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The Celebrity Archaeology Podcast

May 14, 2018

How much testosterone can fit in one photograph?  Plenty, if the subjects are John Travolta and Sylvester Stallone in this photo taken in 1983 at the premiere of the film "Stayin' Alive." Stallone as director and Travolta as returning character Tony Manero weren't enough to save the film, which was a sequel to the very successful "Saturday Night Fever", but superstars John and Sylvester wouldn't let this dud do them in. John John Travolta was born in Englewood, New Jersey on February 18, 1954. His father Samuel owned a tire repair shop and his mother was an actress and dancer. It was his mother Helen who saw that special something in John and encouraged him to attend drama school in New York City. At age 16, he dropped out of high school to pursue his dream. John's road to success was like many others in the business of acting. He did summer stock and tv commercials.He made his Broadway debut in "Grease" at age 18. This lead to many small roles on television. In 1975, John won out on an audition for the television show "Welcome Back Kotter." He played the role of "Sweathog" Vinnie Barbarino. Barbarino was a cocky Italian-American, the "unofficial official" leader and resident heartthrob of the Sweathogs. His good looks and personality jumped out of the small screen and John became a household name. In 1977, a well-toned John found himself on the big screen on what was supposed to be a small film called "Saturday Night Fever." His acting and amazing dance routines were over the top. He left the TV character Vinnie Barbarino in the dust. His role helped define the disco era and defined him as a superstar and iconic dancer. It even led legendary dancer Fred Astaire to proclaim that John had "it." After "Saturday Night Fever," John had a few more hits with "Grease (1978) and Urban Cowboy (1980). It wasn't until Quentin Tarentino resurrected his career after a lull with 1994's "Pulp Fiction that John's career came back to stay. John said of Tarantino: "There were people who were much hotter than me who wanted the role...but Quentin put his career on the line and refused to make the move without me in it." "Get Shorty" and "Be Cool" quickly followed and it escalated from there. John has been married to actress/wife Kelly Preston since 1991. They are the parents of Ella Bleu and Benjamin. Their son Jett died at age 16 after suffering a seizure. John's earlier love life included a relationship with "Taxi" actress Marilu Henner. He had a great romance with the late actress Diana Hyland. He met her during the filming of "the Boy in the Plastic Bubble" back in 1976. A year later they started dating. She was 18 years his senior. Hyland was diagnosed with breast cancer. 22 year-old Travolta was with Diana in her final moments before she passed away at age 41. Her death tore him apart. There have been rumors that John Travolta is gay but he dismisses all of them. 

"This is every celebrity's Achilles heel," he said. "It's just about people wanting money. That's all. It happens on many levels."
John is a member of the controversial Church of Scientology along with actor Tom Cruise. He became affiliated with the group 41 years ago and credits it with helping him deal with son Jett's death. His biggest passion is flying. Flying is oxygen to Travolta. He earned his private pilot’s license at age 22. John holds 11 jet type ratings and is Quantas Airways' Goodwill Ambassador. His home in Ocala, Florida is located in a fly-in community. He has a taxiway right to his door, where he parks his Boeing 707-138 so he can keep an eye on his planes from his living room. Sylvester Sylvester “Sly” Stallone was born July 6, 1946 in New York City. Before he established himself as one of Hollywood’s biggest action stars, he was a struggling kid dealing with an unhappy home life with battling parents. While his looks worked as a boxer in “Rocky.”he once admitted in an interview: “ I’m not handsome in the classical sense. The eyes droop, the mouth is crooked, the teeth aren’t straight, the voice sounds like a Mafioso pallbearer, but somehow it all works.” Persistence was the word for the young Sylvester who moved to Philadelphia with his mother and stepfather. He attended a special high school for troubled youth after after graduation, got himself into college at the American College in Switzerland to study drama. Later, he attended the University of Miami. His odd jobs to put food on the table included cleaning lions’ cages at Central Park Zoo and even an appearance in an adult film. Things were starting to look better in 1974 when he married first wife Sasha Czack and landed a role in the independent film “The Lords of Flatbush” with other unknowns such as Henry Winkler and Perry King. Sly wrote a screenplay on his kitchen table about a struggling boxer and tried to sell the script for years. The dangler was that he would get to star in it. Finally, in 1976 “Rocky” was released and earned 10 Academy Awards including “Best Picture”. Rocky Balboa and later Vietnam Vet character John Rambo would turn into a franchise operation. The action films had sequel after sequel-all successful.  As late as 2015, Stallone was nominated for an Oscar for the revival of Rocky Balboa in “Creed.” Stallone’s first marriage to Sasha ended in divorce. They had two children. Son Sage died in July 2012. He was found dead in his LA home. Seth is their second son. Actress/Model Brigitte Nielsen was married to Sly from 1985 to 1987. Both have said the marriage was a big mistake. Sylvester's current wife is model Jennifer Flavin. They have three strikingly beautiful daughters: Sophia, Sistene and Scarlet and were married in 1997. Links: The Book: The Podcast on iTunes: Hear, rate and review the Podcast in iTunes! The site: