Nationality: American. Born: Thomas Cruise Mapother IV in Syracuse, New York, 3 July 1962. Education: Attended high school in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. Family: Married 1) the actress Mimi Rogers, 1987 (divorced 1990); 2) the actress Nicole Kidman, 1990, son: Connor, daughter: Isabella. Career: 1981—film debut in Endless Love ; 1993—directed an episode of TV series Fallen Angels . Awards: Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture-Drama, for Born on the Fourth of July , 1990; Hasty Pudding Theatricals Man of the Year, 1994; Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture-Comedy/Musical, National Board of Review Best Actor Award, and Golden Satellite Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture-Comedy or Musical, for Jerry Maquire , 1997; Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture, and Chicago Film Critics Association Best Supporting Actor Award, for Magnolia , 2000. Agent: Creative Artists Agency, 9830 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA 90212, U.S.A.
Endless Love (Zeffirelli) (as Billy); Taps (Becker) (as David Shawn)
Losin' It (Hanson) (as Woody); The Outsiders (Francis Ford Coppola) (as Steven Randall); Risky Business (Brickman)
Legend (Ridley Scott) (as Jack)
Top Gun (Tony Scott) (as Lt. Pete Mitchell); The Color of Money (Scorsese) (as Vincent)
Cocktail (Donaldson) (as Doug Coughlin); Rain Man (Levinson) (as Charlie Babbitt)
Born on the Fourth of July (Oliver Stone) (as Ron Kovic)
Days of Thunder (Tony Scott) (as Cole Trickle)
A Few Good Men (Rob Reiner) (as Lt. J. G. Daniel Kaffe); Far and Away (Ron Howard) (as Joseph Donelly)
The Firm (Pollack) (as Mitch McDeere)
Interview with the Vampire (as Lestat de Lioncourt)
Mission: Impossible (DePalma) (as Ethan Hunt, + pr)
Jerry Maguire (Crowe) (as title role)
Eyes Wide Shut (Kubrick); Magnolia (Anderson) (as Dr. William Harford)
Mission Impossible 2 (as Ethan Hunt)
Minority Report (Spielberg) (as John Anderton)
Interview in Ecran Fantastique (Paris), August 1985.
Interview in Interview (New York), May 1986.
Interview with Robert Scheer, in Playboy (Chicago), January 1990.
Interview with Patrick Goldstein, in Rolling Stone (New York), 28 May 1992.
"60 Minutes with Tom Cruise," interview with S. Rebello, in Movieline , December 1992.
"The Interview, the Vampire, the Actor," interview with Ingrid Sischy, in Interview (New York), November 1994.
"Cruise Vamps it Up!," interview with Barry Norman in Radio Times (London), 14 January 1995.
Anthony, Jolene M., Tom Cruise , New York, 1988.
Netter, Susan, Cruise Control: The Unauthorized Biography , New York, 1988.
Cross, Edward, Top Gun: The Films of Tom Cruise , Las Vegas, 1990.
Clarkson, Wensley, Tom Cruise: Inside Story , 1994.
Sanello, Frank, Tom Cruise: The Strictly Unauthorised Biography , London, 1994.
Sellers, Robert, Tom Cruise: Biography , New York, 1995.
Liljedahl, Karen, Tom Cruise , Kansas City, 1998.
Current Biography 1987 , New York, 1987.
"Tom Cruise," in Films and Filming (London), April 1987.
Gabriel, Trip, "Cruise at the Crossroads," in Rolling Stone (New York), 11 January 1990.
Pye, Michael, "Boy Wonder with a Stain of Anger," in Independent on Sunday (London), 18 March 1990.
Richardson, J. H., "Catch a Rising Star," in Premiere (New York), September 1993.
Lurie, Rod, "No More Mr. Nice Guy," in Los Angeles Magazine , October 1993.
Norman, Barry, "Cruise Vamps It Up!" in Radio Times (London), 14 January 1995.
Radio Times (London), 24 February 1996.
Campbell, V., and C. Oakley, "A Star Is Born," in Movieline (Escondido), vol. 7, June 1996.
Conant, J., "The Professional," in Vanity Fair (New York), June 1996.
Friend, T., "Man with a Mission," in Premiere (Boulder), June 1996.
Paterson, Elaine, "Mission: Improbably," in Time Out (London), no. 1347, 12 June 1996.
* * *
Despite his male model features and proven box-office clout, there is something thin and underdeveloped about Tom Cruise's screen image. Has any leading man gotten so much mileage out of playing variations on the same theme in such a relatively short time span? Immensely likable, Cruise calculatedly plays the cocky all-American overachiever who is ultimately humbled by life-lessons learned at the knee of an older male mentor and eventually humanized by the love of the proverbial good woman. Capable of bending the law slightly on occasion, this self-assured locker room antihero gets knocked down a few pegs in formulaic fashion; it is a neatly stage-managed persona that has served Cruise well in Risky Business , Cocktail , Top Gun , The Color of Money , Rain Man , Days of Thunder , A Few Good Men , Far and Away , and The Firm . Incredibly, the only clinker marring this track record is the meandering fairy tale, Legend . When required to stretch, Cruise can perform with sleek assuredness matching Paul Newman shot for shot in The Color of Money and outclassing the contemporary cinema's Paul Muni—Dustin Hoffman—in the sappy Rain Man .
If Cruise's career seems less the by-product of a thespic drive than the inspiration of well-connected business managers, Cruise has tried to stretch himself although not with any of the daring moves associated with Richard Gere, for example. Still, in Born on the Fourth of July , the Vietnam War film based on Ron Kovic's book of the same name, Cruise convincingly and effectively portrays a Ron Kovic who moves from naive recruit to angry, wheelchair-bound paraplegic. Although the movie version of Interview with the Vampire guts the homoerotic content of the novel, this profitable bloodbath was a bold move on Cruise's part, and he rises to the challenge with an atypically flamboyant turn as a hedonist bloodsucker for whom no standard Cruise-ian redemption awaits. Modulating his usually strained vocal resources, Cruise, for the first time in his career, etches an eerily believable characterization far removed from his heel-reborn-as hero image. Although this Interview is too glumly serious, deficient in mystery, and sadistic to be scarily entertaining, Cruise does pump it full of vampiric glee.
Still young and shrewdly determined to keep the machinery of his success oiled, Cruise carries out a Mission Impossible in order to upgrade his stature as a film star who can play with the big boys (Ford, Schwarzenegger) in the action flick arena. Thus far, his mainstream success stands as a monument to the never-ending adolescence of men who enjoy exercising their braggadocio, treating women like trophies, and egotistically excelling at various sports. Whether flying MIGs, racing cars, playing pool, boxing bare-knuckled, footballing for a scholarship, or shaking a cocktail, Cruise taps into the American male's unconscious desires. What this really amounts to is Peter Pan with a sex drive or Huckleberry Finn discovering puberty. It is a juvenile conception, and fans to the contrary, it is an image which Cruise cannot go on revamping forever. That crooked grin could become as obsolete as Mary Pickford's sausage curls.
That's why it's so reassuring to observe Cruise reconnecting with his fans in a role that exercised his acting muscles without dampening his magnetism. After toiling profitably in the most poorly designed blockbuster of the 90s, Mission Impossible, Cruise puts his magnetism to better use as a sports agent in the quirky seriocomedy, Jerry McGuire. Relaxed yet authoritative, Cruise is more believable than he is with showier roles that require "acting." Part con man, part cheerleader, McGuire makes a living by massaging the egos of petulant athletes. Whether he's pitching himself to clients or wooing Renee Zelwegger, Cruise reveals an astounding command over the audience's goodwill. The role marks a defining moment in Cruise's stardom.
Tight-lipped about his private life, Cruise, nonetheless, chose to expose himself in provocative fare that was a far cry from the safety of Mission Impossible 2. Devoting an inordinate amount of time to notoriously finicky Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut, Cruise submerges his ego to serve the director's swan song. Although one vainly hoped Kubrick would do for Cruise what Bertolucci did for Brando in Last Tango in Paris , Cruise deserves credit for lending his star-power to this circumspect exploration of sexuality. If there seems to be too much ice and not enough fire in the Kubrick project, there is altogether too much heat in Cruise's performance as a self-help huckster in the pretentious Magnolia. Structurally intricate, the film wants to bowl you over by fitting mega-star Cruise into its ensemble, but it actually positions him as a sun surrounded by lesser stars. (Imagine if Tyrone Power had tried to upstage everyone in Nightmare Alley, and you get an idea of the magnitude of the problem.) Unfortunately, Cruise's performance doesn't showcase his quiet magnanimity, even as it appeals to awards voters, impressed by sound and fury signifying nothing. And yet, not one of Cruise's male contemporaries has dared similar challenges at the height of popularity. Still youthful looking, Cruise can afford to take vacations from stardom to stretch himself instead of accepting something like Top Gun Hits Middle Age. One hopes, however, that he realizes there's more art and less artfulness in the laid-back environment of Jerry McGuire, than there is in the symbol-laden landscapes of directors uninspired by Cruise's greatest strength, which is his covert vulnerability.