his father Salvatore was of Italian descent. However, the star is on record as saying that his family was more interested in their Irish roots – probably because his mom Helen was Irish-American. Travolta’s family also lived in a predominantly Irish-American area in New Jersey when he was growing up, too.