Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Ryan Neal
Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: RidiculouslyExtraordinary. Posted by Ryan Neal
Mission: Impossible Series, Top Gun, Risky Business
Currently Known For:
Actor and Producer
Mission: Impossible Series, Top Gun, Risky Business
“I’m an all or nothing kind of person and when I become interested in something, I give it my all.” From dancing in his underwear in Risky Business to jumping on a couch and declaring his love for Katie Holmes on The Oprah Winfrey Show, actor and producer Tom Cruise certainly knows how to make a lasting impression. Cruise launched his career at the age of 19 in Endless Love (1981) before catching a series of breaks with the 1983 comedy Risky Business and the 1986 action flick Top Gun. From there, the sky was the limit as he added in credits in The Color of Money (1986), Rain Man (1988), and Born on the Fourth of July (1989).
By the 1990s, Cruise was a household name in Hollywood and starred in A Few Good Men (1992), The Firm (1993), and Jerry Maguire (1996) in addition to landing his first recurring film role as agent Ethan Hunt in the Mission: Impossible film series. Fast forward two decades later and he’s reprised his role as Hunt numerous times, taken on another starring role in Jack Reacher, and become one of the highest grossing actors in the world! Along the way, he’s earned dozens of awards in addition to turning heads for his prominent role in the Church of Scientology as well as his highly publicized marriages to actresses Nicole Kidman and Katie Holmes. So, what’s the Scientologist’s secret to success and his plans for the future? Let’s find out!
“I’ve wanted to make movies my whole life… I feel very privileged. I get to do something that I love to do. And I guess you could say, I’ve dedicated my life to it.” Thomas Cruise Mapother IV came into this world on July 3, 1962, in Syracuse, New York as the only son of four children born to a special education teacher and an electrical engineer from Louisville, Kentucky. Growing up in poverty, Cruise’s childhood was overshadowed by his abusive father who moved the family from their native New York to Canada where he took a job with the Canadian Armed Forces in Beacon Hill, Ottawa. Sadly, the move was only the first of many as Cruise started over at 13 different schools and five different high schools.
Often dodging his father’s fist, Cruise struggled to make friends and spent a lot of time alone creating skits to entertain himself after discovering acting as a fourth grader at his school’s drama festival. By high school, his passion for performing was significant as he joined the school’s choir and glee clubs before a teacher encouraged him to try out for the production of Guys and Dolls. “I got the role of Nathan Detroit. And onstage, working, playing the role, I felt just really happy. At last, I was working in something I understood,” Cruise later said. “See, school for me was really difficult because of my problems with reading. I was dyslexic. Finally, on stage, I felt I had something I felt good about.”
Despite finding something he felt confident about, Cruise struggled over the next few years before his mother finally left his father in 1974 and moved the family back to the United States. After high school, he toyed with the idea of becoming an actor but accepted a church scholarship and enrolled at a local Franciscan seminary in Cincinnati. “I’ve had such extremes in my life. From being this kind of wild kid to one year studying to be a Franciscan priest at the seminary… I was very frustrated,” Cruise said. “I didn’t have a lot of friends. The closest people around me were my family and I think they felt a little nervous about me because I had a lot of energy and I couldn’t stick to one thing… If I worked in an ice cream store—and I’ve worked in a lot of them—I would be the best for two weeks. Then I was always quitting or getting fired because I was bored.”
Remembering his enjoyment from working in Guys and Dolls and knowing he loved women too much to become a priest, Cruise dropped out of seminary and moved to New York in the early 1980s. Shortly after his arrival in the Big Apple, he landed his first big part in the 1981 film, Endless Love, which was an eye-opening experience for the aspiring actor with no real experience in front of the camera. He then landed a part on Taps (1981) and starred opposite Sean Penn and Timothy Hutton. “I felt like it was a chance for me, and a beginning,” Cruise said of the film. “Me and Penn, I really don’t know if we ever slept during that movie. We’d stay up all night and just talk about the film and acting… we were really scared and nervous and excited—we didn’t know what was going to happen. It was a special time in my life because it was my first movie, and it was Sean’s first movie. Hutton had just won the Academy Award and he was all excited. You felt that something special was happening.”
“When I first started out, all the attention could be a bit unnerving especially when people stared. Now I find the best thing is to just relax. Being recognized is just something you have to get used to.” Something special certainly happened on the set of Taps in 1981 but it didn’t prevent Cruise from experiencing a string of setbacks. He appeared in flops like Losin’ It and learned a few hard lessons as an actor before he caught another major break and joined an ensemble cast in The Outsiders in 1983.
“I learned the things I wanted and the things I didn’t want,” Cruise said of his transition to stardom. “I got a new agent and thought, ‘I have to work with good people and good directors and grow.’ I heard about the movie and I came out to Los Angeles and stayed at Emilio Estevez’s house over Christmas. And I stayed at the Penn’s house in the summer. That’s when Sean was doing Fast Times. I just went to Francis (Ford Coppola) and said, ‘Look, I don’t care what role you give me, I really want to work with you. I want to be there with all these young actors.’ That was a hell of a good time. I just wanted a wide body of work…”
Filming The Outsiders in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Cruise returned to Los Angeles where his agent set up a cold reading for a film called Risky Business. Although the reading didn’t go well, Cruise landed the part and turned heads when he danced across the silver screen in his underwear in the 1983 coming-of-age comedy. “It was (director Paul) Brickman’s idea,” Cruise said of the iconic scene. “What he did was he set up the frame of the shot. He showed it to me and said, ‘Let’s really play it and use the whole house.’ We had talked earlier and he said, ‘Look, I want Bob Seger’s ‘Old Time Rock and Roll’ or maybe some Elvis, but if you come up with something else, great.’ I went through tape after tape. In the end, nothing beat Bob Seger. So, I took the candlestick, and I said, ‘How about making this the audience?’ And then I just started ad-libbing, using it as a guitar, jumping on the table. I waxed half the floor and kept the other half dirty so I could slide in my socks… Originally, it was only one line in the script: ‘Joel dances in underwear through the house.’ We shot it in half a day.”
Cruise’s dance moves in Risky Business pushed his career even further and made him a household name as he picked up his next starring role as Maverick in Top Gun in 1986. He joined Paul Newman in The Color of Money (1986) and then starred in Cocktail before taking a step back from his overnight fame to determine what he truly wanted in his career. “Don’t get me wrong, I want to be in this position. But I get inundated with so much information… a lot of the challenge for me right now is simply to get my life together,” he said at the time.
It didn’t take Cruise long to figure out stardom was exactly what he wanted as he returned to the silver screen opposite Dustin Hoffman in the Academy Award-winning film, Rain Man, in 1988. He then starred as a paralyzed Vietnam War veteran in the 1989 film Born on the Fourth of July and earned a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor, a Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor, and a People’s Choice Award for Favorite Motion Picture Actor for his performance. By the 1990s, he was one of Hollywood’s hottest stars and snagged leading roles in Days of Thunder (1990) and Far and Away (1992), both of which co-starred his wife, actress Nicole Kidman.
Joining Brad Pitt, Antonio Banderas, and Christian Slater in Interview with the Vampire (1994), Cruise starred in and produced the Mission: Impossible reboot in 1996. The film was another box office success and sealed Cruise’s fate as one of Hollywood’s hottest leading men as he earned a Golden Globe Award for his performance in Jerry Maguire (1996) and joined his wife for another film, Eyes Wide Shut (1999). By the new millennium, he reprised his role as superspy Ethan Hunt in Mission: Impossible 2 (2000) and cashed in on his growing fame with credits in Vanilla Sky (2001), Minority Report (2002), The Last Samurai (2003), War of the Worlds (2005), Mission: Impossible III (2006), and Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol (2011).
Over the last seven years, Cruise’s career as an actor and producer has taken a backseat to his personal life and his involvement with the Church of Scientology (more on that later!). He starred in Rock of Ages (2012), One Shot (2012), and Oblivion (2013) before he reprised his role as Hunt in Mission: Impossible—Rogue Nation (2015). In 2017, he starred in the reboot of The Mummy and, a year later, returned to the silver screen as Hunt in the sixth installment of Mission: Impossible—Fallout (2018). So, what’s been going on in his personal life to slow down his stellar career as one of Hollywood’s highest paid actors?Life Today: Marriages, Divorces, and the Church of Scientology
In his early career, Cruise was well-known for dating older women especially after his high-profile romances with singer-songwriter Patti Scialfa, Cher, and his Risky Business co-star Rebecca De Mornay. In 1987, he married actress Mimi Rogers who introduced him to the Church of Scientology and forever changed his life. Although the marriage ended in 1990, Cruise fell deeper in love with Scientology and happily shared his beliefs and his lifestyle with his Days of Thunder co-star Nicole Kidman. Cruise and Kidman wed on December 24, 1990, and started a family a few years later with the adoption of daughter Isabella Jane in 1992 and Connor Antony in 1995. Despite the joys of parenthood, Cruise and Kidman separated and divorced in 2001 with Kidman still very much in love with her husband. “He was huge; still is. To me, he was just Tom, but to everybody else, he is huge,” she said. “But he was lovely to me. And I loved him. I still love him.”
Cruise dated his Vanilla Sky co-star Penelope Cruz and British-Iranian actress Nazanin Boniadi before he fell in love with actress Katie Holmes in 2005. Quickly dubbed “TomKat,” the pair was Hollywood’s hottest couple as Cruise publicly declared his love for Holmes on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Following his enthusiastic declaration, Holmes and Cruise confirmed they were expecting a child and welcomed their daughter, Suri, into the world in April 2006. Seven months later on November 18, 2006, they exchanged vows in front of hundreds of their friends and family in a Scientology ceremony held at a castle in Italy.
Over the next six years, things seemed fine for the family of three until the media learned that Holmes filed for divorce in June 2012 after growing tired of the Church of Scientology’s control over her life. The divorce was finalized on July 9, 2012, as Holmes settled down in New York City with Suri. In the years since, Cruise has kept a low profile despite his growing ties to and his leadership in the Church of Scientology. In fact, many believe that his responsibilities in the church are what’s keeping him from taking on more roles in Hollywood. Whether or not that’s true, we may never know as the former Risky Business star remains tight-lipped about his faith and his future!