When you hear the name ‘Travolta’, the immediate association might be with the iconic John Travolta, known for his suave dance moves and memorable roles.
However, the Travolta family boasts another equally talented member who has graced the screens with her presence – Ellen Travolta.
Often overshadowed by her younger brother’s immense fame, Ellen’s journey in the entertainment industry is a testament to her talent, perseverance, and the legacy of the Travolta name.
Join us as we delve into the life and illustrious career of Ellen Travolta, exploring her early days, iconic roles, and the mark she’s left on Hollywood.
Ellen M. Travolta was born on October 6th, 1939, in Englewood, New Jersey. Ellen Travolta is an actress known for theater and tv work on shows like Happy Days, Joanie Loves Chachi, and Charles in Charge. She is also the older sister of actor John Travolta.
She attended Dwight Morrow High School in Englewood, New Jersey, and later Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Who is her mother?
Ellen Travolta’s mother was Helen Travolta. She was born on January 18th, 1912, in New Jersey. Helen Travolta was born Helen Cecilia Burke and was the daughter of Mary Ellen Murphy and Charles Fredrick Burke. She would take the name Travolta when she married Salvatore Joseph Travolta Jr. in 1936.
Ellen mentioned on a podcast that her mother was the catalyst for getting her entire family in the movie business.
She thought it was the best thing. I had a friend named Cedric. And I said, you know, Mama, Cedric is going to be a doctor. She said, that’s fine, honey, but it’s not as good as an actor.
But she was so enamored with it and she loved it. In fact, instead of reading stories to us at night, she read plays.
Helen’s film career was brief, only appearing in the film Saturday Night Fever in 1977 for a brief cameo. On December 3, 1978, she passed away in Los Angeles, California.
Who is her father?
Ellen Travolta’s father was Salvatore Joseph Travolta Jr. Salvatore was born on November 9th, 1912, in Hillsdale, New Jersey. Salvatore Travolta was a semi-professional football player but eventually became a salesman and partner in a tire shop franchise.
Salvatore Travolta passed away on May 29th, 1995, at 82 in Englewood, New Jersey.
Who are her siblings?
Ellen Travolta has three younger siblings. The eldest is Joey Travolta. The next eldest is Margaret Travolta. Then there is Sam, then Ann. Lastly is the youngest Travolta sibling, John.
Is Ellen Travolta related to John Travolta?
Ellen Travolta is indeed related to famous Hollywood actor John Travolta. She is his eldest sister and has appeared in projects with her famous younger brother.
What projects has Ellen Travolta been in?
Ellen Travolta has continued working steadily from 1975 to 2019. She mostly works in television but has appeared in films. She is best known for her work in Happy Days from 1981 to 1984 as Louisa Arcola and the spinoff Joanie Loves Chachi from 1982 to 1983, where she played the same character.
Her most significant television role was in Charles In Charge from 1987 to 1990. She played the character of Lillian, who was a series recurring character in season two, and who was bumped to main in seasons three, four, and five.
She has appeared with her younger brother John Travolta in a couple of projects, most notably the television sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter from 1977 to 1978 as Mrs. Horshack-O’Hara, and a waitress in the musical film Grease in 1978.
What is she doing now?
These days, Ellen Travolta continues to perform at and support the Coeur d’Alene Summer Theater. A trust supports the theater in the name of Ellen’s mother, Helen.
She also assists John Travolta in working for his production company, and the two have opened a restaurant.
Ellen Travolta has married twice. Her first marriage was to James Thomas Fridley from May 1964 to June 1978. The pair ended their marriage in divorce. This marriage resulted in two children.
She would later marry Jack Bannon in April 1983. They would remain married until his death in October of 2017.
Who are her kids?
Ellen Travolta had two children with James Thomas Fridley. The eldest child, Molly, would work as a production assistant on two films. She would later change her name to Molly Ann Ritter.
Her younger brother, Tom Fridley, is an actor who is most famous for his roles as Alan in The Karate Kid (1984) and Cort in Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986). He has made appearances in a few of the movies of his uncle John, including Phenomenon in 1996 and Face/Off in 1997.
Oddly enough, an interesting chapter in her career was her frequently playing the mother to characters played by actor Scott Baio. This happened across the sitcoms Happy Days, Joanie Loves Chachi, and Charles in Charge. This relationship came to an end after 30 years in 2013. Funnily, Baio was almost like another child of Ellen Travolta.
What is her relationship like with her brother?
Ellen seems to have a very positive relationship with her younger brother, John Travolta. The two have been on a few projects together, and she seems to be working for his production company which means that he is helping to take care of his older sister.
Ellen mentioned on a podcast that growing up she had a close relationship with John and that he would follow her to the theater.
And I started in New York and I did shows when I was on the road. And actually Johnny, well, he went with me a lot when I was on the road.
When he was a little boy, before I ever had children, he traveled with me. So he was in love with show business. He truly was. He just loved it. He would sing and dance at the top of the hat.
Is Ellen Travolta a scientologist?
There is no indication that Ellen Travolta is a member of the Church of Scientology like her younger brother John Travolta. She keeps her religious views private and has not been seen involved with the controversial organization.
However, her brother John is a very important member of the Church of Scientology and, alongside Tom Cruise, is considered a public face of the organization.
Is she on social media?
There is no evidence that Ellen Travolta has a social media account. This is not surprising as she is of a generation where social media isn’t necessarily important. It is likely to protect her from overzealous fans and critics of her younger brother.
Web searchers may often confuse her for John’s daughter, Ella Travolta.