Ellen Travolta had a wish. John Travolta’s older sister always wanted to appear in a Hallmark Channel Christmas movie, no matter how small the role, so her brother made a few calls and the next thing you know, Lacey Chabert came knocking. Ellen’s wish came true after landing a role in Chabert’s new Countdown to Christmas movie, Haul Out the Holly.
John Travolta posted a photo of his sister in the Hallmark movie on his Instagram stories with a touching caption: “My sister Ellen always wanted to be in a Hallmark Christmas movie and had so much fun making it!”
Ellen said that the role came about after a conversation she had with her brother. She told The Spokesman-Review that the feel-good movies were a great comfort to her after her husband, Jack Bannon, passed away in 2017.
She was on a trip with her brother when she told him how much she loved Hallmark’s holiday movies. “I was away with John in Austria and all I did was talk about being on Hallmark,” she said. “So when we got back, he called his agent and asked, ‘What do we have to do to get Ellen in a Hallmark movie? All she wants is one line.”
Thanks to her brother’s connections, it wasn’t long before the perfect opportunity came about with a role in Chabert’s new movie.
Haul Out the Holly debuted on Thanksgiving weekend and is the story of Emily (Chabert) who moves home to Evergreen Lane for the holidays after a tough break-up. When her parents leave on a trip, she’s left to fend for herself in the neighborhood homeowner’s association Christmas festivities. Wes Brown plays Jared, Emily’s childhood friend and the new head of the HOA, who starts citing Emily when her decorations don’t meet the neighborhood standards. Ellen plays Mary Louise, one of Emily’s neighbors, who is on the planning and decorating committee.
Though John might have more name recognition, Ellen has enjoyed a busy career that includes a mix of theater, TV and movies. Her television credits include roles in Welcome Back Kotter, Happy Days, Joanie Loves Chachi, The Love Boat, Charles in Charge, Passions and General Hospital. The Carnegie Mellon graduate started her career in the Broadway and National Theater production of Gypsy with the legendary Ethel Merman.
You can check out Haul Out the Holly on Hallmark Channel On Demand or through a Peacock Premium subscription.
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Sarabeth joined the What to Watch team in May 2022. An avid TV and movie fan, her perennial favorites are The Walking Dead, American Horror Story, true crime documentaries on Netflix and anything from Passionflix. You’ve Got Mail, Ocean's Eleven and Signs are movies that she can watch all day long. She's also a huge baseball fan, and hockey is a new favorite.
When she's not working, Sarabeth hosts the My Nights Are Booked Podcast and a blog dedicated to books and interviews with authors and actors. She also published her first novel, Once Upon an Interview, in 2022.