By Jesse Nash
Resilience, faith and tenacity sustain John Travolta, who has had more comebacks than any actor in Hollywood and recently survived a devastating personal tragedy. In January, his teenage son, Jett, died suddenly while the family was on holiday at the Old Bahama Bay resort in Freeport’s West End.
While grieving with his wife, actress Kelly Preston, and their nine year-old daughter, Ella Bleu, at their fly-in estate in Ocala, Florida, Travolta was then hit with an alleged extortion plot by an island lawmaker and a paramedic.
“Cherish your loved ones and your friends like there was no tomorrow,” Travolta wrote to neighbors in a letter published in the Ocala-Star Banner. “By sharing our grief, you lessen our burden.”
Travolta first gained fame in the 70s as swaggering Vinnie Barbarino on TV’s Welcome Back Kotter, parlaying his teenybopper fame onto the big screen with Saturday Night Fever, Grease and Urban Cowboy. After a career lull during the 80s, he came back with Look Who’s Talking and further resuscitated his stature as the sympathetic hitman in Pulp Fiction.
“I have fame on the level of Marilyn Monroe, John Belushi or Elvis Presley, but part of the reason I didn’t go the way they did was because of my beliefs. People make judgments about Scientology, but often they don’t know what they’re talking about,” Travolta has said. “I would like to be a pop icon who survives. I would like to be a living icon.”
In 2009, Travolta can be seen in The Taking of Pelham 123, Old Dogs and From Paris With Love.
“As you get older, you have to force yourself to have new dreams,” he maintains. “For instance, I’ve been flying for 37 years but now teaching others to fly is interesting for me. Sometimes you have to find new angles on life to keep you interested, like sharing successes.”