Childhood & Early Life
Ellen Travolta was born on October 6, 1939, in Englewood, New Jersey. Her father, Salvatore Travolta, was a semi-professional football player. Later, he owned a franchise for the sales of tires. Her mother, Helen Cecilia Travolta, was an actress and singer. She performed with the group, ‘The Sunshine Sisters.’ Helen Travolta was a drama coach too.
Travolta has five younger siblings. They are John, Joey, Sam, Margaret, and Ann. Due to the influence of their mother, most of the Travolta siblings are in the field of acting. Ellen Travolta attended the ‘Dwight Morrow High School,’ in Englewood, for her early education. Later, she attended the ‘Carnegie Mellon University,’ in Pittsburgh.
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One of Travolta’s earliest performances was in 1974, when she appeared as ‘Louisa Arcola-Delvecchio,’ in the TV series, ‘Happy Days,’ which was aired on the ‘ABC’ network. She performed in five episodes, from seasons 8 to 11. Her character was the mother of ‘Chachi Arcola,’ the character performed by Scott Baio. She reprised the character in the spin-off of the series, which was named ‘Joanie Loves Chachi.’ This too was aired on the ‘ABC’ network, from March 1982, to May 1983.
In 1976, Ellen Travolta appeared as a secretary, in the sitcom, ‘All in the Family.’ In 1977, she was seen in series such as ‘Visions,’ ‘What’s Happening!!’ and ‘Police Story.’ In 1978, she performed as ‘Mrs. Shaddock,’ in the TV series, ‘One Day at a Time.’ In the same year, Travolta was seen as ‘Rouillard,’ in the TV movie, ‘Are You in the House Alone?’ It was a horror movie based on the novel of the same name.
From 1977 to 1978, Travolta performed as ‘Mrs. Horshack-O’Hara,’ in the TV series, ‘Welcome Back, Kotter.’ In the series, John Travolta played a major role, ‘Vinnie Barbarino.’ In 1979, Travolta appeared as ‘Marion Keisker,’ in the movie, ‘Elvis.’ It was a biographical movie based on the life of famous singer, Elvis Presley. Marion Keisker was a radio show host, and is remembered for being the first person to record Elvis Presley.
In 1980, Travolta performed as ‘Myra Kimberly,’ in the TV series, ‘The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo.’ In the same year, she was seen in the series, ‘Three’s Company,’ and ‘Number 96.’ In 1986, Travolta performed as ‘Marion,’ in the TV movie, ‘Circle of Violence: A Family Drama.’
From 1987 to 1990, Travolta performed in the TV series, ‘Charles in Charge.’ She portrayed ‘Lilian,’ who was the mother of the protagonist, ‘Charles,’ played by Scott Baio. Travolta played the parts of ‘Lilian’s’ sisters, ‘Sally,’ and ‘Vanessa’ too. The series told the story of ‘Charles,’ who struggled with his job as the caretaker of three kids. His mother played a pivotal role in his life. The series was originally telecast on the ‘CBS’ network, in 1984. Ellen Travolta was not a part of the series at the time. In 1985, the series was cancelled. In 1987, ‘Universal Television’ gave a new life to the series. It was aired again, with major changes in the cast. Travolta appeared in the new series.
In 1997, Travolta performed as ‘Mrs. Cordova,’ in the sitcom, ‘The Single Guy.’ In the same year, she was seen in the series, ‘The Pretender.’ In 1999, Travolta played small roles in series such as ‘The Basket,’ and ‘Passions.’ In 2002, she appeared as a lawyer, in the legal drama series, ‘Judging Amy.’
In 2006, Ellen Travolta performed as ‘Ida,’ in the crime thriller movie, ‘Lonely Hearts.’ The movie had her brother, John Travolta, in the lead role. In the same year, she made a minor appearance as a gossipy woman, in the movie, ‘Waitin’ to Live,’ It was directed by her brother, Joey Travolta. Travolta’s latest appearance was as ‘Hope,’ in the movie, ‘The Untold Story,’ which was released in January 2019.
Travolta is a supporter of the ‘Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre.’ In 2012, she appeared in a production of the musical, ‘Hello, Dolly!’ by the Theater. In this, she performed alongside her husband, sister, and daughter. Travolta has established the ‘Helen Burke Travolta Memorial’ fund, in honor of her mother, the proceeds of which are used for the benefit of the Theatre.