Thomas Cruise Mapother IV was born on
the 3rd of July, 1962 (eerily similar to his film Born on
the 4th of July), in Syracuse, New York. He was the only boy
of four children. Since his father was an electrical engineer,
he must have inherited his love for acting from his mother,
who was a teacher.
One of the reasons why he is such a well-grounded
human being is because of his difficult upbringing. His family
had to get by with little money after his parents divorced
when he was only 12.
In his search of fame, Cruise attended
drama classes and auditioned for various TV commercials. His
efforts were unsuccessful, but they led to his landing a small
role in the 1980 movie Endless Love.
His first major role in Taps originally
consisted of one line, but the director was so taken with
his performance that he decided to offer him the third biggest
role in the movie. Cruise was afraid of the challenge associated
with such a role, but later accepted it, prepared for such
He was very alluring and enthusiastic
in his teen roles during the early 80's, but he quickly moved
on to more adult roles and movie star status. By the early
90's, he moved up the ranks to become one of the most respected
and well-paid superstars of his generation. Basically, any
movie that featured Cruise was a box-office hit.
His acting career really began because
he injured his knee in high school and was forced to quit
the amateur wrestling team. He took on the role of Nathan
Detroit in the high school production of Guys and Dolls. He
was so infatuated with acting in high school that he dropped
out during his senior year and went on to pursue his dream.
He arrived in LA in 81 and met Paula Wagner,
an agent at Creative Artists Agency. After his primitive roles
in Endless Love and Taps, he landed the starring role in Losin'
He was cast in 1983 in The Outsiders,
a Francis Ford Coppola production. He starred alongside a
talented young cast that included hotshots such as Matt Dillon,
Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe, C. Thomas Howell, and Ralph Macchio.
This role became a stepping stone for the rest of his career,
especially for his role in Risky Business that same year.
His popularity took a beating in movies
like All the Right Moves in 1983, followed by Legend in 1985.
Cruise's career began to solidify during his signature hit
of the 1980s, Top Gun.
Another big success was Cruise's role
in The Color of Money, alongside Paul Newman in 1986. This
Martin Scorsese production moved his professional image from
the boy-next-door to a more confident and cocky young man
with an attitude. This was later portrayed in Cocktail (1988)
and Days of Thunder (1990).
He proved his dramatic talents in the
1988 drama Rain Man, where he co-starred with Oscar-winner
Dustin Hoffman. Oliver Stone's Born on the Fourth of July
(1989) earned him a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his hard-hitting
portrayal of anti-war activist Ron Kovic.
Cruise fell short for his role in Far
and Away (1992) with co-star Nicole Kidman, who he later married
in 1990 after sharing the screen once again in Days of Thunder.
His commercial comeback began with movies
like A Few Good Men (1992), where he successfully confronted
the legendary Jack Nicholson. He played a lawyer once again
in the thriller The Firm (1993). Both of these movies provided
great box-office returns.
Striving to take on even bigger roles
(and paychecks), he starred in Interview With The Vampire
(1994), alongside Brad Pitt; and Mission: Impossible (1996),
based on a 1960's TV show, which had a huge budget of approximately
$67 million, and was long-awaited by fans.
Now a producer and actor, Cruise's resume
also includes Jerry Maguire, with the pouty-lipped Renee Zellweger,
Eyes Wide Shut, Magnolia, and the Summer 2000 mega blockbuster,
Mission: Impossible 2.
Cruise and his wife of 10 years, Nicole
Kidman, filed for divorce in February 2001.
He has since been seen with Spanish beauty
Penelope Cruz, his Vanilla Sky co-star. Keeping with the science-fiction
theme of Vanilla Sky, Cruise's next starring role is Steven
Spielberg's Minority Report. A third Mission Impossible is
rumored to be in the works.