An actor who rises to greatness, Tom Cruise (1962-) was born Thomas Cruise Mapother IV on this day in Syracuse, New York.
Growing up, he suffered with dyslexia, competed in wrestling, and even considered becoming a priest, spending a year in the seminary.
Instead, he turned to acting and became a box-office superstar with the film Risky Business (1983). Clad in underpants, shirt, and rocking out to Bob Seger's Old Time Rock and Roll, Cruise became an international sensation overnight.
"I demand a lot of myself. I want to learn. I can't sit back. I like a challenge, so I create a lot of challenges for myself," he said.
With a dazzling, disarming smile, Cruise has handled his challenges well, holding his own with such film greats as Paul Newman (The Color of Money,1986), Dustin Hoffman (Rain Man,1988), and Jack Nicholson (A Few Good Men, 1992).
By 2001, Cruise was named number one on the Forbes Top 100 Celebrities. With skill, range, and perfectionism, he has made acting look easy.
"Nothing ends nicely, that's why it ends," philosophized the gifted actor who trained for two years in preparation for the role of Captain Algren in The Last Samurai (2003).
An advocate for literacy, Cruise admitted in 2002 to limiting the television time of his kids to 3-1/2 per week "if they do very well in their school."
"I can actually see the difference when they watch too much television in terms of their education when they're reading, in terms of their attention span, their behavior," he said. "We're focusing on reading, a lot of reading."
More Film-Making Quotations
Aspire to greatness.