Terrible news. Model/actress Kelly Preston has died at the age of 57 after a private 2-year battle with breast cancer.
The actress appeared in more than sixty television and film productions, most notably Mischief (1985), Twins (1988), and Jerry Maguire (1996) and Sky High. Preston also appeared alongside husband John Travolta in Battlefield Earth.
“It is with a very heavy heart that I inform you that my beautiful wife Kelly has lost her two-year battle with breast cancer,” husband John Travolta posted on Instagram. “She fought a courageous fight with the love and support of so many. My family and I will forever be grateful to her doctors and nurses at MD Anderson Cancer Center, all the medical centers that have helped, as well as her many friends and loved ones who have been by her side.”
A family representative confirmed the sad news to People, revealing that Preston passed away on the morning of July 12th. Travolta then shared the following Instagram post, paying tribute to his late wife.
Kelly Kamalelehua Smith (the middle name “Kamalelehua” means ‘garden of lehuas’ in Hawaiian – a lehua being a well-known Hawaiian flower) was born in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Her mother, Linda, was an administrator of a mental health center. Her father, who worked for an agricultural firm, drowned when Preston was three years old.
Her mother subsequently married Peter Palzis, a personnel director. He adopted Preston, and she used his name at the start of her acting career. She also had a younger half-brother, Chris Palzis.
As a child, Preston lived in Iraq, and also Australia, where she attended Pembroke School in Adelaide. She then attended Punahou School in Honolulu, and studied drama and theater at the University of Southern California.
ALSO READ: Nick Cordero, Broadway star, dead at 41
While living in Australia, she was discovered at 16 by a fashion photographer who helped her get work in commercials and other small parts. He arranged her first film audition for the role of Emmeline in The Blue Lagoon (1980), which she lost to the younger Brooke Shields. At that time she changed her last name to Preston.
Her first prominent film roles came in 1985—first as Marilyn McCauley in romantic comedy Mischief; then as the beautiful but shallow Deborah Ann Fimple in another teen romantic comedy, Secret Admirer.
Preston would solidify her position as a star by appearing in SpaceCamp (1986), Twins (1988) with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito, and in Jerry Maguire (1996) with Tom Cruise.
Preston first met Travolta in 1987 while filming The Experts. They married in 1991, traveling to Paris on an Air France Concorde for a wedding ceremony at the Hotel de Crillon (on the Place de la Concorde) on September 5, 1991.
Peers pay tribute on Twitter
From former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to Tom Hanks’ wife Rita Wilson, others are now paying tribute to the actress on social media. Here’s a sampling below;
Preston is survived by her husband and their children, 20-year-old Ella and 9-year-old Benjamin. Their son Jett tragically died in 2009 at the age of 16 following a seizure.
Reel 360’s thoughts go out to Kelly’s friends and family during this difficult time.