10 actors and actresses back from the brink
A look at bottomed-out A-listers who successfully re-ignited their careers
Early Success: In the mid- to late-1970s John Travolta had a successful TV show ("Welcome Back Kotter") and a string of starring roles in movies including "Carrie," "Saturday Night Fever," "Grease," and "Urban Cowboy" (that was 1980, but you get the point). He was funny, he could dance, he could sing, he could do serious as well. Plus, he had some good looks. John Travolta was super cool.
The Brink: The '80s and early '90s were not a particularly kind time to Travolta. Was it the transition from post-teen heartthrob to true adulthood? Was it turning down roles in movies he shouldn't have let go? The "Look Who's Talking" franchise may have been successful, but it was not cool and we still haven't managed to unsee "Look Who's Talking Now."
The Comeback: In 1994, Travolta appeared in Quentin Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction." The film was hugely successful and Travolta was great in it. He danced, he joked, and he got super bloody. He also got an Academy Award nomination and instantly got his cool back.
Did it take: For a while it certainly did. Travolta had a string of movies that were some combination of critical and/or box office successes including "Get Shorty," "Primary Colors," and "Face/Off." Since 2000, it isn't that Travolta hasn't headlined a lot of movies, it's just that the cool thing has dwindled and a lot of the movies haven't been very good. It would be possible to construct a "yes" argument, but we're going with "no" and look forward to seeing the "Old Dogs" star get his cool back once more.