Thomas Cruise Mapother IV, better known as Tom Cruise, was born on July 3, 1962 in Syracuse, New York. His mother, Mary Lee, was a special education teacher, and his father, Thomas Mapother III, was an electrical engineer. Cruise had three sisters – Lee Anne, Marian, and Cass.
Cruise’s family moved around a lot during his childhood due to his father’s career. They lived in Canada for a few years and by the time Cruise was 14, they had settled in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. As a young child, Cruise suffered from dyslexia and had trouble with reading and writing. He excelled in athletics though, especially wrestling.
In high school, Cruise aspired to become a Catholic priest but later decided to pursue acting instead. At age 18, he moved to New York City to try to kickstart an acting career.
Early Acting Career
Cruise’s first break came in 1981 when he was cast in the film Endless Love. This opened the doors for his role in Taps later that year. In 1983, he starred in the major hit Risky Business, which brought him widespread attention and fame. His famous underwear dance scene in Risky Business cemented his status as a heartthrob in Hollywood.
Over the next few years, Cruise starred in several successful and critically acclaimed films including Top Gun (1986), The Color of Money (1986), Cocktail (1988), and Rain Man (1988), for which his co-star Dustin Hoffman won an Academy Award. Cruise’s boyish charm and trademark intensity made him one of the most sought-after leading actors in the late 80s.
Dramatic Roles and Critical Success
As Cruise entered the 1990s, he took on more nuanced, dramatic film roles. He earned his first Academy Award nomination for Best Actor for his portrayal of a paralyzed Vietnam War veteran in Born on the Fourth of July (1989). Other noteworthy films during this period included A Few Good Men (1992), The Firm (1993), and Interview with the Vampire (1994).
In 1996, Cruise played the title role in the huge commercial and critical hit Mission: Impossible, which led him to reprise his role as special agent Ethan Hunt in several lucrative sequels over the next few decades. Other top-grossing blockbusters followed, including Jerry Maguire (1996) – for which he received another Best Actor Oscar nomination – and Days of Thunder (1990).
Cruise became renowned in Hollywood for doing many of his own stunts in action films, showcasing his exceptional physical abilities and commitment to authenticity. Off-screen, he was also making headlines for his marriage to his second wife, actress Nicole Kidman, from 1990 to 2001.
Collaboration with Steven Spielberg
In 2002, after a string of high-octane roles, Cruise reunited with director Steven Spielberg for the science fiction thriller Minority Report. This marked the beginning of a long-running, highly successful collaboration between Spielberg and Cruise through the 2000s. Their next film War of the Worlds (2005), grossed over $200 million internationally.
In Spielberg’s War of the Worlds, Cruise played a dock worker and divorced father desperately trying to hold onto his children in an alien invasion – a more vulnerable character than his typical action hero. Cruise received strong reviews for his performance showcasing more depth and human drama than his previous films in the genre.
Table 1: Most Notable Tom Cruise Films from 1985-2005
|Lt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell
|Chief John Anderton
|War of the Worlds
Cruise and Spielberg collaborated again in 2008 for War of the Worlds 2. While the sequel was considered a disappointment critically and commercially compared to the first film, Cruise continued to showcase his versatility as an actor and his unwillingness to be pigeon-holed exclusively as an action hero.
Controversies and Criticisms
While Cruise has enjoyed tremendous professional success as an actor and film producer, his personal life and associations with controversial groups like Scientology have stirred significant controversy and criticisms.
In 2005, Cruise began openly discussing his Scientology beliefs and criticism of psychiatry. He notoriously criticized actress Brooke Shields for using anti-depressant medication to deal with her postpartum depression. Cruise also became the public face of a new Scientology campaign which many considered controversial.
During this period, Cruise seemed to be at the height of his stardom but was dangerously close to alienating certain audiences with his views on psychiatry and new religious fervor. His previously successful public image took a noticeable hit during this time. Long-time collaborators like Steven Spielberg and Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone even severed professional ties with Cruise for a couple years due to the controversies.
In the late 2000s and early 2010s, Cruise largely avoided openly discussing Scientology and regained a balance between his professional work and religious beliefs that had been previously lacking. His career eventually stabilized again despite lingering criticisms of his faith and personal life. Audiences seemed to implicitly agree to simply focus on his work as an actor and producer.
In recent years, Cruise made successful returns to two of his most iconic franchises: Mission Impossible and Top Gun. At 60 years old, Cruise continues to do almost all of his own stunts – including the highly dangerous halo jumps in Mission Impossible: Fallout (2018).
He also underwent intensive flight training to authentically reprise his original role for Top Gun: Maverick (2022). Both films were huge critical and commercial successes, proving Cruise can still deliver some of the most profitably films and technically impressive stunt work in global cinema despite his age.
In his personal life, Cruise adopted two children with Nicole Kidman and one on his own following his marriage to Katie Holmes from 2006 to 2012. While he continues to practice Scientology, Cruise has largely stayed out of public controversies regarding his faith in recent years and let his prolific acting roles speak for themselves instead.
As one of the most famous faces in Hollywood, Cruise has enjoyed unprecedented success but also weathered a fair share of turmoil and criticism over his long career spanning over 40 years and counting. However, his unwavering screen intensity and commitment to storytelling still draw audiences of all ages to this day. And Cruise shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon, with his signature death-defying stunt work and choice of ambitious action movie roles year after year.
What was Tom Cruise’s big breakout role?
Tom Cruise’s big breakout role came in the 1983 film Risky Business. Though he had acted in a few movies prior, it was his famous scene dancing in his underwear that propelled the 21-year-old Cruise to stardom and cemented his status as a Hollywood heartthrob. The coming-of-age comedy Risky Business grossed over $65 million and made Cruise a highly sought-after young talent in the industry.
How many Mission Impossible films has Tom Cruise starred in?
As of 2022, Tom Cruise has starred as special agent Ethan Hunt in six Mission Impossible films, starting with the first movie in 1996. The sequels are Mission Impossible II (2000), Mission Impossible III (2006), Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (2011), Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (2015), and Mission Impossible: Fallout (2018).
Cruise is renowned for pushing his physical abilities to the limit with incredibly dangerous stunts across the long-running action franchise, including the halo jump scenes in the most recent installments. Even approaching 60 years old, Cruise continues to perform these challenging stunts himself and plans to keep making more Mission Impossible sequels in coming years.
Why did Cruise take a break from Steven Spielberg collaborations in the mid-2000s?
Tom Cruise took a break from collaborating with acclaimed director Steven Spielberg in the mid-2000s largely due to public relations backlash regarding Cruise’s controversial promotion of Scientology at the time.
Both Viacom Chairman Redstone and Spielberg cut professional ties with Cruise following his famous 2005 incident on the Oprah Winfrey show where he jumped on her couch while declaring his love for then-girlfriend Katie Holmes. Cruise also faced criticism for openly denouncing Brooke Shields’ use of medication for postpartum depression. During this period, Cruise’s intense advocacy for Scientology principles led to widespread impressions that he had become strange, fanatical, and potentially unstable or unreliable.
Consequently, Paramount Pictures ended its long-running production deal with Cruise out of concerns the negative publicity could affect audiences and box office returns. Redstone and Spielberg likely worried further collaborations with Cruise could hurt their own reputations and business interests while the controversial views were fresh in the news cycle and Cruise remained reactive to critics.
Thankfully both Cruise and Spielberg later resumed collaborating peacefully on later projects like War of the Worlds 2 once the tensions had died down years later. But for a couple years, Cruise’s public behavior surrounding Scientology principles threatened key Hollywood relationships during an otherwise highly prolific and successful period of filmmaking.
Table 2: Key Controversies in Tom Cruise’s Career
|Advocacy for Scientology
|Proclaimed his faith on Oprah Show, openly criticized postpartum depression meds
|Paramount ended production deal over unstable image concerns
|Scientology recruitment video leak
|Secret video leaked of Cruise discussing Scientology recruitment
|Criticized as fanatical, confirmed controversial views
|Criticism of psychiatry
|Comments against use of chemical imbalances theory in depression treatment
|Proof of anti-psychiatry views tied to Scientology beliefs
Has Cruise won an Academy Award?
Despite being one of the most famous and successful Hollywood actors ever, Tom Cruise has actually never won an Oscar or even a Golden Globe despite three Academy Award and four Golden Globe nominations.
Cruise’s only Oscar nominations came from Best Actor for his roles in Born on the Fourth of July (1990), Jerry Maguire (1997), and Magnolia (2000). Many critics considered his lack of award recognition a significant snub and sign that his blockbuster action movie star status may have hurt perceptions of his actual acting chops and range.
Given Cruise’s longevity near the apex of the film industry across over 40 years and through multiple decades, his lack of major award recognition remains one of the more surprising factoids about his extraordinary career when viewed in retrospect. But that has done nothing to slow down his prolific acting output and box office dominance.
Unique and Interesting Facts about Tom Cruise
Besides his Scientology advocacy and extensive filmography, here are some other unique facts and eccentric aspects of Tom Cruise’s life story over the years:
- Suffered from dyslexia and bullying as a child
- Aspired to be a Catholic priest before pursuing acting
Weird or Fun Tom Cruise Facts
|Did all his own singing in Rock of Ages rock musical
|Learned to play the guitar and trained extensively to belt out rock songs
|Bought and owns his own private airplane
|Owns a Gulfstream IV to travel conveniently between filming locations
|Faced intense media scrutiny over his height
|Rumors emerged he wore secret lifts in shoes due to being slightly below average height for a leading man
- Performed actual HALO jump from 25,000 feet for Mission Impossible scene
- Fluent in French after attending school in Quebec as a kid
What films does Tom Cruise have coming up?
Now over 60 years old, Tom Cruise shows no signs of slowing down or stepping back from performing his own stunts any time soon. He has at least two major franchise sequels in development:
Mission Impossible 8 – Set to reunite Cruise with director Christopher McQuarrie for more death-defying action scenes and international spy missions as Ethan Hunt.
Top Gun: Maverick Sequel – After years of development hell, Cruise will reportedly reprise his role as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in a sequel to the long-awaited Top Gun follow up that finally arrived in 2022.
Additionally, Cruise is attached to star in Luna Park for Paramount Pictures – potentially launching a new high-concept sci-fi franchise if successful.
Between the Mission Impossible series showing no closure in sight, rumors of more Top Gun movies, and new original properties like Luna Park, Cruise remains as busy as ever on the acting front even after 40+ years of stardom at the top of Hollywood.
His continued box office viability and appeal to audiences young and old while still doing his own stunts makes Cruise practically peerless among famed actors at a similar stage in their careers. There appears no sign he plans to step away from acting anytime in the foreseeable future.
In conclusion, Tom Cruise’s long, winding career reveals someone exceptionally committed to his craft and willing to take major risks in order to create authentic, emotionally-impactful cinematic stories. He has enjoyed one of the most commercially successful acting careers ever, starring in over 40 major motion pictures that have grossed billions.
However, his prolific acting has not come without significant real-life drama, criticism, or controversy due to his association and advocacy for causes tied to Scientology principles over the years. During periods of his life, Cruise let his controversial religious beliefs dominate media discussions rather than simply letting his acting speak for itself. Thankfully today he largely avoids openly discussing the topic, though some critics still condemn Cruise privately due to lingering ties to Scientology.
While the average moviegoer clearly separates Cruise’s religion from their overall impressions of him, the controversies have likely unfairly cost him prestigious acting awards despite giving some of the most memorable performances of the era. He also endured relationship struggles and volatility in his personal and professional partnerships during the most intense phases of outspoken Scientology promotion and rejection of postpartum depression treatments in the medical field.
But no one can question Cruise’s impact on global cinematic pop culture thanks to iconic characters across films such as Top Gun, Rain Man, Jerry Maguire, Minority Report, and the long-running Mission Impossible series. Approaching his 60s, Cruise plans to keep audiences entertained and pushing his physical limits with ambitious action stunts for years to come. His staying power and continued box office prowess well into middle age is practically unmatched among Hollywood’s most famous modern actors.
While controversies will always follow and provoke some, Cruise lets his prolific acting resume stand on its own these days more than ever before. We should appreciate that he shows no signs of creative decline even four decades post his breakout role – defying typical limitations of action heroes.
Considering his wholehearted commitment to storytelling immersion and legendary intensity on screen, movie fans worldwide surely hope he continues gracing the silver screen chasing risky stunts for as long as humanly possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
How tall is Tom Cruise?
Tom Cruise’s official height is 5’7″ according to most sources, which is slightly below the average height for a leading Hollywood actor. This led to rumors that he wore secret lifts in his shoes, though Cruise claimed the rumors were false despite intense media scrutiny over his stature.
Is Tom Cruise a pilot in real life?
Yes, Tom Cruise is a licensed pilot in real life, having first earned his pilot’s license for fixed-wing aircrafts in 1994. He later trained extensively again before reprising his iconic Top Gun role of Maverick in the 2022 sequel, where he performed actual in-air stunt flying in fighter planes.
What was Tom Cruise’s second wife?
Tom Cruise’s second wife was actress Nicole Kidman. They starred together in Days of Thunder and married shortly after in 1990 before adopting two children together. After almost 11 years of marriage, Cruise and Kidman’s high-profile relationship ended in 2001. The cause of their sudden divorce after a long union was never fully revealed.
How much is Tom Cruise worth?
According to celebrity wealth estimators, Tom Cruise’s current net worth as of 2022 is approximately $600 million due largely to his prolific acting career, producer credits, and franchise earnings. For most years since the late 1980s, Cruise has been considered the highest paid movie star worldwide thanks to his films reliably bringing in huge box office receipts.
Why did Tom Cruise take a break from Hollywood in the early 2010s?
Tom Cruise took an uncharacteristic break from acting and producing films for a few years following the high-profile failure of his film Knight & Day in 2010. After over two decades of reliable box office success and typically appearing in a major film every year, Cruise’s first real critical and commercial failure in Knight & Day seemingly left him discouraged.
During this short-lived break between 2010-2011, Cruise focused more on his personal life and Scientology work. But he soon picked up where he left off with blockbusters like Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.