John Travolta ‘Thought It Was Over’ Following A Near-Death Experience Decades Ago

Dec 01, 2023 by apost team

John Travolta has been an icon and is considered one of the pillars of Hollywood thanks to his decades-long career and contributions to the entertainment industry. Born in Englewood, New Jersey, the actor was the youngest of six children.

His career began after he dropped out of school as he moved to New York City to pursue acting. His first role came in the touring company of the famed musical “Grease,” and he later appeared on Broadway in the show “Over Here!

To amass more success in his career, he moved to Los Angeles, California, where the big studios are located. He was able to snag his first TV role in the series “Emergency!

Travolta really supercharged his career after landing his role as Vinnie Barbarino in “Welcome Back, Kotter.” The television show cemented the young actor’s place as a teenage heartthrob, and soon enough, the actor had no problem landing big parts in feature-length films, with appearances in horror films like “The Devil’s Rain” and “Carrie.”

Later on, he appeared in massive movies like “Saturday Night Fever” which made him popular in the international scene. At the age of 24, he received his first nomination at the Academy Awards, and he was considered to be one of the youngest actors ever to be nominated for a Best Actor award at the prestigious event.

Aside from that, people from all around the world also loved him as Danny Zuko in the film adaptation of “Grease” along with the late Olivia Newton-John.

His career was not all glitz and glamor, as he also experienced a near-death experience that happened decades ago. Read on below to find out what happened. 

John Travolta (1978), (Paramount Pictures/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)

John Travolta appears in a short film titled “The Shepherd” in 2023, produced by Alfonso Cuarón. Prior to the release of the project on Disney+, the actor recalled one specific incident that made him relate to the story of the movie.

According to an article published by Variety in November 2023, the film was based on the book “The Shepherd” by Frederick Forstyh, which was released in 1975. The story revolves around a Royal Air Force pilot flying home for the holidays.

However, as he was flying over the North Sea, his aircraft suffered a total electrical failure, which left him almost dead. Fortunately, a mysterious pilot appeared and helped him get out of the tragic situation.

The lead character, Fred Hooke, was played by Ben Radcliffe, while Travolta played the pilot who helped him.

During the Thanksgiving festivities of 2023, Travolta opted not to celebrate the traditional holiday, but rather, he attended the intimate premiere night of the movie in London, the United Kingdom. It was his first time watching the film.

For those who didn’t know, Travolta is not only a talented actor and singer but also a licensed pilot. He recalled one shocking incident that happened in 1992, which he considered a near-death experience as he thought he was going to die.

At the time, the actor said he experienced almost the same thing as what the lead character endured in the story.

“I actually experienced a total electrical failure, not in a Vampire but in a corporate jet over Washington D.C.,” he told the audience.

John Travolta (2019), (Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images)

Travolta further discussed that when he read Forsyth’s book, the story resonated with him because of the personal experience he had.

It was also Thanksgiving season when it happened to him, as the outlet noted that at the time of the incident, he flew a Gulfstream II from Florida to Maine.

“I knew what it felt like to absolutely think you’re going to die… I had two good jet engines but I had no instruments, no electric, nothing. And I thought it was over,” he added. By losing all the electrical instruments, Travolta was basically flying blind, unable to see the flight paths of other plans or communicate his own flight path to them or airports, as well as unable to land, as he had no way of finding a safe landing space.

Fortunately, a miracle happened, as he explained, as the aircraft “descended as per the rules to a lower altitude.” He saw the Washington D.C. monument appear and knew that the Washington National Airport was right next to it.

He was able to approach and land safely despite the many dangers of flying blind and without communications.

Later on, Travolta commended Radcliffe for his portrayal of the character as he was able to capture the “despair” of a person who thinks he’s really going to die.

“I had my family on board and I said ‘This is it, I can’t believe I’m gonna die in this plane,’” the actor said.

According to an article published by the Washington Post in 1995, Travolta was 38 years old at the time, and his friends and family were onboard the aircraft for them to celebrate Thanksgiving at their island vacation home in Florida. 

Coincidentally, the premiere night in London was almost the anniversary of the incident, which happened on Nov. 24, 1992.

Although they were able to land safely, the tires blew, but thankfully, no one was hurt or injured at the time.

Kelly Preston, John Travolta, Ella Bleu Travolta, Benjamin Travolta (2018), (Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

What do you think of John Travolta’s near-death experience? What would you do if you were in a similar situation? Let us know your thoughts, and make sure to pass this on to your friends and family.

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