Welcome Back: Travolta takes first starring TV gig since 'Kotter'

Wed Jan 7, 2015 5:16pm EST
 
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - John Travolta will be returning to television in a starring role for the first time since 1970s comedy "Welcome Back, Kotter" in a miniseries about the murder trial of football star O.J. Simpson, U.S. cable network FX said on Wednesday.

Travolta, 60, will play Simpson's defense attorney Robert Shapiro in "American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson" which will tell the story of the celebrated 1994-95 trial from the lawyers' perspective.

"Welcome Back, Kotter," in which Travolta played the cocky high school student Vinnie Barbarino, helped launch his film career with 1970s classics "Saturday Night Fever" and "Grease."

Simpson's televised trial and acquittal on charges of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman in Los Angeles gripped Americans with its mixture of celebrity and race relations.

Oscar-winner Cuba Gooding Jr will play Simpson while David Schwimmer will portray his attorney and friend Robert Kardashian, the late father of the reality TV stars.

"American Horror Story" actress Sarah Paulson will play prosecutor Marcia Clark.

The 10-episode miniseries is based on the Jeffrey Toobin's book "The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson." It is the first series under FX's "American Crime Story" banner that will anthologize true crime stories.

FX, a unit of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc, has not announced when the series will premiere.

(Reporting by Eric Kelsey; editing by Patricia Reaney and Christian Plumb)

 
Cast member John Travolta waves upon arrival for the "The Forger" gala during the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in Toronto, in this file photo taken September 12, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch/Files