Travolta’s sexual persuasion (personally, I couldn’t care less about it either way), is threatening his long-standing marriage to actress (and fellow Scientologist) Kelly Preston. In an age where ‘coming out’ seems to be the best way to curtail discussion on this monumentally over-rated issue he persists in denying his homosexuality for all he’s worth. Consequently, the tabloids are making one hell of a mountain out of a tiny little molehill. Just recently a pilot named Doug Gotterba claimed he and Travolta had a six-year long affair. A limousine driver named Nassim Tahzib added fuel to the fire by telling the National Enquirer that the popular actor ‘had an insatiable desire for gay sex, even though he was terrified of being branded a queen and lived in fear of his macho image being shattered.’ What macho image? And why should this destroy it anyway?
Perhaps, it is time Travolta looked around him. Being openly bisexual has not harmed Robert Downey’s image, or his career, which has gone through the roof lately with the Iron Man successes. Do people switch off Errol Flynn or Tyrone Power movies when they appear on late night TV because they used to have lovers of both sexes? Have they stopped going to see Jodie Foster because she is a lesbian or refuse to tune in to Ellen DeGeneres’s TV show? It’s time Mr Travolta grew a brain and cleared the air, if for no other reason than to give the media nothing further to speculate about.
Like most successful movie stars, stardom did not just ‘happen’ for Travolta, although when it did ‘explode’ it was fast and furious. His mother, herself an actor/dancer, made sure he studied voice, dancing and acting at drama school as a teenager in New York City. He toured in summer stock productions and was on Broadway at 18. Then he tried his luck in Hollywood. He found a little varied work until he scored the role of Vinnie Barbarino in a new TV series called Welcome Back Kotter in 1975 (see pic below). Overnight, it made him a household name. Since then he has enjoyed a wonderful movie career that has been varied and fun to watch. He has been Oscar-nominated twice in quite diverse roles, the first as a young dancer in Saturday Night Fever (1977), the second as a hit-man in 1994’s Pulp Fiction. He has also been nominated for six Golden Globes, winning once for the delightful Get Shorty (1994). Travolta is nearly always good to watch, and I cannot seeing that changing, even if he announces he is sexually hot for inter-galactic aliens. I mean, it is 2015. I thought the world was over that rubbish.
Travolta as Vinnie Barbarino in ‘Welcome Back Cotter’ (1975)
It may surprise you to know that Travolta holds no fewer than eleven jet licenses, from fighters to 747 airliners. The guy could probably fly a spaceship if we had one. His main home in Ocala, Florida has its own airstrip for his planes which include his own 707. In 2005, he flew it to New Orleans, delivering food and medical supplies in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Five years later, he did it again; this time piloting the thing to Haiti, bringing much needed supplies, doctors and volunteers to the stricken island following its devastating 2010 earthquake. Significantly, (but par for the course, nonetheless), the media spent nowhere near the energy and time on these humanitarian acts, as it has on finding out the gender of his lovers.
John Travolta has had his share of tragedy in his life. Back in the seventies he fell in love with a much older woman, stage and TV actress Diana Hyland. They met on the set of a tele-movie in which he played her son. It was 1976. He was 21 and Diana nearly 38. She had just landed the role of Dick van Patten’s wife in the series Eight is Enough, while Travolta was starting to accumulate his Welcome Back Kotter fan base. Sadly, after filming only four episodes of her new series, Diana died from breast cancer (in Travolta’s arms it is said). He was grief-stricken. In 2009, tragedy again struck, this time with the death of his 16 year-old son, Jett, who succumbed to a seizure at the family’s holiday retreat in the Bahamas.
In June, 1996, Travolta was due to start a film in Paris with director Roman Polanski, but the two quarrelled and the actor went home to America. Personally, I find it unforgivable that Hollywood stars still clamour after a lowlife like Polanski. The man was convicted of raping a child decades ago, high-tailed it out of the USA before he could be put away, and has since lived a great life in France, making movies and living life to the brim. The facts about this man’s crime are indisputable, despite what people like Whoopi Goldberg say. She actually used her spot on ABC’s The View to defend him. ‘I know it wasn’t ‘rape’ rape.’, she prattled. ‘I think it was something else, but I don’t believe it was ‘rape’ rape.’ She also categorically dismissed the possibility that Polanski ever forced himself on anyone. Rape, rape? What the Hell is she on about?
For the record, in March, 1977, 44 year-old Roman Polanski gave a thirteen year-old girl some champagne and a sedative (shades of Bill Cosby), then forcibly had anal-sex with her. A grand-jury convicted him of the lesser charge of statutory rape, only because he agreed to plead guilty. How Goldberg could possibly find reasons to defend that merely emphasises the lack of morality (or judgment) existent among certain Hollywood so-called stars. In 2003 Harrison Ford fulfilled a promise he made at the Academy Awards and personally delivered the Oscar for The Piano to Polanski in the French city of Deauville. Ford, obviously moved, was made an honorary citizen of the town. I may throw up.
The final word (I presume) on Polanski is that he avoided extradition to the USA back in 2010 after he was arrested in Zurich by Swiss authorities during a visit there in 2009. After loud and long wailing and bleating from a lot of movie people, the Swiss suddenly changed their minds and decided not to extradite him after all. Then, in February 2015, he testified behind closed doors in Krakow, Poland for nine hours, following another try for extradition by the USA. The court adjourned without a ruling and the hearing will resume later this month (April). Will he walk again? Probably. He is now 81, and still showing no signs of remorse for his actions all those years ago.
Back to John Travolta. Between 1997 and 2005, he has starred in no fewer than eight major features, for which he received at least $20 million for each one; plus several others where his pay packet was not quite so high. No wonder he can afford to own a few jets. As for his commitment to Scientology, his feelings on that have never wavered, not publicly anyway. ‘People make judgments about Scientology’, he said. ‘But often they don’t know what they’re talking about.’ Some of them don’t know what they’re talking about, it’s true. The trouble is, though; there are plenty of people who most definitely do know what they’re talking about. But that’s a story for another day.