Tom Cruise (born Thomas Cruise Mapother IV; July 3, 1962) is an American actor and filmmaker. Cruise has been nominated for three Academy Awards and has won three Golden Globe Awards. He started his career at age 19 in the 1981 film Endless Love. After portraying supporting roles in Taps (1981) and The Outsiders (1983), his first leading role was in the romantic comedy Risky Business, released in August 1983. Cruise became a full-fledged movie star after starring as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in the action drama Top Gun (1986). Since 1996 he has been well known for his role as secret agent Ethan Hunt in the Mission: Impossible film series, which has a fifth film set for release in 2015.
One of the biggest movie stars in Hollywood, Cruise starred in several more successful films in the 1980s, including the dramas The Color of Money (1986), Cocktail (1988), Rain Man (1988), and Born on the Fourth of July (1989). In the 1990s, he starred in a number of hit films, including the romance Far and Away (1992), the drama A Few Good Men (1992), the legal thriller The Firm (1993), the romantic horror film Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994), the romantic comedy-drama sports film Jerry Maguire (1996), the erotic thriller Eyes Wide Shut, directed by Stanley Kubrick, and the drama Magnolia (both 1999).
In the 2000s, Cruise starred in a number of successful films, including the science fiction thrillers Vanilla Sky (2001) and Minority Report (2002), the epic war film The Last Samurai (2003), the crime film Collateral (2004), in which he portrays a hitman, the science fiction disaster thriller film War of the Worlds (2005), the war drama Lions for Lambs (2007), the historical thriller Valkyrie (2008), the action comedy Knight and Day (2010), the thriller Jack Reacher (2012), the post-apocalyptic science fiction film Oblivion (2013), and the military science fiction film Edge of Tomorrow (2014). In 2012, Cruise was Hollywood’s highest-paid actor. Fifteen of his films grossed over $100 million domestically; twenty-one have grossed in excess of $200 million worldwide.
He won Golden Globes for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture in Drama in 1990 for Born on the Fourth of July; Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture in Comedy/Musical in 1997 for Jerry Maguire; and Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture in 2000 for Magnolia. In 2002, the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films named Cruise Best Actor for Vanilla Sky. In 2003, he won an AFI Movie of the Year Award for The Last Samurai and an Empire Award for Best Actor for Minority Report.
Cruise is an outspoken advocate for the Church of Scientology and its associated social programs, and credits it for helping him overcome dyslexia. His criticisms of psychiatry and anti-depressant drugs, and efforts to promote Scientology as an religion in Europe and as a therapy for 9/11 rescue workers sparked controversies, as did a leaked video interview of him discussing Scientology.
Cruise was born as Thomas Cruise Mapother IV in Syracuse, New York, the son of Mary Lee (née Pfeiffer), a special education teacher, and Thomas Cruise Mapother III (1934-84), an electrical engineer. Cruise has three sisters, Lee Anne, Marian, and Cass. Cruise’s surname originates from his great-grandfather, born Thomas Cruise O’Mara, who was renamed “Thomas Cruise Mapother”. Cruise is of Irish, German, and English ancestry. One of his paternal great-great-great-grandfathers, Patrick Russell Cruise, was born in north County Dublin, in 1799; he married Teresa Johnson in Warrenstown House, County Meath, in 1825. They left Ireland for America that same year and settled in New York.
He grew up in near poverty, and had a Catholic upbringing. The family was dominated by his abusive father, whom Cruise has described as “a merchant of chaos.”
He was beaten by his father, who Cruise has said was a bully and coward.
He was the kind of person where, if something goes wrong, they kick you. It was a great lesson in my life–how he’d lull you in, make you feel safe and then, bang! For me, it was like, ‘There’s something wrong with this guy. Don’t trust him. Be careful around him.’
Cruise’s family spent part of his childhood in Canada. They moved to the Ottawa suburb of Beacon Hill in late 1971 so that Cruise’s father could take a position as a defense consultant with the Canadian Armed Forces. There, Cruise attended the just opened Robert Hopkins Public School for much of grade four as well as grade five. In grade four, Cruise first became involved in drama, under the tutelage of George Steinburg. Cruise and six other boys put on an improvised play to music called It at the Carleton Elementary School drama festival. Drama organizer Val Wright, who was in the audience that night, reflected that “the movement and improvisation were excellent. It was a classic ensemble piece.” Cruise also enjoyed sports at the school including playing floor hockey, though he was known more for his aggression than his talent. For grade six Cruise went to Henry Munro Middle School. However, in the spring of that year Cruise’s mother left his father, taking Cruise and his sisters back to the US. His father died of cancer.
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. In total, Cruise attended 15 schools in 14 years, including stints in at least two suburban New Jersey towns, including Glen Ridge.
Cruise first appeared in a bit part in the 1981 film Endless Love, followed by a major supporting role as a crazed military academy student in Taps later that year. In 1983, Cruise was part of the ensemble cast of The Outsiders. That same year he appeared in All the Right Moves and Risky Business, which has been described as “A Generation X classic, and a career-maker for Tom Cruise”, and which, along with 1986’s Top Gun, cemented his status as a superstar. Cruise also played the male lead (Jack O’ the Green) in Legend (released 1986).
Cruise followed up Top Gun with The Color of Money, which came out the same year, and which paired him with Paul Newman. 1988 saw him star in Cocktail, which earned him a nomination for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor. Later that year he starred with Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man, which won the Academy Award for Best Film and Cruise the Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor. Cruise portrayed real-life paralyzed Vietnam War veteran Ron Kovic in 1989’s Born on the Fourth of July, which earned him a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama, the Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor, the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Motion Picture Actor, a nomination for BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, and Cruise’s first Best Actor Academy Award nomination.
Cruise’s next films were Days of Thunder (1990) and Far and Away (1992), both of which co-starred then-wife Nicole Kidman as his love interest. 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 initially quite outspoken in her criticism of Cruise having been cast in the film, as Julian Sands was her first choice. Upon seeing the film however, she paid $7,740 for a two-page ad in Daily Variety praising his performance and apologizing for her previous doubts about him.
In 1996, Cruise appeared as superspy Ethan Hunt in the reboot of Mission: Impossible, which he produced. It was a box office success, although it received criticism regarding the Jim Phelps character being a villain despite being a protagonist of the original television series. In 1996, he took on the title role in Jerry Maguire, for which he earned a Golden Globe and his second nomination for an Academy Award. In 1999, Cruise costarred with Kidman in the erotic Stanley Kubrick film Eyes Wide Shut, and took a rare supporting role as a motivational speaker Frank T.J. Mackey in Magnolia, for which he received another Golden Globe and nomination for an Academy Award.
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 $547M in worldwide figures, like its predecessor, being the third highest grossing film of the year, despite being a success it along with its predecessor received a mixed reception. Cruise received an MTV Movie Award as Best Male Performance for this film. His next five films were major critical and commercial successes. The following year Cruise starred in the romantic thriller Vanilla Sky (2001) with Cameron Diaz and Penélope Cruz. 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.
In 2003, he starred in the Edward Zwick’s historical drama The Last Samurai, for which he received a Golden Globe nomination as best actor. In 2005, Cruise worked again with Steven Spielberg in War of the Worlds, a loose adaptation of the H. G. Wells novel of the same name, which became the fourth highest grossing film of the year with US$591.4 million worldwide. Also in 2005, he won the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Male Movie Star, and the MTV Generation Award. Cruise was nominated for seven Saturn Awards between 2002 and 2009, winning once. Nine of the ten films he starred in during the decade made over $100 million at the box office.
In 2006, he returned to his role as Ethan Hunt in the third installment of the Mission Impossible film series, Mission: Impossible III. The film was more positively received by critics than the previous films in the series, it grossed nearly $400 million at the box office. In 2007, Cruise took a rare supporting role for the second time in Lions for Lambs, which was a commercial disappointment. This was followed by an unrecognizable appearance as “Les Grossman” in the 2008 comedy Tropic Thunder with Ben Stiller, Jack Black, and Robert Downey, Jr. This performance earned Cruise a Golden Globe nomination. Cruise played the central role in the historical thriller Valkyrie released on December 25, 2008 to box office success.
In March 2010, Cruise completed filming the action-comedy Knight and Day, in which he re-teamed with former costar Cameron Diaz; the film was released on June 23, 2010. On February 9, 2010, Cruise confirmed that he would star in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, the fourth installment in the Mission: Impossible series. The film was released in December 2011 to high critical acclaim and box office success. Unadjusted for ticket price inflation, it is Cruise’s biggest commercial success to date.
On May 6, 2011, Cruise was awarded a humanitarian award from the Simon Wiesenthal Centre and Museum of Tolerance for his work as a dedicated philanthropist. In mid-2011, Cruise started shooting the movie Rock of Ages, in which he played the character Stacee Jaxx. The film was released in June 2012.
Cruise starred as Jack Reacher, an adaptation of British author Lee Child’s 2005 novel One Shot. The film was released on December 21, 2012. It met with positive reviews from critics and was a box office success grossing $216,568,266 worldwide. In 2013, he starred in the science fiction film Oblivion based on director Joseph Kosinski graphic novel of the same name. The film met with mixed reviews and grossed $285,600,588 worldwide. It also starred Morgan Freeman and Olga Kurylenko.
As of 2014 Cruise’s films have grossed about $7.9 billion worldwide.
Cruise is set to return as Ethan Hunt and produce the fifth installment of the Mission: Impossible series., along with Simon Pegg as Benji and Jeremy Renner as William Brandt, which will be directed by his frequent collaborator Christopher McQuarrie.
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.
Cruise is noted as having negotiated some of the most lucrative film 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 film franchise. Epstein also contends that the public obsession with Cruise’s tabloid controversies obscures full appreciation of Cruise’s exceptional commercial prowess.
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.
Management of United Artists
In November 2006, Cruise and Paula Wagner announced that they had taken over United Artists film studio. Cruise acts as a producer and star in films for United Artists, while Wagner serves 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 percent of the studio.
Cruise has been married three times and has three children (two adopted and one biological).
Cruise had a relationship with Risky Business co-star Rebecca De Mornay from 1983 to 1985. Singer and actress Cher says that she dated Cruise in 1985.
Cruise married actress Mimi Rogers on May 9, 1987. The marriage lasted two years, and their divorce was finalized on February 4, 1990. Rogers introduced Cruise to Scientology.
Cruise met his second wife, actress Nicole Kidman, on the set of their film Days of Thunder in 1989. The couple married on December 24, 1990. Cruise and Kidman adopted two children, Isabella and Connor Antony. In February 2001 Cruise filed for divorce from Kidman while she was unknowingly pregnant. The pregnancy ended with a miscarriage. In 2007 Kidman clarified rumours of a miscarriage early in her marriage to Cruise, saying in an interview, “It was wrongly reported,” and explaining that she had actually had an ectopic pregnancy. Before her next marriage, to Keith Urban, Kidman spoke of how much she still loved Cruise, saying in 2006: “He was huge; still is. To me, he was just Tom, but to everybody else, he is huge. But he was lovely to me. And I loved him. I still love him.”
Cruise was next romantically linked with Penélope Cruz, his co-star in Vanilla Sky. The relationship ended in 2004. An article in the October 2012 issue of Vanity Fair states that several sources have said that after the breakup with Cruz, the Church of Scientology launched a secret project to find Cruise a new girlfriend. According to those sources, a series of “auditions” of Scientologist actresses resulted in a short-lived relationship with British-Iranian actress Nazanin Boniadi, who subsequently left Scientology. The Church and Cruise’s lawyers issued strongly worded denials and threatened to sue, accusing Vanity Fair of “shoddy journalism” and “religious bigotry.” Journalist Roger Friedman later reported that he received an email from director and ex-Scientologist Paul Haggis confirming the story.
In April 2005, Cruise began dating actress Katie Holmes. On April 27 that year, Cruise and Holmes – dubbed “TomKat” by the media – made their first public appearance together in Rome. A month later, Cruise declared his love for Holmes on The Oprah Winfrey Show, famously jumping up and down on Winfrey’s couch during the show. On October 6, 2005, Cruise and Holmes announced they were expecting a child; their daughter, Suri, was born in 2006. On November 18, 2006, Holmes and Cruise were married at the 15th-century Odescalchi Castle in Bracciano, Italy, in a Scientology ceremony attended by many Hollywood stars. The actors’ publicist said the couple had “officialized” their marriage in Los Angeles the day before the Italian ceremony. There has been widespread speculation that the marriage was arranged by the Church of Scientology. David Miscavige, the head of the Church of Scientology, served as Cruise’s best man. On June 29, 2012, it was announced that Holmes had filed for divorce from Cruise after five and a half years of marriage. On July 9, 2012, it was announced that the couple had signed a divorce settlement worked out by their lawyers. Because New York law requires that all divorce documents remain sealed, the exact terms of the settlement are not publicly available.
Cruise is also the first cousin of actor William Mapother, with whom he has appeared in five films.
Cruise is an outspoken advocate for the Church of Scientology and its associated social programs. He became involved with Scientology in 1990 through his first wife, Mimi Rogers. Cruise struggled with dyslexia at an early age and has said that Scientology, specifically the L. Ron Hubbard Study Tech, helped him overcome dyslexia. In addition to promoting various programs that introduce people to Scientology, Cruise has campaigned for Scientology to be recognized as a religion in Europe. In 2005, the Paris city council revealed that Cruise had lobbied officials Nicolas Sarkozy and Jean-Claude Gaudin, described him as a spokesman and militant for Scientology, and barred any further dealings with him. Cruise co-founded and raised donations for Downtown Medical to offer New York City 9/11 rescue workers detoxification therapy based on the works of L. Ron Hubbard. This drew criticism from the medical profession as well as firefighters. For these activities and others, Scientology leader, David Miscavige, created the Scientology Freedom Medal of Valor and awarded it to Cruise in late 2004.
In January 2004, Cruise made the controversial statement “I think psychiatry should be outlawed.” Further controversy erupted in 2005 after he openly criticized actress Brooke Shields for using the drug Paxil (paroxetine), an anti-depressant to which Shields attributes her recovery from postpartum depression after the birth of her first daughter in 2003. Cruise asserted that there is no such thing as a chemical imbalance, and that psychiatry is a form of pseudoscience. Shields responded that Cruise “should stick to saving the world from aliens and let women who are experiencing postpartum depression decide what treatment options are best for them.” This led to a heated argument between Matt Lauer and Cruise on NBC’s Today on June 24, 2005. Medical authorities view Cruise’s comments as furthering the social stigma of mental illness. Shields herself called Cruise’s comments “a disservice to mothers everywhere.” In late August 2006, Cruise apologized in person to Shields for his comments. Scientology is well known for its opposition to mainstream psychiatry and the psychoactive drugs which are routinely prescribed. It was reported that Cruise’s anti-psychiatry actions led to a rift with director Stephen Spielberg. Spielberg had reportedly mentioned in Cruise’s presence the name of a doctor friend who prescribed psychiatric medication . Shortly thereafter, the doctor’s office was picketed by Scientologists, reportedly angering Spielberg.
In March 2004, his publicist of 14 years, Pat Kingsley, resigned. Cruise replaced her with his sister, fellow Scientologist Lee Anne DeVette, who served in that role until November 2005. DeVette was replaced with Paul Bloch from the publicity firm Rogers and Cowan. Such restructuring is seen as a move to curtail publicity of his views on Scientology, as well as the controversy surrounding his relationship with Katie Holmes.
On January 15, 2008, a video produced by the Church of Scientology featuring an interview with Cruise was posted on YouTube, showing Cruise discussing what being a Scientologist means to him. The Church of Scientology said the video had been “pirated and edited”, and was taken from a three-hour video produced for members of Scientology. YouTube removed the Cruise video from their site under threat of litigation. After YouTube investigated this claim, they found that the video did not breach copyright law, as it is covered by the fair use clause. It was subsequently reinstated back on the site, and as of January 2014, the video has achieved 9 million views. YouTube has declined to remove it again, due to the popularity of the video, and subsequent changes to copyright policy of the website.
In 2013, Cruise stated that ex-wife Katie Holmes divorced him in part to protect the couple’s daughter Suri from Scientology. He also said that Suri is no longer a practicing member of the church.
The 2015 documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief cast a spotlight on Cruise’s role in Scientology. The film alleges that Cruise used Sea Org workers as a source of free labor. In the film, Cruise’s former auditor Marty Rathbun claims that wife Nicole Kidman was wiretapped on Tom Cruise’s suggestion.
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 film 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 magazine’s 2006 Power List, being the highest ranked actor. The same year, Forbes magazine ranked him as the world’s most powerful celebrity.
In August 2006, Paramount cited Cruise’s “recent conduct” as the reason they did not renew their production contract with him. In addition, Marketing Evaluations reported that Cruise’s Q score (a measure of the popularity of celebrities), had fallen 40 percent.
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.
During Cruise’s marriage to Nicole Kidman, the couple endured a great deal of public speculation about their sex life and rumors that Cruise was gay. In 1998, he successfully sued the Daily Express, a British tabloid which alleged that his marriage to Kidman was a sham designed to cover up his homosexuality. In May 2001 he filed a lawsuit against gay porn actor Chad Slater. Slater had allegedly told the celebrity magazine Actustar that he had had an affair with Cruise. Cruise denied this, and in August 2001, Slater was ordered to pay $10 million to Cruise in damages after Slater declared he could not afford to defend himself against the suit and would therefore default. Cruise also sued Bold Magazine publisher Michael Davis, who alleged but never confirmed that he had video that would prove Cruise was gay. The suit was dropped in exchange for a public statement by Davis that the video was not of Cruise, and that Cruise was heterosexual.
After The Beast? ‘s publication of their 50 Most Loathsome People of 2004, which included Cruise, Cruise’s lawyer Bertram Fields threatened to sue. Seeing the opportunity for nationwide exposure, The Beast actively encouraged the lawsuit. No lawsuit was ever filed and Cruise was included more prominently in the 2005 list. In 2006, Cruise sued cybersquatter Jeff Burgar to obtain control of the TomCruise.com domain name. When owned by Burgar, the domain redirected to information about Cruise on Celebrity1000.com. The decision to turn TomCruise.com over to Cruise was handed down by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on July 5, 2006. In 2009, Sapir filed a suit charged that his phone had been wiretapped at Cruise’s behest; That suit was dropped due to statute of limitations.
In October 2012, Cruise filed a lawsuit against In Touch and Life & Style for defamation after the magazines claimed Cruise had “abandoned” his six-year-old daughter. During deposition, Cruise acknowledged that 110 days had passed without him seeing her. The suit was ultimately dropped.