Happy 60th birthday to John Travolta

Image: John Travolta Etienne Laurent / EPA file
John Travolta in France in September.

John Travolta played a couple of the more memorable high-school aged roles in film and television. But the actor and his career were a long way from Vinny Barbarino and Danny Zuko as he marked his 60th birthday on Tuesday.

Whether "Grease" was your thing or "Welcome Back Kotter," Travolta had already attracted a major fan base in the disco-crazed 1970s with his role as Tony Manero in "Saturday Night Fever." It's impossible to hear the Bee Gees 35 years later and not picture Travolta strutting down the street or across the dance floor in that film — and on his way to an Academy Award nomination.

After "Urban Cowboy" scratched another decade's itch with a film about trendy cowboy bars and mechanical bull riding, Travolta seemingly fell off the radar for a period ... known as the rest of the '80s.

Quentin Tarantino did us all a favor and reminded us what a great actor with great material could really do on the big screen, and Travolta secured another Oscar nomination, this time as Vincent Vega in 1994's "Pulp Fiction." He followed that with more critical acclaim as loan shark Chili Palmer in 1995's "Get Shorty."

We'll leave "Battlefield Earth" and "Wild Hogs" for future generations to debate. In the meantime, let's just wish Travolta a happy 60th, and remind Tarantino to give him another call. Or, perhaps even better, let's hope the keepers of the James Bond franchise take him seriously on his one career wish.

"I would love to be a villain to Daniel Craig’s hero. I hope it will happen," Travolta said Sunday during an appearance in London. "It’s the first time I’ve ever asked for a role, but I bumped into Barbara Broccoli at the Oscars last year and she offered it to me — mind you we’d both had a few drinks!"

While we wait for that, take a look back on Travolta's life and career in our slideshow.

John Travolta has the right moves

MTV TRL Presents John Travolta
Scott Gries

From his dancing days in “Saturday Night Fever” to his dramatic turns in “Primary Colors” and “Face/Off,” this actor thrives on versatility.


Join the TODAY Food Club NOW for a chance to win the Ultimate Cookware Giveaway.