|Real Name: Thomas Cruise Mapother IV|
|Birthday: July 3, 1962|
|Place of Birth: Syracuse, NY|
Tom Cruise Biography and Filmography:
In 2006, actor Tom Cruise was named Forbes magazine’s most powerful celebrity, with three Golden Globe Awards, three Academy Award nominations, and an typical paycheck of over $50 million dollars per movie. The actor’s skill for dramatic passion, combined with his on screen magnetism and striking smile, was the stuff of true movie stars, going back to the mnovie idols of the 1940's and 1950's.
Tom Cruise had come quite a distance since 1983’s “Risky Business,” when his high spirited dance in his boxer shorts made film history. That half naked underwear scene sparked a career which quickly surpassed the teen boy field and his fellow actors of the time, especially after the release of “Top Gun” (1986). Not only did he become the sex symbol of the day with his shirtless role of Lt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, he inspired a whole generation of young boys to want to become elite Navy fighter pilots.
Despite a few missteps such as “Cocktail” (1988) and “Days of Thunder” (1990), Cruise showed the critical reviewers wrong when be began playing roles with real depth in films like “The Color of Money”(1986), “Rain Main” (1988), and “Born on the Fourth of July” (1989). Male and female audiences alike ran to see him play the hotshot young celebrity in “The Firm” (1993) and “Jerry Maguire” (1996), as well as the hero of the “Mission Impossible” series and “War of the Worlds” (2005). Tom's attraction survived even critically hated films like Stanley Kubrick’s “Eyes Wide Shut” (1997) and Cameron Crowe’s bizarre “Vanilla Sky” (2001) merely because his name was above the title.
But after over a twenty year run of great success, as well as a marriage with wife Nicole Kidman, the worlds most sought after sexy celebrity hit a rough patch after a string of high profile actions turned him into steady tabloid exhibition. Following a bad divorce from Kidman, and a confusing pairing-up with Spanish actress Penelope Cruz, his Scientology based attack on actress Brooke Shields’ pharmaceutical treatment of postpartum depression was followed by abnormally glitzy showing of love for another suspect girlfriend, Katie Holmes.
In one ill-fated moment, jumping on Oprah Winfrey’s couch to express his love for Holmes, Tom became a late night talk show joke overnight. The media circus came to a head with a “South Park” episode making fun of his assumed gay sexual orientation and the breakup of his longtime studio partner Paramount, who hastily and very publicly discarded him, mentioning his weird behavior in the press. Ever focused and diligent, he bounced back to become head of MGM’s UA Films, though it remained to be seen whether his time in public relations hell would have a lasting effect on his standing as the biggest film star of his generation.
Thomas Mapother IV was born on July 3, 1962, the only son of a family that would sprout to include three siblings. Mapother III was an electrical engineer, abusive and keen to getting fired from his jobs, which required the family to relocate many times a year to look for employment. He was born in Syracuse but lived in Louisville, Kentucky; Winnetka, Illinois; and Ottawa, Ontario, before his mother had enough of her husband. She left Mapother in 1975 and relocated her children back to her hometown of Louisville. Tom was enrolled in a total of 15 schools during his 14 years of schooling, and his endless outsider status, coupled with a diagnosis of dyslexia made school life a continual problem.
He spent his freshman year at a seminary boarding school in Cincinnati, Ohio on a scholarship. Despite enjoying the break of stability he received at the seminary, he decided that the priesthood was not for him. He settled with his mother and new stepfather in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, and started to make a try at a career as an athlete, until he suffered knee damage during a boxing match. In reaction to being benched, he turned to the drama department, having been a constant movie fanatic and the family comedian. He was a natural, appearing in school productions of “Guys and Dolls” and “Godspell,” and with great resolve, Cruise dropped out of high school during his senior year - choosing to go directly to New York City in 1981, where he was hired as a busboy and began running the audition circuit.
Within a year, he was in Los Angeles, and introduced Paula Wagner, a representative at Creative Artists Agency, who would later steer his film career. After making his feature debut in a small role in the famous Brooke Shields vehicle "Endless Love" (1981), he gained attention for a supporting role as an army cadet in "Taps" (1981). He had initially been cast in a small role in the film, but the director was so impressed with his passion, that he moved the actor up to a more noticeable role alongside stars Sean Penn and Timothy Hutton.
In 1983 he shot onto the celebrity scene with four major studio Hollywood features. His rough and tumble background helped in his role as one of the “greasers” in Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Outsiders,” an exaggerated revision, but brilliant for its number of future heartthrobs like Rob Lowe, Matt Dillon, and Patrick Swayze. Watchful not to limit her client to typecasting as an heated radical, his agent focused on his sports ability and teenage boyish magnetism with a role next to Shelly Long in "Losin' It" (1983), a young teen coming of age film. “Risky Business” (1983), however, shot Tom into an overnight wonder. In his portrayal of a worried, wealthy, uptown young teen on the verge of young adulthood, he fashioned a meaningful hero for young audiences. In his runaway scene, Cruise, dressed in an Oxford shirt, boxer shorts underwear, and dark sunglasses, played air guitar and danced to Bob Seger's song, "Old Time Rock 'n' Roll." Audiences ate it up, the Golden Globe awards recognized him with a nomination.
The hot actor performed well in "All the Right Moves" (1983), a high school football drama which placed him against short tempered head coach Craig T. Nelson, and did moderately well at the box office, a short full frontal nude shot did not hurt returns either - viewers wanted to see Tom Cruise naked. His next role was not as good for a young teen sex symbol, growing his hair long and wearing green leotards for Ridley Scott's huge fantasy loser, "Legend" (1985). He cemented his sexy star status and established his onscreen personality with one of the runaway smash hits of the 1980s, and probably, the movie most identified with him, “Top Gun" with Val Kilmer (1986). With piloting scenes edited to the gyrations of pop tunes, the film worked as both a Navy recruiting advertisement and a steamy passionate exploit between Lt. Maverick and his Top Gun instructor, Charlie (Kelly McGillis). No longer the appealing young teen boy next door, his Maverick character was a model for future roles, an egotistical outsider who plays by his own rules, takes on a crisis head on, then is victoriously changed with his victory. While “Risky Business” might have made him a movie star, it was “Top Gun” that made him the biggest movie star in the world.
The actor picked his next roles carefully, working on "The Color of Money" (1986) starring Paul Newman, and "Rain Man" (1988) with Dustin Hoffman. The first, Martin Scorsese's well made, well blended sequel to "The Hustler", cast him as a competent but egotistical pool hustler; a younger, less experienced version of Paul Newman's Fast Eddie Felsen. They made a diverse team, with his animated All-American young boy next to Newman's battered con man, and though the older celebrity hunk got the Best Actor Oscar, he was passing the torch to the new younger celebrity hunk. Off screen, the actor fell in love and married actress Mimi Rogers in what was seen as an unusual pairing, not only because of the couple’s age difference. The marriage lasted less than three years (1987-1990) but Rogers’ heritage lived on in Cruise’s lifetime relationship with Scientology, to which he was introduced by the actress.
Tom next chose Oliver Stone's anti war "Born on the Fourth of July" (1989) and earned a Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination for the role of paraplegic Vietnam veteran activist Ron Kovic. When he did not pick up the Oscar statue, many viewers thought he had been robbed. His next movie, "Days of Thunder" (1990) introduced him to the next love of his life, Nicole Kidman, and started a partnership with screenwriter Robert Towne. Panned by the critics, it still brought in $177 million worldwide, and in December of 1990 the co-stars were married, making the actress a star overnight.
Cruise returned to box office success by encountering Jack Nicholson in Rob Reiner's military court martial movie, "A Few Good Men" (1992) with an all star cast including Demi Moore, Kevin Bacon and Kiefer Sutherland. His genius attorney character determined on stopping his crooked bosses in "The Firm" (1993) could have been a twin to his role in "A Few Good Men.” Even with a standout supporting ensemble cast including Gene Hackman, Hal Holbrook and Holly Hunter, Tom carried the alteration of John Grisham's massive bestseller. Also that year, he and his agent Paula Wagner formed Cruise/Wagner productions in an endeavor to gain the actor more imaginative and fiscal control over his projects. The production company negotiated a private partnership with Paramount Pictures, a rare event at that time.
The actor raised eyebrows when he accepted the lead role of the vampire Lestat in Neil Jordan's "Interview with the Vampire" with Brad Pitt, Kirsten Dunst and Christian Slater (1994). Many laughed at the idea of the All-American sexy movie star playing the depraved, gay killer of Anne Rice's story. In 1996, Cruise/Wagner Productions produced their first production project, the war espionage movie "Mission: Impossible" (1996). Based on the loved 1960s television show starring Peter Graves, the project had stalled in different development holdups before Tom got involved, and rumors flew of his fighting with director Brian De Palma over financial, script and dialog issues. Nevertheless, despite worldwide location shooting, high tech stunts, outstanding computer generated visual effects and last minute script adjustments, "Mission: Impossible" was completed on time and under budget for around $69 million, with the actor giving his $25 million paycheck over for production expenses.
The romantic comedy "Jerry Maguire" (1996) with Cuba Gooding Jr. and Renee Zellweger, in which he played the petty, hard-nosed sports agent, gave a sort of mid life crisis break for the celebrity, this time winning a Golden Globe and his second Best Actor Academy Award nomination.
Cruise took himself out of the blockbuster business at the pinnacle of his career to work on a series of riskier beginning with director Stanley Kubrick’s "Eyes Wide Shut,” with Nicole Kidman, in which Tom starred opposite his wife for the first time since "Far and Away." Following the grueling shoot and assorted reaction to "Eyes Wide Shut," he took on a crucial role in Paul Thomas Anderson's group drama, "Magnolia" (1999). Portraying an arrogant sex expert who runs seminars designed to empower men, the actor offered a compelling role that was alternately alarming and hilarious and earned him another Golden Globe win and Oscar nomination.
He returned to reprise his role as Ethan Hunt in "Mission Impossible: 2" (2000), directed by John Woo. The worldwide espionage thriller centered around the control of a fatal virus and earned over $425 million dollars. With the actor’s well-paid production deal, he enjoyed a $75 million paycheck. It was through the making of "Vanilla Sky" (2001), that he suffered a very public and unfriendly divorce from Nicole Kidman as he began a romance with "Vanilla Sky" co-star Penelope Cruz. He and Nicole Kidman later worked out their divorce troubles for their two adopted children's sake.
"Vanilla Sky" opened to assorted reviews, seen as a skilled and often convincing riddle with a rambling ending. His performance as a successful writer who finds his life taking a bad turn after a car accident with an over-enthusiastic lover, was seen as powerful, but a bit much in his efforts to chip away at his young pretty boy sexy looks with Hollywood made scars and makeup. He next appeared in Spielberg’s "Minority Report" with Cameron Diaz (2002), a flick filled with action sequences and an extension of science fiction author Phillip K. Dick's idea of a future where police use ESP to stop killings before they happen.
He gave another great performance in "The Last Samurai" (2003), playing Captain Nathan Algren, an alcoholic veteran of Custer's battles with Native Americans who travel to Japan to help the Imperial army, only to be captured by an unruly samurai leader (Ken Watanabe). His string of success continued with the assassin Vincent, who hijacks a kind Los Angeles cab driver (Jamie Foxx) to drive him on his deadly rounds in "Collateral" (2004). Wearing a gray wig and unshaved beard, he used his trademark greatness to his benefit in an unusual role.
In 2005, his private life began to overshadow his professional career in a public relations nightmare that would stain the leading man’s status for years to come. After ending his relationship with Penelope Cruz, he replaced his publicist of 15 years, Pat Kingsley, with his older sister Lee Anne DeVette, a vigorous Scientologist.
Since 1990, Tom had been a promoter of the often mysterious, Hollywood based Church of Scientology founded by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, having ascribed his studies there with "curing" him of the dyslexia, among other things. But his attachment was generally seen as a movie star oddity, that is, until he used his faith to start an attack on "Endless Love" co-star Brooke Shields, who had just released a biography that described taking antidepressants to relieve her postpartum depression. Based on the Scientology principle that psychiatry is not a science and that it kills people,” Cruise widely criticized Shields and suggested that vitamins would have been a fitting medication for her diagnosis. Shields, not to mention thousands of mothers, mental illness victims and the psychiatric community, were outraged.
The incident was followed by a curiously timed announcement that the actor and Katie Holmes, who was 18 years younger and three inches taller than Tom, were madly in love – though neither could give a straight answer to just when they had met and how long they had been in love. His strangely animated actions, and the couple's often halfhearted physical contact fueled rumors that the romance was a publicity stunt, planned to make up for the Brooke blunder and rumors of him being gay, and to draw attention to the stars’ upcoming summer film releases, the Steven Spielberg, directed "War of the Worlds".
He then made a weird appearance on Oprah Winfrey's talk show to announce his love for Katie Holmes, jumping on the host's furniture and pulling an outwardly indifferent Holmes in front of the cameras. Both appeared on the David Letterman show to further share their love story. Rumors continued that Holmes was one of s number of actresses who had in essence auditioned for the role of his girlfriend, in exchange for an instant A-list shot in his movies and helping to stop the "gay" rumors.
Much to the dismay of all involved with “War of the Worlds”, mainly Spielberg, who knew the spotlight was no longer on his movie; but more on Tom's latest public tricks, he continued to stick up for his attack on Brooke Shields in a harshly worded argument with "Today Show" co-host Matt Lauer. During the now famous exchange in which he called Lauer “glib,” Tom aggressively chided psychiatry as a "pseudo-science," that later got a harsh rebuke from the American Psychiatric Association. About the same time Tom was supposedly instrumental in opening up the mysterious Church of Scientology and welcoming journalists to check out its practices. Katie Holmes began taking Scientology courses, and suspiciously discarded her Hollywood handlers in favor of Tom's.
Nearly lost in all of his public appearances was the release of "War of the Worlds" (2005), the fourth film variation of the H.G. Wells story. The film was held up by a strong performance by Cruise as Ray Ferrier, a middle class worn-out dad who must protect his two children during a horrible alien attack. In spite of the media coverage “War of the Worlds” was his top producing film to date at over $600 million worldwide.
The media saturation lasted beyond the run of the summer blockbuster, especially when it was announced in October that Katie Holmes was pregnant with Tom's child. In November, Paul Bloch replaced DeVette as his publicist, and though the move was made to allow his sister to focus on managing her brother’s charitable causes, it was perceived as damage control of the hit his image had taken since her hiring.
The celebrities actions seemed to quite down until an episode of the animated series “South Park” which made fun of Scientology and made jokes about Tom's sexuality, a constant rumor that he is gay had dogged the actor since he sued several people for printing claims of his homosexuality.
After months of guessing, Tom and Katie, called “TomKat” by the tabloid press, had a baby girl named Suri on April 18, 2006. The public pregnancy was followed by the needed fading of Holmes from public view, and a lack of baby pictures started conspiracy theories that there had never been a baby. Meanwhile, the actor started making the public relations circuit for his next film, “Mission: Impossible 3” (2006).
The third round in the series had a retired Ethan Hunt living an easy life while training new IMF agents until he is called back to action to do battle with Owen Davian (Philip Seymour Hoffman), an international weapons dealer. The film’s opening weekend box office receipts were lower than expected.
Mentioning an understandable drop in the actors popularity, Paramount Pictures announced an end to its 15-year collaboration with Cruise/Wagner Productions on Aug. 22, 2006. In the breakup heard around the world, Sumner Redstone, Chairman of Viacom, said the actors “recent conduct has not been acceptable to Paramount."
Back at work, Cruise seemed ready to put the past 18 months of turmoil behind him and return to his status as one of the most powerful men in Hollywood. The first release from CEO Wagner and producer Tom was Robert Redford’s November, 2007, release “Lions for Lambs.” He took a co-starring role as an ruthless senator in the film, which sought to explore hard issues about the war in Afghanistan and war in general through three interrelated plots.
Next up was the action comedy war thriller "Tropic Thunder" (2008) starring Ben Stiller and Jack Black, where through a series of freak occurrences, a group of actors shooting a big-budget war movie are forced to become the soldiers they are portraying. Next was the comedy drama "Men" (2008) about an advertising executive who surreptitiously becomes roommates with his wife's lover, an egotistical artist, in order to sabotage their affair and save his marriage. He was then executive producer and star in "Valkyrie" (2009), the historical drama based on actual events, when a plot to assassinate Hitler is unfurled during the height of WWII.
He then starred with Ben Stiller in the comedy "Hardy Men" (2009) - an updated version of "The Hardy Boys".