The 1970s was a time where disco and dancing were major hits. During this decade, films centered on such groovy material like Saturday Night Fever and Grease; and at the heart of those two films is actor John Travolta, who turns 65 today.
The two films launched Travolta’s career with his performance as Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever made him one of the youngest nominees ever for Best Actor at the Academy Awards, and as Danny Zuko in Grease the following year cemented the movie as one of the best musical films ever (even inspiring a sequel and live-television special).
On and off career
Travolta’s stardom dipped for more than a decade after consecutive mediocre films, but became a hot-topic actor once more after teaming up with director Quentin Taratino for Pulp Fiction – arguably one of the best cult classics to date; Travolta received his second Oscar nomination for his role as Vincent Vega.
He followed up Pulp Fiction with films like Get Shorty, Face/Off, and Battlefield Earth – the latter being considered one of the worst films ever made. Still, Travolta continued to work in films like Wild Hogs, Bolt (voicing the titular animated character), and Hairspray (where he starred as the lead’s mother in his first musical since Grease).
Lately Travolta has been in action films such as From Paris with Love and The Forger, and produced & starred in the critically acclaimed American Crime Story‘s first season of The People vs. O.J. Simpson.
Beyond film and television, Travolta is also a licensed private pilot and currently owns four aircraft. When an earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, he flew relief supplies and doctors to the disaster area along with Scientologist volunteers (he has practiced Scientology since 1975).
Despite a large amount of adequate films, we will always love Travolta as his happy self whenever he’s dancing, whether in the ’50s in Grease, disco dancing in Saturday Night Fever ‘s ’70s, or simply having fun like he did in Hairspray. We’re hoping to see him tune out another musical film before he retires, but for now we wish him a happy 65th birthday!