Thomas Cruise Mapother IV, better known by his screen name of Tom Cruise, is an American film actor and producer. He has been nominated for three Academy Awards and won three Golden Globe Awards. His first leading role was the 1983 film Risky Business, which has been described as “A Generation X classic, and a career-maker” for the actor. After playing the role of a heroic naval pilot in the popular and financially successful 1986 film Top Gun, Cruise continued in this vein, playing a secret agent in a series of action films in the 1990s and 2000s. In addition to these heroic roles, he has starred in many other successful films such as Jerry Maguire, Magnolia, Vanilla Sky, Minority Report, The Last Samurai, Collateral and War of the Worlds. In 2005, the Hollywood journalist, Edward Jay Epstein argued that Cruise is one of the few producers who are able to guarantee the success of a billion-dollar movie franchise. Since 2005, Cruise and Paula Wagner have been in charge of the United Artists film studio, with Cruise as producer and star and Wagner as the chief executive. Cruise is also known for his controversial support of and adherence to the Church of Scientology.
Cruise was born in Syracuse, New York, the son of Mary Lee, a special education teacher, and Thomas Cruise Mapother III, an electrical engineer. Cruise’s surname originates from his great-grandfather, Thomas Cruise O’Mara, who was adopted by a Welsh immigrant and renamed “Thomas Cruise Mapother”. Cruise is of German, Irish, and English ancestry. His oldest sister, Lee Anne, was born in his parents’ native Louisville, Kentucky, while his older sister Marian was born in Syracuse, as were Tom and his younger sister, Cass.
Cruise attended Robert Hopkins Public School for grades three, four, and five. The Mapother family then moved to the suburb of Beacon Hill, in Ottawa, Ontario, so Cruise’s father could take a position as a defence consultant with the Canadian Armed Forces. There, Cruise completed grade six at Henry Munro Middle School, part of the Carleton Board of Education, where he was active in athletics, playing floor hockey almost every night, showing himself to be a ruthless player, and eventually chipping his front tooth. In the game British bulldogs, he then lost his newly capped tooth and hurt his knee. Henry Munro was also where Cruise became involved in drama, under the tutelage of George Steinburg. The first play he participated in was called IT, in which Cruise won the co-lead with Michael de Waal, one playing “Evil”, the other playing “Good.” The play met much acclaim, and toured with five other classmates to various schools around the Ottawa area, even being filmed at the local Ottawa TV station.