8 Things You Didn’t Know About John Travolta

8 Things You Didn’t Know About John Travolta

John Travolta won the hearts of movie lovers after portraying the super-suave, singing and dancing stud, Danny, in 1978’s mega hit, Grease. His fame grew rapidly from here on and he went on to star in classics like Pulp Fiction , Get Shorty, and Face/Off. He has worked with some of Hollywood’s best talents and has gathered heaps of praise from critics for decades.

Travolta has continued to be a pillar of talent in Hollywood since his rise and is well-known for being on the industry’s true nice guys. He has suffered some ups and downs throughout his career but he continues to come back stronger every time. Here are eight things you didn’t know about John Travolta.

1. Quentin Tarantino Sought Out Travolta For Pulp Fiction

John Travolta Sam Jackson Pointing Guns

After the success of Reservoir Dogs, Quentin Tarantino’s dream came true and he was pretty much granted free roam of Hollywood talent to choose from for his next movie, Pulp Fiction. He devised a wishlist that has since made the rounds online, and on top of that list was none other than John Travolta. While most people may associate Travolta with Grease, Tarantino really fell in love with him after his role in Brian De Palma’s mystery thriller, Blow Out. In fact, Tarantino still praises the movie to this day.

At the time of Pulp Fiction entering pre-production, Travolta had started to fade off the radar slightly and was becoming more known for TV movies and comedies like Look Who’s Talking. However,  Tarantino was dead set on casting Travolta, so much so that he was even prepared to part ways with the producers if they failed to see his vision. Luckily for Travolta, the producers trusted Tarantino’s instincts and cast him in the lead role of Vincent Vega. Travolta gave a comeback performance of a lifetime and shot to superstardom once again.

2. Travolta Is A Trained Pilot

John Travolta Pilot

At the tender age of 22, when most people have typically just got used to driving on the road, Travolta was flying high in the sky. He acquired his pilot’s license and has been infatuated with aircrafts ever since. He even has his own airport in the confines of his mansion, where he takes off and flies friends and family around the world with him.

In 1992, Travolta had the scare of his life when his plane suffered a total electrical failure and he was forced to emergency land the aircraft. Upon descent, he nearly collided with another aircraft by a hair’s thread. Luckily, no one was harmed and Travolta’s confidence wasn’t knocked. He still flies regularly to this day.

3. Travolta Is A Two Time Oscar Nominee

John Travolta Smoking Briefcase Scene In Pulp Fiction

Travolta landed his first Oscar nomination in 1978 for his role in John Badham’s Saturday Night Fever. He didn’t take home the gold that night and it was not until 15 years later where he would get another shot. During his stint of comedies and kid’s movies, Travolta started to lose some regard as a serious dramatic actor but Pulp Fiction changed that and he was nominated once again for Best Actor in a Leading Role in 1995.

4. Travolta’s Career Success Was Marred By Personal Tragedy

John Travolta Kelly Preston

While Travolta was climbing the ranks in Hollywood, his personal life was taking some devastating blows. His first wife Diana Hyland sadly passed away from breast cancer in 1977 while Travolta was filming Saturday Night Fever. Travolta left the set of the movie to be with his wife in her final days and returned to the set after finishing the movie.

Sadly this is not the only tragedy Travolta would face. In 2009, Travolta’s son Jett died after suffering a seizure, and his late wife, Kelly Preston, passed away on July 12, 2020. Despite all of this heartache, Travolta has stayed strong and continued to do what he loves and bring joy to the screen with his immense talent.

5. John Travolta Has A Major Collaboration You Never Heard Of

John Travolta Staying Alive

After getting a taste for directing in 1979 with Rocky II, Sylvester Stallone helmed the chair for the long-awaited sequel to Saturday Night Fever. 1983’s Staying Alive saw Travolta’s beloved character Tony Manero leaving the dance floor to chase his dreams and succeed as a dancer on the Broadway stage.

The movie fell under the radar and failed to gain the recognition that the original earned. This is arguably down to the six-year wait between pictures and Stallone’s decision to make the movie PG 13 rated. However, there is still some impressive choreography there and both Stallone and Travolta remain proud of the picture to this day.

6. Princess Diana Named A Dress After John Travolta

John Travolta Princess Diana Dancing

In 1985, John Travolta was famously pictured dancing with Princess Diana at a ball at The White House. Travolta’s dancing skills in previous movies had clearly had an effect on Diana and she tapped his shoulder and asked him to dance. The dress she wore that night later went on to be known as “The Travolta Dress”.

7. Travolta’s Big Comeback Performance Was A Total Flop

John Travolta Smiling Handcuffs

Gotti was in the works for some years and faced some serious ups and downs. Travolta landed the role after the Gotti family personally asked for him. The movie was shaping up to be a huge success and on-screen gangster favourite Joe Pesci was cast alongside Travolta. Pesci even gained 30 pounds for his part only for the producers to allegedly switch his role before filming, later causing Pesci to file for a $3 million lawsuit.

The movie seemed doomed to fail from the outset and took eight years to reach fruition. Travolta delivered a top-notch portrayal but the film was panned by critics and failed to make a return on its $10 million budget.

8. Travolta Got The Chance To Reteam With Bruce Willis Once More

Bruce Willis back of head, John Travolta

John Travolta has graced the screen with many Hollywood heavyweights like Nicolas Cage, Dustin Hoffman and Gene Hackman. Another honorable mention is Bruce Willis. While their on-screen time may have been short and sweet in Pulp Fiction, it was still a collaboration for the history books. Despite Willis providing his voice in the Look Who’s Talking movies, the two titan actors didn’t get to share the screen again until 2022 with Paradise City.

Sadly this will be Travolta and Willis’ last on-screen partnership after Willis announced his retirement due to illness in 2022. However, moviegoers allover can be grateful that they donned the screen together once more.

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