When it comes to billionaires with humble beginnings, Tom Cruise’s life story will take first place. Read on how the mission impossible star made it interestingly possible against all odds.
“I feel good about the fact that I finally found something I love. I never lived in one place for very long – that’s the way my whole life has been. I was always packing and moving around, staying in Canada, Kentucky, Jersey, St. Louis – it all helped because I was always learning new accents, experiencing different environments.”
He was born as Thomas Cruise Mapother IV on July 3, 1962 in Syracuse, New York. Cruise’s father Thomas Cruise Mapother III was an electrical engineer and his mother was a special education teacher. Cruise was raised with a catholic upbringing, along with his three sisters, he grew up in poverty in Canada. Cruise was not blessed with a stable life, and apparently changed 15 schools in 14 years. Cruise has often spoken in his interviews about his struggles with dyslexia during his school years.
From the beginning, Cruise had a troubled relationship with his father. Speaking about his father, Cruise once said, “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.’”
“I’ve had such extremes in my life. From being this kind of wild kid, to one year studying to be a Franciscan priest at the seminary – I was very frustrated.”
Eventually Cruise’s family was torn apart, when his parents separated. Allegedly Cruise wanted to become a priest before he wished to pursue a career in acting.
“I’ve never done work for money ever. If your choices are based on grosses and the film doesn’t do well, what does that mean? It leaves you with nothing.”
At the age of 18, Cruise moved to New York to chase his dream of becoming an actor. He did not have the support of any film fraternity and struggled to make his way into the industry. Cruise began to work as a busboy in New York. Later he moved to Los Angeles and enrolled in CAA (Creative Artists Agency) in order to pursue a career in films.
In 1981, Cruise got his first break in the film Endless Love, in which he played a cameo. He began getting major roles later in movies such as The Outsiders, Risky Business and All the Right Moves. These were deemed as “a career maker for Tom Cruise.”
It was however Tony Scott’s Top Gun in 1986, which elevated Cruise to the status of a superstar. After The Color of Money, Cruise did Rain Man which again gave a much needed push to his career. His performance in the film earned him the Academy Award for Best Film, Cruise also received the award for Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for the Best Supporting Actor.
In 1989, Tom Cruise got the opportunity to hone his acting skills in the film Born on Fourth of July, in which he played the part of a real-life paralyzed Vietnam war veteran Ron Kovic. Cruise’s performance was lauded and he was garnered with several awards Golden Globe Award for Best Actor-Motion Picture Drama, Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor, 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.
“I love adventure movies; I just love action adventure films. It’s pure cinema and you go in and you’re lost to it. To me, it’s that challenge – I want to give an audience that ride, that entertainment.”
Cruise continue making it big at the box office with movies such as Far and Away, Days of Thunder, Interview with the Vampire, story of which was based on Anne Rice’s best selling novel. On seeing the movie, Rice reportedly paid $7740 for a two-page ad to laud Cruise’s performance.
Mission Success not Impossible
“Every time I make a ‘Mission’ movie or other films, people kind of look at me and go, “Well, now what? What’s next?” I think there’s always going to be another mountain. I think there’s something always in store.”
Cruise’s name became synonymous to the franchise after the film Mission: Impossible was met with enormous success and huge box office gain in 1996. The reviews received criticism in the beginning as the character of Jim Phelps was portrayed in the negative light.
In 2000, Cruise featured in the second part of Mission Impossible films, Mission: Impossible 2. This also became another blockbuster hit, earning almost $547M. The film earned him the MTV Movie Award for Best Male Performance.
Cruise also made commercial success with the films which followed, these include Vanilla Sky, Minority Report, The Last Samurai which won him the Golden Globe nomination for best actor. Cruise also received widespread critical acclaim for his role in Collateral.
Furthermore, the movie like War of the Worlds was the fourth-highest grossing film of the year and won US$591.4 worldwide. Cruise was nominated for seven Saturn Awards between 2002 and 2009, which he won once.
Out of the nine of the ten films in which Cruise starred during the decade, he made $100 million at the box office, with Mission: Impossible III, grossing over $400 million at the box office. Reports allege, as of mid- 2015, Cruise’s movies earned $8.2 billion worldwide.
“I don’t hide from cameras or anything. It doesn’t bother me. I don’t seek our press for the women I’m dating, but if it finds me, it finds me.”
In 1993, together with Paula Wagner, Cruise formed Cruise/Wagner Productions and the company co-produced many of Cruise’s films, including Mission: Impossible. He has also negotiated for some of the most lucrative film deals in Hollywood and was determined as “one of the most powerful and richest forces in Hollywood” by economist Edward Jay Epstein. Experts believed with Cruise, the success of the film into becoming a billion-dollar film franchise is guaranteed.
“I don’t pretend to be the character, I AM the character.”
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