Joey Travolta

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Joey Travolta
Joey Travolta 2018.jpg
Travolta in 2018
Joseph Allen Travolta

(1950-10-14) October 14, 1950 (age 72)
  • Actor
  • singer
  • producer
  • director
  • writer
Years active1979–present
Wendy Shawn
(m. 1980)
Relatives John Travolta (brother)
Ellen Travolta (sister)
Margaret Travolta (sister)

Joseph Allen Travolta (born October 14, 1950) is an American actor, singer, producer, director and screenwriter. [1] He is the older brother of actor John Travolta. [1]


Early life

Travolta was born and raised in Englewood, New Jersey, a nearby suburb of New York City, where he attended Dwight Morrow High School. [2] His father, Salvatore Travolta, was a semi-professional football player turned tire salesman and partner in a tire company. [3] His mother, Helen Cecilia (née Burke; 1912–1978), was an actress and singer who had appeared in The Sunshine Sisters, a radio vocal group, and acted and directed before becoming a high school drama and English teacher. His father was a second-generation Italian American and his mother was Irish American. [4] He is one of six children including actors John Travolta, Ellen Travolta and Margaret Travolta. [5]

He graduated from Paterson State College with a degree in special education in 1974. [6] [7]


Travolta began a singing career in 1978 as a recording artist on Casablanca Records, releasing his eponymous album. The following year he made his acting debut starring in the feature film Sunnyside for Filmways Productions. He then became a guest star in the 1980s television show Simon & Simon (episode: "The Hottest Ticket in Town").[ citation needed ]

Additional acting credits include work with director John Landis on multiple feature film projects: Amazon Women on the Moon (1987), Beverly Hills Cop III (1994), Oscar (1991), and Susan's Plan (1998). He was also a series regular on the WB television hit Movie Stars (1999).[ citation needed ]

Stage performances include starring roles in Bye Bye Birdie , Guys and Dolls , and West Side Story . He wrote and directed Diva Las Vegas in 1989, which went on to win the Italian Funny Film Festival.[ citation needed ]

In 1991, Joey Travolta produced and starred in Da Vinci's War. He later produced and starred in the sequel, To the Limit (1995). He made directing his main priority in 1994. He directed the action thrillers Hard Vice (1994) and Navajo Blues (1996). Subsequent titles include Earth Minus Zero (1996), Laws of Deception (1997), Detour (1999), Mel (1996), Partners (2000), Enemies of Laughter (2000), and Waiting to Live (2002).[ citation needed ]

For television audiences he directed the police drama L.A. Heat (1999), Friday Night After the Movies (2010), and the syndicated Disney series Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: The TV Show (2007). He has directed music videos as well such as Aqua's Doctor Jones and Latvia's entry, in Eurovision Song Contest 2008, Pirates of the Sea .[ citation needed ]

Disability advocate

Travolta has worked as a special education teacher in New Jersey. In 2005, he produced a documentary film called Normal People Scare Me, directed by a 15 old boy with autism whom he mentored. [8] Around this time, he founded Inclusion Films, which involve individuals with special needs in the process of making films. [9] [10]

He has collaborated with a non-profit organization called HEAL to form a Jacksonville, Florida based HEAL Film Camp with Joey Travolta. [11]

In 2019, Travolta directed Carol of the Bells for Inclusion Films starring R.J. Mitte as an adoptee who discovers his biological mother has Down Syndrome. 70% of the crew had developmental disabilities. [12] The film won the Audience Award for Best Feature at the 2019 San Diego International Film Festival. [13] His next feature film titled Let's Work premiered at SDIFF in the documentary competition in October 2020. [14]

Personal life

Travolta is married to Wendy Shawn [15] (daughter of comedian Dick Shawn) [16] and they have one daughter, Rachel.

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  1. 1 2 McCarthy, Dennis (April 1, 2004). "Autistic kids let us into their world". Daily News of Los Angeles . p. N3.
  2. via United Press International. "Joey Travolta: you-know-who's brother", Eugene Register-Guard , June 7, 1979. Accessed August 27, 2018. "Joey's first appearance was on stage at Dwight Morrow (N.J.) high school, where his late mother directed school plays and musicals."
  3. "John Travolta Biography (1954–)". Film Reference. Retrieved August 26, 2009.
  4. "Begorrah!! Travolta's Irish..." Showbiz Ireland. January 7, 2007. Retrieved July 17, 2007.
  5. Pearce, Garth (July 15, 2007). "On the move: John Travolta". Times Online. Retrieved July 17, 2007.
  6. Profile,; accessed October 27, 2017.
  7. "Joey Travolta '74 Recognized by Autism Light". WP: THE MAGAZINE OF WILLIAM PATERSON UNIVERSITY. Fall 2015. Retrieved March 3, 2022.
  8. "Team". Inclusion Films. Retrieved October 27, 2020.
  9. "Inclusion Films". Inclusion Films. Retrieved November 6, 2019.
  10. "ASD Film Camp". Retrieved November 6, 2019.
  11. Scanlan, Dan. "Filmmaking camp puts kids with autism in spotlight". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved September 29, 2020.
  12. "Joey Travolta's Inclusion Films to release Carol of the Bells next month -". McKinnon Broadcasting. February 19, 2020. Retrieved October 27, 2020.
  13. "The San Diego International Film Festival Announces Their 2019 Film Award Winners". Broadway World. Retrieved November 6, 2019.
  14. "The Re-Imagined 2020 San Diego International Film Festival Announces Festival to Feature Virtual Village & Drive-In Movies! | San Diego International Film Festival". September 23, 2020. Retrieved September 29, 2020.
  15. "World's Best Joey Travolta Wendy Shawn Wedding Reception Stock Pictures, Photos, and Images - Getty Images". Retrieved November 5, 2019.
  16. "No Headline (Published 1987)". The New York Times. AP. April 19, 1987. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved October 27, 2020.