In 1975, if you had told 13 year old Tommy Mapother who was living on Taylorville Road in Louisville, Kentucky and attending Sacred Heart School, that in the not too distant future he would be considered one of the top movie stars of all time, he would have thought you were crazy. Nonetheless, this young man born in Syracuse, New York in 1962 was destined to become Tom Cruise, one of the highest paid and most sought after actors in screen history.
Because of his father’s job, Tom had a nomadic childhood and by the time he was 14, he had attended 15 different schools in the United States and Canada. He was diagnosed as dyslexic and was not particularly successful in school. In 1976, he spent one year (his Freshman year in High School) at St. Francis Seminary, a Franciscan school in Cincinnati at the behest of his Grandfather who offered to pay for his education. Contrary to rumors, Tom never considered becoming a priest. He simply attended St. Francis because it provided him with the opportunity for a better education. Because his Grandfather refused to pay for his sisters to attend school as well, Tom left St. Francis after 1 year, and returned to Louisville where he spent his Sophomore year of High School at St. Xavier High School. His Mom, Mary Lee remarried in 1978 and the new family moved to a big house on Washington Street in Glen Ridge, New Jersey where Tom attended Glen Ridge High School for his junior and senior years. He played soccer and was on the wrestling team, but because of a knee injury he suffered when he slipped down a flight of stairs at home, he was unable to participate in sports later in his senior year, and became interested in acting when a teacher suggested he try out for the school play. He did, and he got the part of Nathan Detroit in the school production of "Guys and Dolls". In addition, in the spring and summer of 1980, he performed in a dinner theater production of "Godspell". After graduation in June of 1980, Tom borrowed $800 from his stepdad Jack, loaded up his old Pinto and moved to New York to become an actor. He found an apartment, worked as a busboy at Mortimer’s restaurant, and acted as the Assistant Superintendent for a building on Amsterdam Avenue in order to make ends meet while attending acting classes at the Neighborhood Playhouse and auditioning for television and movie roles. He landed his first role, a small part in the 1981 film "Endless Love". He found out he had the part, when he hitchhiked home to New Jersey after his car wouldn’t start, and found that the producers called his Mother’s house to tell him he had the role. He had given them her phone number because he couldn’t afford a phone. The next years are the stuff of legends and from the very outset, he exhibited an undeniable box office appeal to both male and female audiences.
Though only 5’9” tall and not “movie star handsome” in the traditional sense, within 5 years Cruise starred in some of the top grossing films of the 1980’s including "Top Gun" (1986), "The Color of Money" (1986), "Rainman" (1988), and "Born on the Fourth of July" (1989). By the 1990’s, he was one of the highest paid actors in the world, averaging close to 20 million dollars a film in such blockbuster hits "The Firm" (1993), "Interview with the Vampire" (1994), "Mission: Impossible" (1996), and "Jerry Maguire" (1996) for which he received his first Academy Award Nomination in the category of Best Actor. In 1999, Tom co-starred in the ensemble drama, "Magnolia", and received his third Academy Award nomination in the Best Supporting Actor category. His next films, "Mission: Impossible 2" (2000), "Vanilla Sky" (2001), "Minority Report" (2002), "The Last Samurai" (2003), and "Collateral" (2004), were also huge successes earning more than 100 million dollars in the US Box office alone. In 2005, Tom will star in the Steven Spielberg film, "War of the Worlds", which is also being co-produced by his company C/W Productions.
In May of 1987, Cruise married Mimi Rogers, and in the late 80’s he became a member of The Church of Scientology. He used their study technology to overcome his difficulty with reading and comprehension which had plagued him all his life, and came to realize that he had been misdiagnosed as dyslexic but remained a devout Scientologist. He and Mimi went their separate ways in January of 1990 and Tom met and married Nicole Kidman in December of 1990. In 1993, he formed the extremely successful C/W Productions on the Paramount Lot with his former agent, Paula Wagner, and is now represented by Paula’s husband, Rick Nicita at CAA. After his relationship with Kidman, Cruise was then romantically linked to his "Vanilla Sky" co-star Penelope Cruz. That relationship ended by 2004. In April 2005, Cruise began dating "Dawson's Creek" star Katie Holmes, whom he had a daughter, Suri, who was born in April 2006. In November 2006, Cruise and Holmes got married in a star-studded wedding in Italy under a Scientology ceremony.
A kind and thoughtful man, Cruise is well known for his compassion and generosity and is also one of the most well liked actors in the movie industry. In addition to C/W Productions, he owns 2 other companies. He does not believe in allowing others to manage his affairs. He is responsible for the day to day operations of all 3 companies. Cruise earned his commercial pilot license in 1994 and is an instrument rated pilot. He owns 4 planes, including a Pitts S-2B Aerobatic Bi-Plane called “Sweet Bella”, a Vintage World War II Mustang P-51K called “Montana Miss” (it’s original WW II name), a Beech F90, and a Gulfstream 4SP. During the late 80’s, he raced for Newman/Haas SCCA racing team, although since the birth of his children, he’s given up racing on a regular basis. He enjoys scuba diving, sky diving, rock climbing, mountain biking, and many other sports, and is an avid sports fan as well. He supports the New York Yankee’s baseball team and the New York Giants football team. He also has a keen interest in Aviation History. Cruise resides in Beverly Hills, California, but also owns an apartment in New York City and a mountain top home in Telluride, Colorado. The boy formerly known as Thomas Cruise Mapother IV has indeed come a long way from the lonely wanderings of his youth.
In June 2012, reports said that Holmes filed for divorce after almost 6 years of marriage with Cruise. In July 2012, Cruise and Holmes signed a divorce settlement.