Travolta's Favorite Characters

John Travolta is only 44. But, over the weekend, he was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Chicago Film Festival. It's the third life achievement award he has received this year.

The actor sat down with CBS This Morning Co-Anchor Mark McEwen for a cinematic walk down memory lane. McEwen mentioned some Travolta characters, and Travolta described what they meant to him:

  • Tony Manero, Saturday Night Fever (1977): "That was a fulfillment of a few different things, but I was mostly happy that I could do a character that had depth and perform the dimension of dance as well."
  • Danny Zuko, Grease (1978): "That was a dream that I had held over from the stage. I had always wanted to play Danny Zuko, because I had done a smaller part on the stage. So it was kind of a fulfilled dream."

    Travolta had performed as a chorus member in the national touring company of Grease and later appeared in the Broadway production.

    That was before he got his first big break in show business, when he was cast as Barbarino in the TV sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter (1975).

  • Vincent Vega, Pulp Fiction (1994): "All I knew is that everyone is really on this guy (director Quentin Tarantino) like wildfire, and thought if I hooked up with him, great things would happen."
  • Chili Palmer, Get Shorty (1995): "I enjoyed playing that part. After it came out, it was a confirmation of Pulp Fiction, meaning it verified that I had come back, I guess."
  • Jack Stanton, Primary Colors (1998): "That, as an actor, was a great change for me, because if you bookend Pulp Fiction or Saturday Night Fever with Primary Colors, it gives you the range of an actor."
Travolta says he always has had faith in his fans.

"I would say that I have always known that my audience and fans were there for me. It's never a fan's responsibility whether a film does well or doesn't. So I feel that I'm thrilled that my choices have pleased them. And I've always known they were there."

Travolta's all-time favorite movies include La Strada (1954), Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942), and A Man and a Woman (1966). He also told McEwen that he always wanted to dress like Warren Beatty in Bonnie and Clyde (1967).

Years ago, Travolta negotiated for a percentage of the profits from the soundtracks from Saturday Night Fever and Grease. So he can well afford to pursue his favorite activity: flying his own airplanes.

He and his wife, actress Kelly Preston, have a son, Jett.