His father was of Italian descent and his mother was of Irish ancestry.
John Joseph Travolta was born on February 18, 1954, in Englewood, New Jersey. The youngest of six children born into a family of entertainers, he grew up in an Irish-American neighbourhood and has said that his household was predominantly Irish in culture. His father, Salvatore Travolta, was a semi-professional American football player turned tire salesman and partner in a tire company. His mother, Helen Cecilia (née Burke), 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 siblings, Joey, Ellen, Ann, Margaret, and Sam Travolta, have all acted.