Since 1996, Cruise has been well known for his role as IMF agent Ethan Hunt in the Mission: Impossible film series, whose most recent film, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, was released in 2015.
In 2012, Cruise was Hollywood's highest-paid actor. Sixteen of his films grossed over $100 million in the United States, and 23 have grossed in excess of $200 million worldwide. As of September 2017, Cruise's films have grossed more than $3.7 billion at U.S. and Canadian box offices and more than $9.0 billion worldwide, making him the eighth highest-grossing actor in North America and one of the top-grossing actors worldwide.
He has won Golden Globe Awards 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, Cruise won the Saturn Award for 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 with helping him overcome dyslexia. In the 2000s, his criticisms of psychiatry and anti-depressant drugs, particularly therapy for 9/11 rescue workers, and efforts to promote Scientology as a religion in Europe, sparked controversies, as did a leaked video interview of him promoting Scientology.
Cruise was born in Syracuse, New York, the son of Mary Lee (née Pfeiffer), a special education teacher, and Thomas Cruise Mapother III, an electrical engineer, both originally from Louisville, Kentucky. He has three sisters: Lee Anne, Marian, and Cass. They are of English, German, and Irish ancestry. One of Cruise's paternal great-great-great-grandfathers, Patrick Russell Cruise, was born in north County Dublin in 1799; he married Teresa Johnson in County Meath, in 1825. They left Ireland for the United States that same year and settled in New York. They had a daughter, Mary Paulina Russell Cruise, whose son Thomas Cruise Mapother (born Thomas O'Mara Jr.) was Cruise's great-grandfather. A cousin, William Mapother, is also an actor; he and Cruise have appeared in five films together.
Cruise 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." Cruise has said that he was beaten by his father, whom he has called a "bully and coward." He stated, "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 spent part of his childhood in Canada. His family moved to Beacon Hill, Ottawa, 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 newly opened Robert Hopkins Public School for much of grade four and 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, "The movement and improvisation were excellent. It was a classic ensemble piece." Cruise also enjoyed sports at the school and played floor hockey, though he was known more for his aggression than his talent.
In sixth grade, Cruise went to Henry Munro Middle School in Ottawa, Canada. However, in the spring of that year, Cruise's mother left his father, taking Cruise and his sisters back to the United States. His father died of cancer in 1984. Cruise briefly attended a Franciscan seminary in Cincinnati, Ohio, on a church scholarship and aspired to become a Catholic priest, before his interest in acting. 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 in the Ridley Scott film Legend, released in 1985.
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 2. 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's 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 mid-2015 Cruise's films have grossed about $8.2 billion worldwide.
Cruise returned as Ethan Hunt in the fifth installment of the Mission: Impossible series, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, which he also produced. Returning cast members included Simon Pegg as Benji and Jeremy Renner as William Brandt, with Christopher McQuarrie as director.
Cruise starred in the 2017 reboot of Boris Karloff's 1932 horror movie The Mummy. The new film, also titled The Mummy, is the second installment in the Universal Studios' Monsters Cinematic Universe, intended to be a shared universe with reboots of all the studios' classic monster characters. The film was produced by Alex Kurtzman, Chris Morgan, and Sean Daniel. It was written by Jon Spaihts and directed by Kurtzman.
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.
Cruise has produced for multiple films in which he has been. He produced Mission: Impossible, Without Limits, Mission: Impossible 2, The Others, Vanilla Sky and many others.
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.
In November 2006, Cruise and Paula Wagner announced that they had taken over the film studio United Artists. 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 and divorced three times and has three children (two adopted and one biological).
In the early to mid-1980s, Cruise had relationships with older women, including Rebecca De Mornay, three years his senior; Patti Scialfa, nine years his senior; and Cher, sixteen years his senior.
Cruise married actress Mimi Rogers on May 9, 1987. They divorced on February 4, 1990. Rogers introduced Cruise to Church of Scientology.
Cruise met his second wife, actress Nicole Kidman, on the set of their film Days of Thunder (1990). 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 rumors 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 Kidman's next marriage to Keith Urban, she 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 (2001). 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 of Scientology 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 publicly 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. In April 2006 their daughter Suri was born.
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 their 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, Holmes filed for divorce from Cruise after five and a half years of marriage. On July 9, 2012, the couple 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 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 and from firefighters.
For such activities, 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 for treatment. It was reported that Cruise's anti-psychiatry actions led to a rift with director Steven 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.
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 on the site, and as of June 2015, the video has achieved over 10 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.
In March 2004, his publicist of 14 years, Pat Kingsley, resigned. Cruise's next publicist was Lee Anne DeVette, Cruise's sister, who was herself a Scientologist. She served in that role until November 2005. DeVette was replaced with Paul Bloch from the publicity firm Rogers and Cowan. Such restructuring was seen as a move to curtail publicity of his views on Scientology, as well as the controversy surrounding his relationship with Katie Holmes.
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 (which Cruise's lawyer denies).
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. The founder of CinemaScore in 2016 cited Cruise and DiCaprio as the "two stars, it doesn't matter how bad the film is, they can pull [the box office] up."
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.
While reviewing Days of Thunder, film critic Roger Ebert noted the similarities between several of Cruise's 1980s films and nicknamed the formula the Tom Cruise Picture. Some of Cruise's later films like A Few Good Men and The Last Samurai can also be considered to be part of this formula.
Ebert wrote of the film:Days of Thunder
is an entertaining example of what we might as well call the Tom Cruise Picture
, since it assembles most of the same elements that worked in Top Gun
, The Color of Money
and runs them through the formula once again. Parts of the plot are beginning to wear out their welcome, but the key ingredients are still effective. They include:
1. The Cruise character, invariably a young and naive but naturally talented kid who could be the best, if ever he could tame his rambunctious spirit.
2. The Mentor, an older man who has done it himself and has been there before and knows talent when he sees it, and who has faith in the kid even when the kid screws up because his free spirit has gotten the best of him.
3. The Superior Woman, usually older, taller and more mature than the Cruise character, who functions as a Mentor for his spirit, while the male Mentor supervises his craft.
4. The Craft, which the gifted young man must master.
5. The Arena, in which the young man is tested.
6. The Arcana, consisting of the specialized knowledge and lore that the movie knows all about, and we get to learn.
7. The Arc, a journey to visit the principal places where the masters of the craft test one another.
8. The Proto-Villain, the bad guy in the opening reels of the movie, who provides the hero with an opponent to practice on. At first the Cruise character and the Proto-Enemy dislike each other, but eventually through a baptism of fire they learn to love one another.
9. The Villain, a real bad guy who turns up in the closing reels to provide the hero with a test of his skill, his learning ability, his love, his craft and his knowledge of the Arena and the Arcana.
Widescreenings noted that for Tom Cruise's character Daniel Kaffee in A Few Good Men, screenwriter "Aaron Sorkin interestingly takes the opposite approach of Top Gun, where Cruise also starred as the protagonist. In Top Gun, Cruise plays Mitchell who is a 'hot shot' military underachiever who makes mistakes because he is trying to outperform his late father. Where Maverick Mitchell needs to rein in the discipline, Daniel Kaffee needs to let it go, finally see what he can do." Sorkin and director Rob Reiner are praised in gradually unveiling Kaffee's potential in the film.
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 been involved in an affair with Cruise. This claim was strongly denied by Cruise, 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.
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, Michael Davis Sapir filed a suit charging 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.