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SYFY WIRE obituary

Kelly Preston, Christine and Battlefield Earth actress, dies at 57

By Josh Weiss
Kelly Preston

Kelly Preston, the veteran actress known for roles in Christine, Battlefield Earth, and Sky High, has died at the age of 57 after a two-year battle with breast cancer. The sad news was confirmed on Instagram in a heartfelt post by Preston's husband, John Travolta.

"She fought a courageous fight with the love and support of so many," the actor wrote. "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. Kelly’s love and life will always be remembered. I will be taking some time to be there for my children who have lost their mother, so forgive me in advance if you don’t hear from us for a while.  But please know that I will feel your outpouring of love in the weeks and months ahead as we heal."

Preston and Travolta's daughter, Ella, made her own post, writing:

"I have never met anyone as courageous, strong, beautiful and loving as you. Anyone who is lucky enough to have known you or to have ever been in your presence will agree that you have a glow and a light that never ceases to shine and that makes anyone around you feel instantly happy. Thank you for being there for me no matter what. Thank you for your love. Thank you for your help and thank you for making this world a better place. You have made life so beautiful and I know you will continue to do so always. I love you so much, mama."

Born Kelly Kamalelehua Smith in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1962, Preston began her acting career in the early 1980s with a slew of television roles across series like Hawaii Five-O and CHiPs. One of her first forays into film was as Roseanne in John Carpenter's 1983 adaptation of Stephen King's Christine.

From there, she went on to appear in Tales From the Crypt (the 1990 episode "The Switch," which was directed by Arnold Schwarzenegger), From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), Jack Frost (1998), and The Cat in the Hat (2003). In addition, she starred opposite Kurt Russell as Josie Stronghold/Jetstream in Disney's oft-forgotten Sky High (2005). Directed by Mike Mitchell, it put a fun little twist on comic book tropes with a story about a high school for budding superheroes and sidekicks.

"I thought it was such a unique concept to play parents, who happen to be superheroes and have a son who is going through puberty and starting high school," Preston remarked in an interview about Sky High. "I thought that the messages in this movie were so great. We all went through those high school experiences through the teenage years, having to find out where we fit in. We experienced the cliques, the attempts to make the right decisions, how to keep our integrity. The film examines friendship. Will your friends still love you even if you make mistakes? One of the messages is that anybody can be a hero and this film is full of great messages."

Preston met Travolta on the set of 1987's The Experts, and the two would marry in 1991. The two co-starred in 2000's Battlefield Earth, from director Roger Christian. A passion project of Travolta's, the movie (based on the novel by L. Ron Hubbard) was a major flop.

Aside from Travolta and Ella, Preston is survived by her son, Benjamin. Her first son, Jett, passed away in 2009.

(certain info via Variety & IMDB)

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