John Joseph Travolta is an actor, singer, and dancer, who traversed Broadway and television to become an A-list star. He’s a musical sensation who was seemingly built for entertainment. His ties to Scientology and somewhat strange personal life stigmatized him later in life, but he’s still going strong in starring roles. Check out these highlights from the storied career of John Travolta.
10. Welcome Back, Kotter (1975-1979)
Character: Vincent “Vinnie” Barbarino
Vinnie Barbarino is a cocky teen and the leader of the Sweathogs. He’s charismatic, which seems to cover for his abusive home life.
9. Look Who’s Talking (1989)/Look Who’s Talking Too (1990)
Character: James Ubriacco
Travolta and Kirstie Allew play parents to Mikey, a young baby with the voice of Bruce Willis in his head. In the second movie, Mikey is a toddler dealing with baby Julie (Roseanne Barr).
8. Urban Cowboy (1980)
Character: Buford ‘Bud’ Uan Davis
Travolta is a Texas cowboy who moves to Houston suburb, Pasadena, to get involved in city life. His love/hate relationship with Debra Winger causes him to try and win a mechanical bull competition to earn her heart.
7. Gotti (2018)
Character: John Gotti
Travolta plays mob boss John Gotti in this so-bad-it’s-good biopic. It’s one of very few movies to hold a perfect score on Rotton Tomatoes, with a solid 0%. It’s widely regarded as one of the worst movies ever made. See why.
6. Saturday Night Fever (1977)
Character: Tony Manero
Travolta dancing to Bee Gees soundtrack was the formula for success that pulled him from TV into movie stardom. Tony lives at home and works in retail, but he’s a dynamo on the dance floor.
5. Grease (1978)
Character: Danny Zuko
Danny and Sandy met over the summer for a romance, but things get complicated when school starts. Danny is the leader of a greaser gang and Sandy is the new girl in school, who joins the Pink Ladies. Their cross-clique romance is a watered down Romeo and Juliet that lasted for generations.
4. The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story (2016)
Character: Robert Shapiro
This story of real-life crime features Travolta as O.J. Simpson’s lead attorney in his murder trial. As captivating as his TV chase was in the 1990s, the dramatization is even juicier.
3. Get Shorty (1995)/Be Cool (2005)
Character: Chili Palmer
Chili Palmer is a Miami-based loan shark who’s sent to Hollywood to collect on a debt by a mob boss. Instead he pitches him a script and starts working in Hollywood himself.
2. Hairspray (2007)
Character: Edna Turnblad
Travolta plays Edna, the agoraphobic mother of musically inclined teen Tracy (Nikki Blonsky). He shines in drag and pulls off some memorable song-and-dance numbers.
1. Pulp Fiction (1994)
Character: Vincent Vega
Travolta joins Samuel L Jackson as VIncent and Jules, two hitmen working under criminal boss Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames). He also has an obligatory dance scene at Jackrabbit Slim’s with Wallace’s wife (Uma Thurman) in this Quentin Tarantino classic.