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Thomas Cruise Mapother IV ( born July 3, 1962), better known by his screen name of Tom Cruise, is an American actor and film producer. Forbes magazine ranked him as the world's most powerful celebrity in 2006.He has been nominated for three Academy Awards and won three Golden Globe Awards. His first leading role was the 1983 film Risky Business, which has been described as "A Generation X classic, and a career-maker" for the actor.After playing the role of a heroic naval pilot in the popular and financially successful 1986 film Top Gun, Cruise continued in this vein, playing a secret agent in a series of Mission: Impossible action films in the 1990s and 2000s. In addition to these heroic roles, he played other parts such as the misogynistic male guru in Magnolia (1999) and a cool and calculating sociopathic hitman in the Michael Mann crime-thriller film Collateral (2004).

In 2005, the Hollywood journalist, Edward Jay Epstein argued that Cruise is one of the few producers (the others being George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Jerry Bruckheimer) who are able to guarantee the success of a billion-dollar movie franchise. Since 2005, Cruise and Paula Wagner have been in charge of the United Artists film studio,with Cruise as producer and star and Wagner as the chief executive. Cruise is also known for his controversial support of and adherence to the Church of Scientology.

Cruise's first film role came in 1981, when he had a small role in Endless Love, a drama/romance film starring Brooke Shields. Later that same year he had a more substantial role in the film Taps, appearing alongside George C. Scott, Timothy Hutton and Sean Penn. The film about military cadets was moderately successful. In 1983, he was one of many teenaged stars to appear in Francis Ford Coppola's The Outsiders. The cast for this film included Rob Lowe, Matt Dillon, Patrick Swayze, and Ralph Macchio, two of whom were part of the Brat Pack. That same year Cruise appeared in the teen comedy Losin' It. Cruise's breakthrough came after Risky Business was released, which helped to propel Cruise to stardom. One sequence in the film, featuring Cruise lip-syncing Bob Seger's "Old Time Rock and Roll" in his underwear, has become an iconic moment in 1980s film. The film has been described as "A Generation-X classic, and a career-maker for Tom Cruise." A fourth film that was released in 1983 was the high-school football drama, All the Right Moves. Cruise's next film was the 1985 fantasy film Legend directed by Ridley Scott.

Cruise was then selected as the first choice by producers Jerry Bruckheimer and Don Simpson for an upcoming American fighter pilot film. Cruise at first apparently turned down the project, but helped to alter the script he was given and developed the film. After being taken for a flight with the Blue Angels, Cruise changed his mind and signed on with the project. The project was titled Top Gun and opened in May 1986, becoming the highest grossing film of the year, taking in $354 million in worldwide figures. Also in 1986, he starred in Martin Scorsese's The Color of Money along with Paul Newman, who received the Best Actor honor from the Academy Awards. In 1988, he starred in the lighthearted drama Cocktail, which received mixed reviews and Cruise received his first nomination for a Razzie award in 1989. Later that year, Rain Man was released, which also starred Dustin Hoffman and was directed by Barry Levinson. The film was praised by critics and was nominated for eight Academy Awards, and won four, including Best Picture and Best Actor (for Hoffman).

Cruise was welcomed with similar success the following year when he received Academy Award nominations for Oliver Stone's Born on the Fourth of July, which was based on the best selling autobiography of parapalegic veteran and anti-war activist Ron Kovic. In 1990, Cruise starred as hot-shot racecar driver "Cole Trickle" in Tony Scott's Days of Thunder. Cruise's next film was Ron Howard's Far and Away where he again was starring with Nicole Kidman. After Days of Thunder he starred in the military thriller A Few Good Men with Jack Nicholson and Demi Moore. This film was very well received and earned Cruise a Golden Globe and MTV nominations. The following year he starred in Sydney Pollack's The Firm along with Gene Hackman and Ed Harris. It was based on the best selling novel by John Grisham, and won Favorite Dramatic Motion Picture at the People's Choice Awards.

In 1994, Cruise starred along with Brad Pitt, Antonio Banderas and Christian Slater in Neil Jordan's Interview with the Vampire, a gothic drama/horror film that was based on Anne Rice's best-selling novel. The film was well received, although Rice was outspoken in her criticism of Cruise having been cast in the film, as River Phoenix was her first choice. In 1996, Cruise starred in (as well as produced) Brian de Palma's Mission: Impossible. The film, a remake of the 1960s TV series, grossed $456 million worldwide, making it the third highest grossing film that year. That same year he played the title role in the comedy-drama Jerry Maguire. The film earned him an Academy Award Best Actor nomination as well as winning co-star Cuba Gooding, Jr. an Academy Award; the film was nominated for five Academy Awards in total. The film also included the catchphrase "Show Me the Money!" which became part of popular culture. In 1999 he starred in the erotic thriller Eyes Wide Shut which took two years to complete and was director Stanley Kubrick's last film. It was also the last film in which he starred alongside then spouse Nicole Kidman. But the film, which had a straightforward description of sex and a recondite story-telling style, raised great controversies. Cruise also played a misogynistic male guru in Magnolia (1999), which netted him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination. He was originally intended to play as Jericho Cane in the action horror film End of Days before Arnold Schwarzenegger assumed the lead role.

In 2000, Cruise returned as Ethan Hunt in the second installment of the Mission Impossible films, releasing Mission: Impossible II. The film was directed by Hong Kong director John Woo and branded with his Gun fu Style, and it continued the series' blockbuster success at the box office, taking in almost $547M in worldwide figures, like its predecessor, being the third highest grossing film of the year. The following year Cruise starred in the remake of Abre Los Ojos, Vanilla Sky (2001) with Cameron Diaz and Penelope Cruz. The film was critically acclaimed and proved to be another box office success. In 2002, Cruise starred in the successful dystopian science fiction thriller, Minority Report which was directed by Steven Spielberg and based on the science fiction short story by Philip K. Dick. In 2003, he starred in the successful Edward Zwick's historical drama The Last Samurai.
Tom Cruise in Toronto, 2008.

In the 2004 Michael Mann's crime-thriller film Collateral, Cruise took a turn against his generic good guy role by playing the role of a sociopathic hitman. In 2005, Cruise worked again with Steven Spielberg in War of the Worlds, which became the fourth highest grossing movie of the year with US$591.4 M worldwide. Despite the film's box office success, it earned three Razzie nominations, including one for Cruise. In 2006, he reprised his role as Ethan Hunt in the third installment of the Mission Impossible film series, Mission: Impossible III. The film was more positively received by critics than its predecessor, and grossed nearly $400 million at the box office. He appeared in the 2007 drama Lions for Lambs, which became Cruise's only wide-released film in 21 years that did not gross over $100 million worldwide.

In 2008, Cruise appeared in the hit comedy Tropic Thunder with Ben Stiller and Jack Black. This performance earned Cruise a Golden Globe nomination. Cruise's latest starring role is in the historical thriller Valkyrie, released on December 25, 2008 to mixed reviews.
Cruise partnered with his former talent agent Paula Wagner to form Cruise/Wagner Productions in 1993, and the company has since co-produced several of Cruise's films, the first being Mission: Impossible in 1996 which was also Cruise's first project as a producer. He won a Nova Award (shared with Paula Wagner) for Most Promising Producer in Theatrical Motion Pictures at the PGA Golden Laurel Awards in 1997 for his work as a producer for the film Mission: Impossible.

His next project as a producer was the 1998 film Without Limits about famous American runner Steve Prefontaine. Cruise returned to work as a producer in 2000, continuing work on the Mission Impossible sequel. He then served as an executive producer for The Others which starred Nicole Kidman, also that year, he again worked as actor/producer in Vanilla Sky. He subsequently worked on (but did not star in) Narc, Hitting It Hard and Shattered Glass. His next project, which he also starred in, was The Last Samurai, he was jointly nominated for the Motion Picture Producer of the Year Award at the 2004 PGA Golden Laurel Awards. He then worked on Suspect Zero, Elizabethtown and Ask the Dust.

Cruise is noted as having negotiated some of the most lucrative movie deals in Hollywood, and was described in 2005 by Hollywood economist Edward Jay Epstein as "one of the most powerful – and richest – forces in Hollywood." Epstein argues that Cruise is one of the few producers (the others being George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Jerry Bruckheimer) who are regarded as able to guarantee the success of a billion-dollar movie franchise. Epstein also contends that the public obsession with Cruise's tabloid controversies obscures full appreciation of Cruise's exceptional commercial prowess.

Cruise/Wagner Productions, Cruise's film production company, is said to be developing a screenplay based on Erik Larson's New York Times bestseller, The Devil in the White City about a real life serial killer, H. H. Holmes, at Chicago's World's Columbian Exposition. Kathryn Bigelow is attached to the project to produce and helm. Meanwhile, Leonardo DiCaprio's production company, Appian Way, is also developing a film about Holmes and the World's Fair, in which DiCaprio will star.
On August 22, 2006, Paramount Pictures announced it was ending its 14-year relationship with Cruise. In the Wall Street Journal, chairman of Viacom (Paramount's parent company) Sumner Redstone cited the economic damage to Cruise's value as an actor and producer from his controversial public behavior and views. Cruise/Wagner Productions responded that Paramount's announcement was a face-saving move after the production company had successfully sought alternative financing from private equity firms. Industry analysts such as Edward Jay Epstein commented that the real reason for the split was most likely Paramount's discontent over Cruise/Wagner's exceptionally large share of DVD sales from the Mission: Impossible franchise.In November 2006, Cruise and Paula Wagner announced that they had taken over United Artists film studio.Cruise acts as a producer and star in films for United Artists, while Wagner serves as UA's chief executive. Production began in 2007 of Valkyrie, a thriller based on the July 20, 1944 assassination attempt against Adolf Hitler. The film was acquired in March 2007 by United Artists. On March 21, 2007 Cruise signed on to play Claus von Stauffenberg, the protagonist. This project marks the second production to be greenlighted since Cruise and Wagner took control of United Artists. The first was its inaugural film, Lions for Lambs, directed by Robert Redford and starring Redford, Meryl Streep and Cruise. Lambs was released on November 9, 2007, opening to unimpressive box office revenue and critical reception. In August 2008, Wagner stepped down from her position at United Artists; she retains her stake in UA, which combined with Cruise's share amounts to 30 percent of the studio.
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