Tom Cruise Biography
Thomas Cruise Mapother IV, better known by his screen name Tom Cruise, is an American actor and film producer. Forbes magazine ranked him as the world's most powerful celebrity in 2006. He has been nominated for three Academy Awards and won three Golden Globe Awards. His first leading role was the 1983 film Risky Business , which has been described as "A Generation-X classic, and a career-maker" for the actor. After playing the role of a heroic naval pilot in the popular and financially successful 1986 film Top Gun, Cruise continued in this vein, playing a secret agent in a series of Mission: Impossible action films in the 1990s and 2000s. In addition to these heroic roles, he also played other roles, such as the misogynistic male guru in Magnolia (1999) and a cool and calculating sociopathic hitman in the Michael Mann crime-thriller film Collateral (2004).
In 2005, Economist Edward Jay Epstein argued that Cruise is one of the few producers (the others being George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Jerry Bruckheimer) who are able to guarantee the success of a billion-dollar movie franchise. Since 2005, Cruise and Paula Wagner have been in charge of the United Artists film studio, with Cruise as producer and star and Wagner as the chief executive. Cruise is also known for his support of and adherence to the Church of Scientology.
Family and early life
Cruise was born in Syracuse, New York, the son of Mary Lee (née Pfeiffer), a special education teacher, and Thomas Cruise Mapother III, an electrical engineer. Cruise has German and English ancestry from his paternal great-grandparents, William Reibert and Charlotte Louise Voelker; and Irish ancestry from his paternal great-great-grandfather Thomas O'Mara. It was O'Mara's son Thomas who adopted the name Mapother, the surname of his older half-brothers, becoming Thomas Cruise Mapother I. Tom Cruise's oldest sister, Lee Anne, was born in Louisville. His older sister Marian was born in Syracuse, as were Tom and his younger sister, Cass.
Cruise attended Robert Hopkins Public school for grades three, four, and five. The Mapother family then moved to the suburb of Beacon Hill, in Gloucester, Ontario, so Cruise's father could take a position as a defence consultant with the Canadian Armed Forces. There, Cruise completed grade six at Henry Munro Middle School, part of the Carleton Board of Education, where he was active in athletics, playing floor hockey almost every night, showing himself to be a ruthless player, eventually chipping his front tooth. In the game "British Bull Dog", he then lost his newly capped tooth and hurt his knee. Henry Munro was also where Cruise became involved in drama, unter the tutelage of George Steinburg. The first play he participated in was called IT, in which Cruise won the co-lead with Michael de Waal, one playing "Evil", the other playing "Good". The play met much acclaim, and toured with five other classmates to various schools around the Ottawa area, even being filmed at the local Ottawa TV station. The two were also singled out for a version of Jesus Christ Superstar, as well as a Marcel Marceau-type act. It was at this point that Mary Lee Mapother helped foster her son's acting aspirations: when the religious overtones of the former caused concern for school principal Jim Brown, Cruise's mother convinced him that the play should proceed, and she founded the Gloucester Players, a theatrical troupe where Cruise and some of the boys in Steinburg's class acted.
When Cruise was twelve, his mother left his father, taking Cruise and his sister Lee Anne with her. After a long period of near-poverty, in which Tom's newspaper-delivery earnings helped put food on the table, his mother married a plastics salesman named Jack South.
Besides Ottawa, cities in which Cruise lived included Louisville, Kentucky; Winnetka, Illinois; and Wayne, New Jersey. In all, Cruise attended eight elementary schools and three high schools. He briefly attended a Franciscan seminary in Cincinnati (on a church scholarship) and aspired to become a Catholic priest. In his senior year, he played football for the varsity team as a linebacker, but he was cut from the squad after getting caught drinking beer before a game. Cruise graduated from Glen Ridge High School in New Jersey in 1980.
Cruise has said that he suffered from abuse as a child. This was partially due to his suffering from dyslexia. He stated that when something went wrong, his father came down hard on him. He told Parade Magazine that his father was "a bully" and "a merchant of chaos." Cruise said he learned early on that his father was – and, by extension, some people were – not to be trusted: "I knew from being around my father that not everyone means me well." Having gone through fifteen schools in twelve years, Cruise, who dropped his father's name at age twelve, was also a victim of bullying at school.
Cruise started acting after being sidelined from his high school's wrestling team due to a knee injury. While injured, he successfully auditioned for a lead role in his high school's production of Guys and Dolls and decided to become an actor after his success in the role. His cousin William Mapother is also an actor most known for playing Ethan Rom on Lost.
Acting career - 1980s
Cruise's first film role came in 1981, when he had a small role in Endless Love, a drama/romance film starring Brooke Shields. Later that same year he had a more substantial role in the film Taps, appearing alongside George C. Scott, Timothy Hutton and Sean Penn. The film about military cadets was moderately successful. In 1983, he was one of many teenaged stars to appear in Francis Ford Coppola's The Outsiders. The cast for this film included Rob Lowe, Matt Dillon, Patrick Swayze, and Ralph Macchio, two of which were part of the Brat Pack. That same year Cruise appeared in the teen comedy Losin' It. Cruise's breakthrough came after Risky Business was released, which helped to propel Cruise to stardom. One sequence in the film, featuring Cruise lip-syncing Bob Seger's "Old Time Rock and Roll" in his underwear, has become an iconic moment in 1980s film. The film has been described as "A Generation-X classic, and a career-maker for Tom Cruise". A fourth film that was released in 1983 was the high-school football drama, All the Right Moves. Cruise's next film was the 1985 fantasy film Legend directed by Ridley Scott.
Cruise was then selected as the first choice by producers Jerry Bruckheimer and Don Simpson for an upcoming American fighter pilot film. Cruise at first apparently turned down the project, but helped to alter the script he was given and developed the film. After being taken for a flight with the Blue Angels, Cruise changed his mind and signed on with the project. The project was titled Top Gun and opened in May 1986, becoming the highest grossing film of the year, taking in US$354 million in worldwide figures. Also in 1986, he starred in Martin Scorsese's The Color of Money along with Paul Newman, which earned Paul a Best Actor Academy Award. In 1988, he starred in the lighthearted drama Cocktail, which received mixed reviews and Cruise received his first nomination for a Razzie award in 1989. Later that year, Rain Man was released, which also starred Dustin Hoffman and was directed by Barry Levinson. The film was praised by critics and was nominated for eight Academy Awards, and won four, including Best Picture and Best Actor.
Cruise was welcomed with similar success the following year when he received Academy Award nominations for Oliver Stone's Born on the Fourth of July, which was based on the best selling autobiography of parapalegic veteran and anti-war activist Ron Kovic. In 1990, Cruise starred as hot-shot racecar driver "Cole Trickle" in Tony Scott's Days of Thunder. Cruise's next film was Ron Howard's Far and Away where he again was starring with Nicole Kidman. After Days of Thunder he starred in the military thriller A Few Good Men with Jack Nicholson and Demi Moore. This film was very well received and earned Cruise a Golden Globe and MTV nominations. The following year he starred in Sydney Pollack's The Firm along with Gene Hackman and Ed Harris. It was based on the best selling novel by John Grisham, and won Favorite Dramatic Motion Picture at the People's Choice Awards.
In 1994, Cruise starred along with Brad Pitt, Antonio Banderas and Christian Slater in Neil Jordan's Interview with the Vampire, a gothic drama/horror film that was based on Anne Rice's best-selling novel. The film was well received, although Rice was outspoken in her criticism of Cruise having been cast in the film, as River Phoenix was her first choice. In 1996, Cruise starred in (as well as produced) Brian de Palma's Mission: Impossible. The film, a remake of the 1960s TV series, grossed US$456 million worldwide, making it the third highest grossing film that year. That same year he played the title role in the comedy-drama Jerry Maguire. The film earned him an Academy Award Best Actor nomination as well as winning co-star Cuba Gooding, Jr. an Academy Award; the film was nominated for five Academy Awards in total. The film also included the catchphrase "Show Me the Money!" which became part of popular culture. In 1999 he starred in the erotic thriller Eyes Wide Shut which took two years to complete and was director Stanley Kubrick's last film. It was also the last film in which he starred alongside then spouse Nicole Kidman. But the film, which had a straightforward description of sex and a recondite story-telling style, raised great controversies. Cruise also played a misogynistic male guru in Magnolia (1999), which netted him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination. He was originally intended to play as Jericho Cane in the action horror film End of Days before Arnold Schwarzenegger assumed the lead role.
In 2000, Cruise returned as Ethan Hunt in the second installment of the Mission Impossible films, releasing Mission: Impossible II. The film was directed by Hong Kong director John Woo and branded with his Gun fu Style, and it continued the series' blockbuster success at the box office, taking in almost US$546 M in worldwide figures, like its predecessor, being the third highest grossing film of the year. The following year Cruise starred in the remake of the 1997 film Abre Los Ojos, Vanilla Sky. In 2002, Cruise starred in the dystopian science fiction thriller, Minority Report which was directed by Steven Spielberg and based on the science fiction short story by Philip K. Dick; and the following year, he was in Edward Zwick's historical drama The Last Samurai.
In the 2004 Michael Mann's crime-thriller film Collateral, Cruise took a turn against his generic "good guy" role by playing the role of a sociopathic hitman. In 2005, Cruise worked again with Steven Spielberg in War of the Worlds, which became the fourth highest grossing movie of the year with US$591.4 M worldwide. The film also earned three Razzie nominations including one for Cruise. In 2006, he reprised his role as Ethan Hunt in the third installment of the Mission Impossible film series, Mission: Impossible III. Although it was more positively received by critics than its predecessor, it disappointed at the box office, grossing nearly $150M less worldwide. He appeared in the 2007 drama Lions for Lambs, which bombed, and had a comedic supporting role in the 2008 comedy Tropic Thunder. Cruise's latest starring role is in the historical thriller Valkyrie, released on December 25, 2008 to mixed reviews.
Cruise partnered with his former talent agent Paula Wagner to form Cruise/Wagner Productions in 1993, and the company has since co-produced several of Cruise's films, the first being Mission: Impossible in 1996 which was also Cruise's first project as a producer. He won a Nova Award (shared with Paula Wagner) for Most Promising Producer in Theatrical Motion Pictures at the PGA Golden Laurel Awards in 1997 for his work as a producer for the film Mission: Impossible.
His next project as a producer was the 1998 film Without Limits about famous American runner Steve Prefontaine. Cruise returned to work as a producer in 2000, continuing work on the Mission Impossible sequel. He then served as an executive producer for The Others which starred Nicole Kidman, also that year, he again worked as actor/producer in Vanilla Sky. He subsequently worked on (but did not star in) Narc, Hitting It Hard and Shattered Glass. His next project, which he also starred in, was The Last Samurai, he was jointly nominated for the Motion Picture Producer of the Year Award at the 2004 PGA Golden Laurel Awards. He then worked on Suspect Zero, Elizabethtown and Ask the Dust.
Cruise is noted as having negotiated some of the most lucrative movie deals in Hollywood, and was described in 2005 by Hollywood economist Edward Jay Epstein as "one of the most powerful – and richest – forces in Hollywood". Epstein argues that Cruise is one of the few producers (the others being George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Jerry Bruckheimer) who are regarded as able to guarantee the success of a billion-dollar movie franchise. Epstein also contends that the public obsession with Cruise's tabloid controversies obscures full appreciation of Cruise's exceptional commercial prowess in the industry.
Cruise/Wagner Productions, Cruise's film production company, is said to be developing a screenplay based on Erik Larson's New York Times bestseller, The Devil in the White City about a real life serial killer, H. H. Holmes, at Chicago's World's Columbian Exposition. Kathryn Bigelow is attached to the project to produce and helm. Meanwhile, Leonardo DiCaprio's production company, Appian Way, is also developing a film about Holmes and the World's Fair, in which DiCaprio will star.
Breakup with Paramount
On August 22, 2006, Paramount Pictures announced it was ending its 14-year relationship with Cruise. In the Wall Street Journal, chairman of Viacom (Paramount's parent company) Sumner Redstone cited the economic damage to Cruise's value as an actor and producer from his controversial public behavior and views. Cruise/Wagner Productions responded that Paramount's announcement was a face-saving move after the production company had successfully sought alternative financing from private equity firms. Industry analysts such as Edward Jay Epstein commented that the real reason for the split was most likely Paramount's discontent over Cruise/Wagner's exceptionally large share of DVD sales from the Mission: Impossible franchise. However, Radar has claimed that the "personal conduct" complained of by Redstone was an allegedly Cruise-inspired attempt to intimidate Brad Grey, CEO of Paramount. According to Radar, when Grey was walking to his car one night after tense negotiations with Cruise over Mission: Impossible 3, he was "surrounded by more than a dozen Scientologists, who pressured him to ease up on the actor … Following a terse exchange, the visitors allowed Grey to get into his car and leave, but the message was clear." Grey reportedly stood his ground and convinced Cruise to accept a lower fee than the actor had initially demanded.
Management of United Artists
According to an Associated Press report on November 2, 2006, Cruise and Paula Wagner announced that they will be in charge of the United Artists film studio. Cruise will produce and star in films for United Artists, while Wagner will serve as UA's chief executive. Production began in 2007 of Valkyrie, a thriller based on the July 20, 1944 assassination attempt against Adolf Hitler. The film was acquired in March 2007 by United Artists. On March 21, 2007 Cruise signed on to play Claus von Stauffenberg, the protagonist. This project marks the second production to be greenlighted since Cruise and Wagner took control of United Artists. The first was its inaugural film, Lions for Lambs, directed by Robert Redford and starring Redford, Meryl Streep and Cruise. Lambs was released on November 9, 2007, opening to unimpressive box office revenue and critical reception. In August 2008, Wagner stepped down from her position at United Artists; she retains her stake in UA, which combined with Cruise's share amounts to 30% of the studio.
In 1990, 1991 and 1997, People magazine rated him among the 50 most beautiful people in the world. In 1995, Empire magazine ranked him among the 100 sexiest stars in film history. Two years later, it ranked him among the top 5 movie stars of all time. In 2002 and 2003, he was rated by Premiere among the top 20 in its annual Power 100 list.
In 2006, Premiere ranked Cruise as Hollywood's most powerful actor, as Cruise came in at number 13 on the magazines 2006 Power List, being the highest ranked actor.
On June 16, 2006, Forbes magazine published 'The Celebrity 100', a list of the most powerful celebrities, which Cruise topped. The list was generated using a combination of income (between June 2005 and June 2006), web references by Google, press clips compiled by LexisNexis, television and radio mentions (by Factiva), and the number of times a celebrity appeared on the cover of 26 major consumer magazines.
As of August 2006, "a USA Today/Gallup poll in which half of those surveyed registered an "unfavorable" opinion of the actor" was cited as a reason in addition to "unacceptable behavior" for Paramount's non-renewal of their production contract with Cruise. In addition, Marketing Evaluations reports that Cruise's Q score (which is a measure of the popularity of celebrities), had fallen 40%. It was also revealed that Cruise is the celebrity people would least like as their best friend. Cruise came bottom with just 3 percent, while the winner was Jack Black. October 10, 2006 was declared "Tom Cruise Day" in Japan; the Japan Memorial Day Association said that he was awarded with a special day because he has made more trips to Japan than any other Hollywood star.
Relationships and personal life
Cruise was married to Mimi Rogers on May 9, 1987; they divorced on February 4, 1990. Rogers is generally believed to have introduced Cruise to Scientology.
Cruise met Nicole Kidman on the set of their film Days of Thunder. The couple married on December 24, 1990 and divorced on August 8, 2001. He and Kidman adopted two children, Isabella Jane (b. December 22, 1992) and Connor Antony (b. January 17, 1995). They separated when Kidman was three months pregnant, just before their tenth wedding anniversary; she later miscarried.
Cruise was next romantically linked with Penélope Cruz, the lead actress in his film Vanilla Sky. After a three-year relationship, in March 2004, Cruise announced that their relationship had ended in January.
In April 2005, Cruise began dating actress Katie Holmes. Shortly after they began their highly publicized relationship, on June 17, 2005, Cruise announced he had proposed to her at the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. She accepted his proposal, and the couple married in Bracciano, Italy on November 18, 2006.
On April 18, 2006 Katie gave birth to a baby girl named Suri at Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California. Cruise stated that the name derives from the Hebrew word for "princess" or the Persian word meaning red rose. She is the first child for Holmes and third for Cruise, who (as previously mentioned) has two adopted children with Nicole Kidman.