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Cruise was born on the 3rd of July, 1962 (eerily similar
to his film Born on the 4th of July), in Syracuse, New York.
He was the only boy of four children. Since his father was an
electrical engineer, he must have inherited his love for acting
from his mother, who was a teacher. One of the reasons why he
is such a well-grounded human being is because of his difficult
upbringing. His family had to get by with little money after
his parents divorced when he was only 12. In his search of fame,
Cruise attended drama classes and auditioned for various TV
commercials. His efforts were unsuccessful, but they led to
his landing a small role in the 1980 movie Endless Love. His
first major role in Taps originally consisted of one line, but
the director was so taken with his performance that he decided
to offer him the third biggest role in the movie. Cruise was
afraid of the challenge associated with such a role, but later
accepted it, prepared for such a challenge. He was very alluring
and enthusiastic in his teen roles during the early 80's, but
he quickly moved on to more adult roles and movie star status.
By the early 90's, he moved up the ranks to become one of the
most respected and well-paid superstars of his generation. Basically,
any movie that featured Cruise was a box-office hit. His acting
career really began because he injured his knee in high school
and was forced to quit the amateur wrestling team. He took on
the role of Nathan Detroit in the high school production of
Guys and Dolls.
He was so infatuated with acting in high school that he dropped
out during his senior year and went on to pursue his dream.
He arrived in LA in 81 and met Paula Wagner, an agent at Creative
Artists Agency. After his primitive roles in Endless Love and
Taps, he landed the starring role in Losin' It. He was cast
in 1983 in The Outsiders, a Francis Ford Coppola production.
He starred alongside a talented young cast that included hotshots
such as Matt Dillon, Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe, C. Thomas Howell,
and Ralph Macchio. This role became a stepping stone for the
rest of his career, especially for his role in Risky Business
that same year. His popularity took a beating in movies like
All the Right Moves in 1983, followed by Legend in 1985. Cruise's
career began to solidify during his signature hit of the 1980's,
Top Gun. Another big success was Cruise's role in The Color
of Money, alongside Paul Newman in 1986. This Martin Scorsese
production moved his professional image from the boy-next-door
to a more confident and cocky young man with an attitude. This
was later portrayed in Cocktail (1988) and Days of Thunder (1990).
He proved his dramatic talents in the 1988 drama Rain Man, where
he co-starred with Oscar-winner Dustin Hoffman. Oliver Stone's
Born on the Fourth of July (1989) earned him a Best Actor Oscar
nomination for his hard-hitting portrayal of anti-war activist
Ron Kovic. Cruise fell short for his role in Far and Away (1992)
with co-star Nicole Kidman, who he later married in 1990 after
sharing the screen once again in Days of Thunder. His commercial
comeback began with movies like A Few Good Men (1992), where
he successfully confronted the legendary Jack Nicholson. He
played a lawyer once again in the thriller The Firm (1993).
Both of these movies provided great box-office returns. Striving
to take on even bigger roles (and paychecks), he starred in
Interview With The Vampire (1994), alongside Brad Pitt; and
Mission: Impossible (1996), based on a 1960's TV show, which
had a huge budget of approximately $67 million, and was long-awaited
by fans. Now a producer and actor, Cruise's latest work includes
Jerry Maguire, with the pouty-lipped Renee Zellweger, Eyes Wide
Shut and Magnolia. Mission: Impossible 2 will be released in
theatres soon. He is also always looking into different acting
and producing projects to keep him busy. He is responsible for
the resurging popularity of Ray Ban sunglasses, air pilot jackets,
being a race car driver, a bartender, and even a vampire. He
is a cultural icon, a man who has made it in an industry where
only 0.01% reach his status. Getting to the top is tough; staying
there is even tougher, and he has proven himself over and over.
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