Who Is Tom Cruise?
Tom Cruise is an American actor known for his roles in iconic films throughout the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, as well as his high profile marriages to actresses Nicole Kidman and Katie Holmes. After developing an interest in acting during high school, he rocketed to fame with his star turns in Risky Business and Top Gun. Cruise later earned acclaim for his work in the hit film Jerry Maguire and the Mission: Impossible franchise.
Thomas Cruise Mapother IV, better known as Tom Cruise, was born on July 3, 1962, in Syracuse, New York, to Mary and Thomas Mapother. Cruise's mother was an amateur actress and schoolteacher, and his father was an electrical engineer. His family moved around a great deal when Cruise was a child to accommodate his father's career.
Cruise's parents divorced when he was 11, and the children moved with their mother to Louisville, Kentucky, and then to Glen Ridge, New Jersey, after she remarried. Like his mother and three sisters, Cruise suffered from dyslexia, which made academic success difficult for him. He excelled in athletics, however, and considered pursuing a career in professional wrestling until a knee injury sidelined him during high school.
At age 14, Cruise enrolled in a Franciscan seminary with thoughts of becoming a priest, but he left after a year. When he was 16, a teacher encouraged him to participate in the school's production of the musical Guys and Dolls. After Cruise won the lead of Nathan Detroit, he found himself surprisingly at home on the stage, and a career was born.
'Taps,' 'The Outsiders'
Cruise set a 10-year deadline for himself in which to build an acting career. He left school and moved to New York City, struggling through audition after audition before landing an appearance in 1981's Endless Love, starring Brooke Shields. Around this same time, he snagged a small role in the military school drama Taps (1981), co-starring Sean Penn.
His role in Taps was upgraded after director Harold Becker saw Cruise's potential, and his performance caught the attention of a number of critics and filmmakers. In 1983, Cruise appeared in Francis Ford Coppola's The Outsiders, which also starred Emilio Estevez, Matt Dillon and Rob Lowe—all prominent members of a group of young actors the entertainment press dubbed the "Brat Pack." The film was not well received, but it allowed Cruise to work with an acclaimed director on a high-profile project.
His next film, Risky Business (1983), grossed $65 million. It also made Cruise a highly recognizable actor — thanks in no small part to a memorable scene of the young star dancing in his underwear.
In 1986, after a two-year hiatus, the budding actor released the big-budget fantasy film Legend, which did poorly at the box office. That same year, however, Cruise's A-list status was confirmed with the release of Top Gun, which co-starred Kelly McGillis, Anthony Edwards and Meg Ryan. The testosterone-fueled action-romance, set against the backdrop of an elite naval flight school, became the highest-grossing film of 1986.
'The Color of Money,' 'Rain Man' and 'Born on the Fourth of July'
Cruise followed the tremendous success of Top Gun with a string of both critically acclaimed and commercially successful films. He first starred in The Color of Money (1986) with co-star Paul Newman, and then went on to work with Dustin Hoffman on Rain Man (1988). Cruise's next role, as Vietnam veteran Ron Kovic in the biopic Born on the Fourth of July (1989), earned him an Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe for Best Actor.
'A Few Good Men,' 'The Firm' and 'Interview with a Vampire'
In 1992, Cruise proved once more that he could hold his own opposite a screen legend when he co-starred with Jack Nicholson in the military courtroom drama A Few Good Men. The film grossed more than $15 million its first weekend and earned Cruise a Golden Globe nomination. He continued to demonstrate his success as a leading man with The Firm (1993) and Interview with a Vampire (1994), which co-starred Brad Pitt.
'Mission: Impossible,' 'Jerry McGuire'
Next, Cruise hit the big screen with two huge hits—the $64 million blockbuster Mission: Impossible (1996), which the star also produced, and the highly acclaimed Jerry McGuire (1996), directed by Cameron Crowe. For the latter, Cruise earned a second Academy Award nomination and Golden Globe for Best Actor.
'Eyes Wide Shut,' 'Magnolia'
Cruise and then-wife Kidman spent much of 1997 and 1998 in England shooting Eyes Wide Shut, an erotic thriller that would be director Stanley Kubrick's final film. The movie came out in the summer of 1999 to mixed reviews, but that year Cruise enjoyed greater success with the release of Magnolia. His performance as a self-confident sex guru in the ensemble film earned him another Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
'Vanilla Sky,' 'The Last Samurai'
Cruise then starred in the long-awaited smash hit Mission: Impossible 2 in 2000, alongside Anthony Hopkins, Thandie Newton and Ving Rhames. In 2002, he starred in Vanilla Sky, his second collaboration with Crowe, as well as Steven Spielberg's Minority Report. The following year, Cruise traveled to Australia to shoot the $100 million war epic The Last Samurai, which earned him another Golden Globe nomination.
'War of the Worlds'
Cruise proved he remained a top draw by starring in the Spielberg-directed remake of the science-fiction classic War of the Worlds (2005), which grossed more than $230 million at the box office.
His next effort, Mission: Impossible 3 (2006), also scored well with audiences. However, Cruise was faced with a professional setback in August when Paramount Pictures ended its 14-year relationship with the actor. The company's chairman cited Cruise's erratic behavior and controversial views as the reason for the split, though industry experts noted that Paramount more likely ended the partnership over Cruise's high earnings from the Mission: Impossible franchise.
Cruise quickly rebounded and on November 2, 2006, he announced his new partnership with film executive Paula Wagner and the United Artists film studio. Their first production as a team, the political drama Lions for Lambs (2007), proved a commercial disappointment despite a strong cast that included Meryl Streep and Robert Redford.
Taking a break from weighty material, Cruise delighted audiences with his performance in the comedy Tropic Thunder (2008). Despite his relatively small role in a movie that featured Robert Downey Jr. and Ben Stiller, Cruise stood out by obscuring his trademark good looks to play a balding, obese movie studio executive.
'Valkyrie,' 'Rock of Ages'
In December 2008, Cruise released his second project through United Artists. The film, Valkyrie, was a World War II drama about a plot to assassinate German leader Adolf Hitler. Cruise starred as a German army officer who became involved in the conspiracy.
Cruise returned to one of his most popular franchises in 2011 with Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol. Breaking into new territory, he then starred in the 2012 musical Rock of Ages. Although Cruise received some positive reviews for his performance as a rock star, the movie failed to attract much of an audience.
'Jack Reacher,' 'Edge of Tomorrow'
Returning to his mainstream action roots, Cruise starred in the 2012 crime drama Jack Reacher, based on a book by Lee Child. He then headlined a pair of science-fiction adventures, Oblivion (2013) and Edge of Tomorrow (2014). Showing no signs of slowing down, the veteran actor in 2015 delivered his usual high-energy performance for the fifth installment of his blockbuster franchise, Mission: Impossible—Rogue Nation.
Latest Movies and Familiar Franchises
In 2016, Cruise reprised the role of Jack Reacher for Never Go Back. He then headlined a reboot of The Mummy (2017), which performed respectably at the box office but was savaged by critics, before earning better reviews later that year for the crime thriller American Made.
2018 brought a return to familiar territory for Cruise, who starred in Mission Impossible—Fallout that summer. Prior to its release, he tweeted a photo to mark day 1 of production on the long-awaited sequel Top Gun: Maverick, scheduled for a June 2020 release.
Scientology and Personal Life
Cruise married actress Mimi Rogers in 1987. It was through Rogers that the actor became a student of Scientology, the religion founded by writer L. Ron Hubbard. Cruise credited the church with curing his dyslexia, and he soon became one of its leading proponents. However, while his spiritual life flourished, his marriage to Rogers ended in 1990. That same year, Cruise made the racecar drama Days of Thunder alongside Kidman. Though the movie was unpopular among critics and fans alike, the two lead actors had real chemistry. On Christmas Eve 1990, after a brief courtship, Cruise and Kidman married in Telluride, Colorado.
Divorce from Kidman
For much of the 1990s, Cruise and Kidman found themselves fiercely defending the happiness and legitimacy of their marriage. They filed two different lawsuits against tabloid publications for stories they considered libelous. In each case, the couple received a published retraction and apology, along with a large monetary settlement which they donated to charity. The couple has two children, Isabella and Connor.
On February 5, 2001, Cruise and Kidman announced their separation after 11 years of marriage. The couple cited the difficulties involved with two acting careers and the amount of time spent apart while working. Following the divorce, Cruise briefly dated his Vanilla Sky co-star Penelope Cruz, followed by a much-publicized relationship with actress Katie Holmes. A month after his ties to Holmes became public, Cruise professed his love for the actress in a now-famous appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show, during which he jumped on Winfrey's sofa, shouting "Yes!"
Marriage to Katie Holmes
In June 2005, after a two-month courtship, Cruise proposed to Holmes in a restaurant at the top of the Eiffel tower. In October, they announced that they were expecting their first child together. The hasty proposal and surprise pregnancy quickly became tabloid gossip. But Cruise made even bigger headlines that year as an outspoken advocate for Scientology. He openly criticized former co-star Brooke Shields for using anti-depressants during her recovery from postpartum depression. He also denounced psychiatry and modern medicine, claiming Scientology held the key to true healing. Cruise's statements led to a heated argument with news anchor Matt Lauer on The Today Show in June 2005, for which Cruise later apologized.
In 2006, Cruise and Holmes welcomed daughter Suri into the world. That year, they were married in an Italian castle, with celebrities Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith, Jennifer Lopez and Victoria and David Beckham among those in attendance. However, the storybook romance wouldn't last, and in June 2012, the couple announced their separation.
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