US film star, who has progressed from Hollywood's ‘Brat Pack’ to forge a career as a versatile film actor.
Born in Syracuse, New York, Cruise made his film debut in Taps (1981), in which he played a military cadet. This was followed by similar roles in a series of films that culminated in the hugely successful Top Gun (1986), in which he appeared as a flying ace. In Rain Man (1988), however, which won the Oscar for best film, Cruise showed that he could not only act but also serve as a superb foil for Dustin Hoffman, who won the Oscar for best actor.
Born on the Fourth of July (1989), in which he played a wheelchair-bound Vietnam veteran, won Cruise his first Oscar nomination. A Few Good Men (1992) enabled him to demonstrate convincingly a transformation from cynic to crusader for justice, while Interview with the Vampire (1994) cast him against type as an amoral bisexual bloodsucker. His subsequent films have included the box-office success Mission Impossible (1995) and the more taxing Jerry Maguire (1996), which earned Cruise his second Oscar nomination. Of the notorious ‘Brat Pack’, a group of young actors who appeared together playing teenagers in films of the 1980s, Cruise seems the most likely to mould for himself a long-term career in the cinema. A devout Christian Scientist, he is married to the Hollywood actress Nicole Kidman (1967– ).
Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).