Tom Cruise Biography

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Tom Cruise Biography

Actor. Born Thomas Cruise Mapother IV, on July 3, 1962, in Syracuse, New York. His family moved around a great deal when Cruise was a child in order to accommodate his father’s career as an electrical engineer. 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 her remarriage. Like his mother, a teacher and amateur actress, and his three sisters, Cruise suffered from dyslexia, which made academic success difficult for him. He excelled in athletics, however, and had considered pursuing a career in professional wrestling until a knee injury sidelined him during high school in Glen Ridge. 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.
Cruise set a ten-year deadline for himself in which to build an acting career. He left school and moved to New York, struggling through audition after audition before landing an appearance in 1981’s Endless Love, starring Brooke Shields, and a small role in the military school drama Taps, also released in 1981 and 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 The Outsiders, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, alongside Emilio Estevez, Matt Dillon, Rob Lowe, all prominent members of a group of young actors that the entertainment press had dubbed the “Brat Pack.” The film was not well received, but it allowed Cruise to work with an acclaimed director in a high-profile project. His next film, Risky Business (1983), immediately made Cruise a highly recognizable actor, grossing $65 million and injecting into the pop cultural memory a memorable scene of Cruise dancing in his underwear.

In 1986, after a nearly two-year hiatus, the budding film star 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, a testoterone-fueled action-romance set against the backdrop of an elite naval flight school, and co-starring Kelly McGillis, Anthony Edwards, and Meg Ryan.

The film became the biggest-grossing film of 1986. Cruise followed up on the tremendous success of Top Gun with a string of both critically acclaimed and commercially successful films, including The Color of Money (1986), co-starring Paul Newman, Rain Man (1988), co-starring Dustin Hoffman, and director Oliver Stone’s Born on the Fourth of July (1989), for which Cruise received an Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe for Best Actor.

Cruise married the actress Mimi Rogers in 1987; the couple divorced in 1990, the same year in which Cruise made the race-car drama Days of Thunder with a young Australian actress named Nicole Kidman. Though the movie was formulaic and a relative failure among critics and at the box office, the two lead actors had real chemistry. On Christmas Eve, 1990, Cruise and Kidman were married in Telluride, Colorado, after a whirlwind courtship.

In 1992, Cruise proved once more that he could hold his own opposite a screen legend—in this case his heavy-hitting costar was Jack Nicholson—in the military courtroom drama, A Few Good Men. Demi Moore also starred. Over the next several years, Cruise made a few moderately well received movies, including The Firm (1993) and Interview with a Vampire (1994), co-starring Brad Pitt, before breaking out again in 1996 with two huge hits—the $64 million blockbuster, Mission: Impossible, which Cruise also produced, and the highly acclaimed Jerry McGuire, directed by Cameron Crowe. For the latter, Cruise earned a second Academy Award nomination and a second Golden Globe for Best Actor.

Cruise and Kidman spent much of 1997 and 1998 in England, shooting Eyes Wide Shut, an erotic thriller that would be acclaimed director Stanley Kubrick’s final film before his death in 1999. The movie was released in the summer of 1999 to mixed reviews. In 1999, Cruise appeared in the critically acclaimed ensemble film Magnolia, turning in a much-talked-about performance as a self-confident sex guru that earned him a Golden Globe award and an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. In 2000, Cruise starred in the long-awaited smash hit Mission: Impossible 2, alongside Anthony Hopkins, Thandie Newton, and Ving Rhames. Upcoming projects include Vanilla Sky, with Cameron Diaz and Penelope Cruise, and Minority Report, a project directed by Steven Spielberg.

Cruise is a devoted member of the Church of Scientology. He and Kidman divided their time between homes in Los Angeles, New York, Colorado, and Sydney.

They have two adopted children, Isabella and Connor. Over the years, Cruise has fiercely defended the happiness and the legitimacy of his marriage, and with Kidman has filed two different lawsuits against tabloid publications for stories he considered libelous. In each case the couple received a published retraction and apology, along with a large monetary settlement, which they donated to charity.

On February 5, 2001, Cruise and Kidman announced through a spokesman that they are amicably separating after 11 years of marriage. The couple cited the difficulties involved with two acting careers and the amount of time spent apart while both are working. .

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