Tom Cruise Biography
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Actor. Born Thomas Cruise Mapother IV, on July 3rd, 1962, in Syracuse, New York, to Mary and Thomas Mapother. Cruise's mother was an amateur actress and schoolteacher, and his father was an electrical engineer. His family moved around a great deal when Cruise was a child in order to accommodate his father's career.
Cruise's parents divorced when he was 11, and the children moved with their mother to Louisville, Kentucky, and then to Glen Ridge, New Jersey, after her remarriage. Like his mother and three sisters, Cruise suffered from dyslexia, which made academic success difficult for him.
He excelled in athletics, however, and considered pursuing a career in professional wrestling until a knee injury sidelined him during high school.
At age 14, Cruise enrolled in a Franciscan seminary with thoughts of becoming a priest, but he left after a year. When he was 16, a teacher encouraged him to participate in the school's production of the musical Guys and Dolls. After Cruise won the lead of Nathan Detroit, he found himself surprisingly at home on the stage, and a career was born.
Cruise set a 10-year deadline for himself in which to build an acting career. He left school and moved to New York, struggling through audition after audition before landing an appearance in 1981's Endless Love, starring Brooke Shields.
Around this same time, he snagged a small role in the military school drama Taps (1981), co-starring Sean Penn.