Director David Lynch called him "the jazz musician of actors." Nicolas Cage (1964-) was born Nicholas Coppola on this day in Long Beach, California. An eccentric spirit of passion and brilliance, he changed his name to honor avant-garde composer John Cage and comic book character Luke Cage.
"Passion is very important to me. If you stop enjoying things, you've got to look at it, because it can lead to all kinds of depressing scenarios," Cage explained.
"There's a fine line between the Method actor and the schizophrenic," he observed. Cage who grew up idolizing actor James Dean and spending summers with his famous uncle, director Francis Ford Coppola
With such films as Moonstruck (1987, w/ Cher), Leaving Las Vegas (1995, Best Actor Oscar-winner), The Rock (1998, w/ Sean Connery), and Face/Off (1997, w/ John Travolta), Cage has been a favorite with critics and moviegoers.
"The anti-hero to me is always more interesting, to some extent -- the guy who you least expect to rise to the occasion," explained Cage, who took method acting (and urban legend) to a higher level when eating a live cockroach for his scene in Vampire's Kiss (1989).
With a reputation for choosing diverse, risky roles, Cage holds tight to the spirit of eccentricity: "Shock is still fun. I won't ever shut the door on it."
Keep that eccentric spirit alive.