Born the youngest of six in a family of entertainers, John Travolta dropped out at 16 to pursue acting in the Big Apple. Before he shot to stardom as Vinnie Barbarino on TV’s Welcome Back Kotter in 1975 and The Boy In The Plastic Bubble (1976), he treaded the Broadway boards in Grease (he’d move up to the lead for the big screen adaptation in 1978) and Over Here! opposite The Andrew Sisters. After charting in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 with “Let Her In,” he earned an Oscar nod for 1977’s Saturday Night Fever. But by the end of the ‘80s despite hits like Urban Cowboy, his many stinkers and allegedly turning down blockbusters like American Gigolo caught up with him. The Look Who’s Talking franchise and Quentin Tarantino rescued him from has-been land. Pulp Fiction even nabbed him his second Oscar nod. He managed to maintain his above-the-title status over the next two decades by delivering enough winners like Get Shorty (for which he won a Golden Globe), Face/Off, Primary Colors, Phenomenon and the Hairspray remake(for which he dressed in drag and sang) and in spite of spearheading the universally panned Battlefield Earth, which is based on a story by the founder of Scientology. [Travolta is a follower.] He married Kelly Preston in 1991. They had son Jett in 1992 and daughter Ella in 2000. Tragedy struck when Jett died in 2009 of a seizure. They consider their third child, Benjamin, who was born 16 months after he passed when Preston was 48, a miracle.
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