If movie stars were animals, John Travolta would be a kangaroo – up one minute, down the next. Few leading men have experienced as many reversals of fortune as the actor, whose career highs and lows have generated almost as many headlines as his devotion to the controversial Church of Scientology.
After finding fame in the TV series "Welcome Back Kotter", John Joseph Travolta became one of the 70s most popular icons thanks to the double whammy of "Saturday Night Fever" and "Grease". But his attempts to build on that success led to a series of embarrassing flops, from the mawkish romance "Moment By Moment" to the absurdly misnamed "Perfect".
Further humiliation ensued when he reprised his "Fever" character in "Staying Alive" and re-united with his "Grease" co-star Olivia Newton-John in "Two Of A Kind". It wasn't long before he was playing second fiddle to a wisecracking baby in "Look Who's Talking". But in one of the most remarkable turnarounds in cinematic history, Travolta found himself flavour of the month again playing a flabby, drug-taking hitman in Quentin Tarantino's seminal "Pulp Fiction".
Suddenly Travolta could do no wrong, bringing his unflappable cool to such box-office hits as "Get Shorty", "Broken Arrow", and "Face/Off". Soon he was earning $20 million a film, but with success came hubris – typified by his decision to make science fiction disaster "Battlefield Earth", considered by many to be the worst movie ever made. No wonder producer Joel Silver has subtly downplayed his involvement in new cyberthriller "Swordfish".