1. Cruise has been nominated for three Academy Awards and has won three Golden Globe Awards.
2. He started his career at age 19 in the 1981 film Endless Love.
3. After portraying supporting roles in Taps (1981) and The Outsiders (1983), his first leading role was in the romantic comedy Risky Business, released in August 1983.
4. Cruise became a full-fledged movie star after starring as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in the action drama Top Gun (1986).
5. Since 1996, he has been well known for his role as secret agent Ethan Hunt in the Mission: Impossible film series, whose most recent film, Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation, was released in 2015.
6. One of the biggest movie stars in Hollywood, Cruise starred in several more successful films in the 1980s, including the dramas The Color of Money (1986), Cocktail (1988), Rain Man (1988), and Born on the Fourth of July (1989).
7. In the 1990s, he starred in a number of hit films, including the romance Far and Away (1992), the drama A Few Good Men (1992), the legal thriller The Firm (1993), the romantic horror film Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994), the romantic comedy-drama sports film Jerry Maguire (1996), the erotic thriller Eyes Wide Shut, and the drama Magnolia (both 1999).
8. 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.
9. In 2002, Cruise won the Saturn Award for Best Actor for Vanilla Sky.
10. 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.
11. Cruise is an outspoken advocate for the Church of Scientology and its associated social programs, and credits it with helping him overcome dyslexia.
12. 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.
13. Cruise was born as Thomas Cruise Mapother IV in Syracuse, New York, the son of Mary Lee (ne Pfeiffer), a special education teacher, and Thomas Cruise Mapother III (1934 84), Cruise has three sisters, Lee Anne, Marian, and Cass.
14. Cruise’s surname originates from his great-grandfather, born Thomas Cruise O’Mara, Jr., who was renamed “Thomas Cruise Mapother”. One of his paternal great-great-great-grandfathers, Patrick Russell Cruise, was born in north County Dublin, in 1799; he married Teresa Johnson in Warrenstown House, County Meath, in 1825.
15. They left Ireland for America that same year and settled in New York.
16. Cruise grew up in near poverty, and had a Catholic upbringing.
17. The family was dominated by his abusive father, whom Cruise has described as “a merchant of chaos.” He was beaten by his father, who Cruise has said was a bully and coward.
18. They moved to the Ottawa suburb of Beacon Hill in late 1971 so that Cruise’s father could take a position as a defense consultant with the Canadian Armed Forces. In grade four, Cruise first became involved in drama, under the tutelage of George Steinburg.
19. 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 that “the movement and improvisation were excellent.