Known for his iconic roles in films such as “Saturday Night Fever,” “Pulp Fiction,” and “Grease,” Hollywood star John Travolta made his first-ever visit to Saudi Arabia on Friday and gave adoring fans across the Kingdom a glimpse into his life and decades-long career.
The 63-year-old actor, singer, writer, producer, and father of three hosted a three-hour talk show at the Apex Exhibition and Conference Center in Riyadh, part of “A Night with Travolta” organized by the Saudi Entertainment Authority. The following day, he attended a gala dinner and press conference.
Travolta, who was welcomed on stage with excitement and applause from the audience, talked about his journey as an actor, his path to fame, and the secrets of Hollywood. His two thousand fans in attendance were excited to hear about the actor’s outstanding journey, which has seen him in 45 films to date. Travolta also dedicated time to taking questions from the audience during the event.
Speaking to the audience, the Golden Globe winner and Oscar nominee said, “I have been completely touched by the warmth and embracing nature of everyone since I’ve arrived […] When I heard the amazing coincidence being invited to Saudi Arabia and cinema being back, I felt privileged to be here to celebrate a new era!”
“It’s important to give but it’s also important to accept love and care for yourself,” he added. “The only people that cheated on their dreams are the people that gave up on them.”
According to Al Arabiya, Travolta also spent the two days in the Kingdom visiting the most famous tourist, heritage, and entertainment attractions in Riyadh.
In Saudi Arabia during the same period was American hip hop artist and Grammy winner Nelly, who gave a concert on Thursday in Jeddah.
“It's amazing to have your music transcend and be accepted globally, not just by where you come from but also by people who have never met you or seen you before,” said the 42-year-old singer to reporters before his performance. “This experience is probably bigger for me than it is for you guys, so it feels great to be here.”
Travolta’s and Nelly’s visits come at a time when Saudi Arabia is undergoing a period of “modernization,” part of its post-oil economy strategy, Vision 2030, led by Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman.