Fame & Fortune: John Travolta

From TV's "Welcome Back Kotter," to his overnight fame as Tony Manero in "Saturday Night Fever" and then Danny Zuko in the biggest money-making musical, "Grease," John Travolta has been entertaining us for decades.

After falling out of favor with Hollywood, the New Jersey kid hit it big again with the success of "Pulp Fiction" where he showed off his good-natured personality in a gritty, low budget film. That career move resurrected an otherwise flailing career and put Travolta in legend status. Being able to command upward of $20 million per picture, it's a far cry from what Quentin Tarantino offered the then-struggling actor for "Pulp Fiction."

"Quentin cornered me at a photo shoot and said, 'You won't get paid anything for this, but you shouldn't be denied good material just because there isn't a budget,'" he laughs. Now the father of two -- son, Jett and daughter Ella Bleu -- and married to actress Kelly Preston since 1991, Travolta revels in his success as an actor. It's not too shabby what financial success brings in the way of "toys," either. 

Bankrate: I know you're a licensed pilot -- what crafts do you fly?

John Travolta: Well, I'm rated in a (Boeing) 747 and a 707 -- I own one of those. I also have a Gulfstream, Hawker, Lear Jet, Vampire Jet and two bomb jets. So I have quite a few jet licenses and quite a few planes.

Bankrate: Describe the thrills you get from flying a plane?

John Travolta: Oh, wow, there are many, but it's a very extroverting experience. It's sensational; it's movement. There's an art to it. There's a beauty to aircraft, and I like the perspective of being in the sky. Everything is very proportioned, I'd say and I feel a certain relief when I'm in the air. I can't explain why I get relief other than maybe those other aspects. 

Bankrate: Do you feel the machinery under you?

John Travolta: I do. I sense the machine and I estimate its abilities. I've flown it for 27 years so I've really grown to know that scene quite well. I also have a few motorcycles, too. It's nice to be able to fly my family because we live in different places in the country at different times (Travolta has homes in California, Florida and Maine). 

Bankrate: You once took a two-month around-the-world flight that you piloted along with your wife, Kelly, as a passenger.


John Travolta: Yeah, that was fun. I wanted to do my part to get people traveling on planes again after 9/11. 

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