World Cup fever: Travolta jets in to support the Socceroos

2010-06-11 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — “Thursday Morning Fever” struck at Lanseria Airport yesterday when John Travolta flew in at the controls of his Qantas Boeing 707.

The actor, known for his starring roles in films Grease, Saturday Night Fever and Face/Off, has come to South Africa accompanied by his family to support the Australian football team, the Socceroos, at the World Cup. Although Travolta (56) is American, he has been an ambassador for the Australian airline since 2002.

Apart from acting, Travolta has a passion for aviation and has more than 6 000 hours’ experience as a pilot to his name.

Onlookers at Lanseria excitedly waved at the actor, who was clad in his full pilot uniform. The flight began in Buenos Aires and passed through Rio de Janeiro. He was with his wife, actress Kelly Preston, and their daughter Ella.

It was Preston’s (47) first public appearance since she announced three weeks ago that she is expecting the couple’s third child. Their son, Jett (16), died last year at their holiday home in the Bahamas after an epileptic seizure.

This is Travolta’s sixth visit to South Africa. He says he is crazy about the country and its animals. “I especially like the big cats. I once saw a tame leopard and was astounded.

“I had these chills … They’re multiplying!” he joked, referring to the famous Grease hit You’re the one that I want.

Travolta said he had promised to support the Socceroos at the World Cup in 2006. “At the time, however, it wasn’t possible, so I’m here now to keep that promise.”

He said he played football at school. “If I were to play in a team today, I would obviously play goalkeeper. I’m big enough for the position!”

Travolta will only be in the country for five days. He will attend the Australian team’s training session today, and tomorrow he will attend a Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund function in Saxonwold.

On Sunday, he will support the Socceroos in Durban when they play Germany. The actor said yesterday he has heard of the Diski Dance. “I hope there is someone in South Africa who will do it with me!”

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