Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise rose quickly to become one of the best-known American actors in the world. Born in Syracuse, New York, he moved around throughout his childhood, including a period in Canada. After graduating from high school in New Jersey, he moved first to New York and then to Los Angeles to pursue acting. He made his film debut in the Brooke Shields vehicle "Endless Love" (1981). His next role as an aggressive military cadet opposite Timothy Hutton and Sean Penn in "Taps" (1981) caught people's attention. He joined another group of young stars, including Patrick Swayze and Rob Lowe, in Francis Ford Coppola's adaptation of the S.E. Hinton novel "The Outsiders" (1983). His starring role as schoolboy-turned-pimp Joel in "Risky Business" broke him as one of Hollywood's newest celebrities. The long shoot schedule of Ridley Scott's fantasy epic "Legend" (1985) briefly took him out of the public eye, but he bounced back with one of the iconic roles of the 1980s. Playing Navy fighter pilot Maverick in Tony Scott's "Top Gun" (1986) turned Cruise into a superstar. He began branching into roles with more heft at the same time when he joined Paul Newman for "The Color of Money" (1986). He continued in that vein during the next several years, working with high profile directors and co-stars in prestige projects. He partnered with Dustin Hoffman for "Rain Man" (1988), Oliver Stone for "Born on the Fourth of July", and Jack Nicholson for "A Few Good Men" (1993), the first two of which were Oscar-winners for Best Picture. The actor picked up his first Academy Award nomination for "Born on the Fourth of July." While it didn't garner the same level of critical acclaim, his role as Anne Rice's vampire Lestat opposite a young Brad Pitt in "Interview with a Vampire" (1994) became as well-remembered as any of the actor's roles. His 11-year marriage to Nicole Kidman saw the couple partner on three films including Ron Howard's "Far and Away" (1992) and Stanley Kubrick's "Eyes Wide Shut" (1999). By the '90s, he had his pick of roles and began mixing in big-budget populist fare like "Mission: Impossible" (1996), based on the '60s television show of the same name. His role as secret agent Ethan Hunt proved popular enough for a series of sequels that would extend for more than two decades. Cruise also notched a second Oscar nomination for his role as a sports agent gaining a conscious in Cameron Crowe's "Jerry Maguire" (1996). He worked with another rising filmmaker when he played motivational speaker Frank Mackey in Paul Thomas Anderson's "Magnolia" (1999), a role that earned him another Academy Award nomination. After the turn of the century, Cruise bounced between effects-heavy fare like "Minority Report" (2002) and "War of the Worlds" (2005) to dramas such as "Lions for Lambs" (2007) with Robert Redford and Meryl Streep. He also proved himself willing to puncture his own inflated image, with comedic cameos in "Austin Powers in Goldmember" (2002) and "Tropic Thunder" (2008), and his musical turn in "Rock of Ages" (2012). He similarly adopted a self-effacing posture when fans began noticing that there was a scene of the actor running in nearly all his films. Over the years, he found himself a magnet for the tabloids thanks to his close ties to the Church of Scientology and his celebrity marriages to Kidman and Katie Holmes. Cruise added another action franchise to his resume when he jumped into the role of Lee Child's literary tough guy "Jack Reacher" (2012). He would reprise the role in "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back" (2016). After starring in the big-budget reboot of "The Mummy" (2017) and the drama "American Made" (2017), he returned to the role that once cemented his superstar status. More than 20 years after the original, Cruise climbed back into the cockpit to revive Maverick for a sequel to his 1986 hit "Top Gun: Maverick" (2020).