Tom Cruise, or Thomas Cruise Mapother IV, to give him his proper name, began his acting career at the age of 19 with a small part in the 1981 film Endless Love. It wasn’t long after that appearance that he got his first leading role in the romantic comedy Risky Business. It was Top Gun in 1986 that promoted him to the league of superstars and he has since been the star of some of the biggest and most successful Hollywood films.
Off screen, he has had three wives to date, been an outspoken and sometimes controversial advocate for the Scientology religion, jumped on Oprah Winfrey’s sofa, sued a gay porn actor, and had his height and choice of footwear discussed and debated more than any other celebrity.
Like all celebrities, his personal life has been the subject of much gossip, from rumours of him being gay, to Katie Holmes divorcing him to save their daughter Suri from Scientology. Despite all the rumours and gossip, Tom Cruise comes across as a likeable guy and he is well known for his good deeds and his generosity.
So, for fans of the star and the generally inquisitive alike, here are ten things that you may not have known about the movie star Tom Cruise.
He’s Big in Japan
The Japanese love Tom Cruise, and he loves Japan. In fact, he has visited Japan more times than any other western movie star and his films, especially The Last Samurai, are always huge hits in the country. There is even an official Tom Cruise Day in Japan, which has been officially recognised by the Japan Memorial Day Association since 2006. Just in case you wanted to celebrate the official holiday, perhaps bake a Tom Cruise cake, or hang some Tome Cruise bunting outside your home, it’s on the 10th of October every year.
How Tall is Tom Cruise Really?
Sadly for Tom Cruise, his height is always a hot topic of debate and something that he does seem to be a bit self-conscious about. He has been seen wearing elevated shoes and some suspiciously high looking heels. There are also some very clever camera angles and other tricks used to make him appear taller than his co-stars in his movies. So, to end the debate on how tall he really is, his official height is 5ft 7.75in (172 cm).
He Lost the Plot on Oprah
This is one fact that most people do know about, but it’s still worth revisiting, if only to remind ourselves of just how cringeworthy it was! In a 2005 interview with Oprah Winfrey to promote his War of the Worlds movie, Cruise decided to forget all about his script and gush on about his love for Katie Holmes instead. “He’s gone. He’s gone. The boy is gone”, cried Oprah, as Cruise, for reasons only known to him, jumped up on Oprah’s couch.
He Studied to be a Priest
It’s pretty well known that the actor is an advocate of Scientology, but he was brought up in a devout Catholic family. He got a scholarship to study at a Franciscan seminary in Cincinnati, but his dreams of becoming a Hollywood star lured him away from the priesthood and, allegedly, he was thrown out of the seminary for bad behaviour. He officially rejected his Catholic beliefs in 1990.
He is the Face of Aladdin
Tom Cruise has a clause in every movie contract prohibiting the use of his likeness in any action models or similar merchandise. The supervising animator who was working on Disney’s 1992 feature film Aladdin, however, used the actor as the inspiration for the face of Aladdin in the movie. He had originally planned to use the features of Michael J. Fox, but later decided on Tom Cruise, because he thought the actor was more attractive and had more sex appeal.
He Attended the Funeral of Princess Dianna
Tom Cruise and his wife at the time, Nicole Kidman, attended the funeral of Dianna, Princess of Wales. While Cruise had indeed met the Princess a few times at Premiers and similar functions, many people wondered why the Hollywood actor was invited to the funeral. The real reason that he got an invite to the funeral of the British Royal was that officials used Dianna’s Christmas card list as a way of determining who would get an invite to the event and it seems that Tom got lucky in the draw.
He Has a Need for Speed
His Top Gun character, Maverick, had a need for speed and it seems that the actor does too. Tom Cruise has a pilot’s licence in Canada and he owns his own Pitts Special S-2B stunt plane. He’s also pretty quick around a race track. He has raced for Paul Newman’s racing team and, when he was filming Days of Thunder, he clocked up 205mph doing a lap around the Daytona circuit.
He is a Bit of a Real Life Hero
In his on screen roles, Tom Cruise usually plays the hero and it turns out he can be a pretty nice guy in real life too. In 1996 he came to the aid of a woman who been involved in a hit and run accident. Having witnessed the accident, Cruise took the injured victim, Heloisa Vinhas, to a hospital for treatment. When he discovered that Heloisa Vinhas, who was an aspiring actress, had no health insurance, Cruise paid all the bills for her treatment.
He Made Big Money from Mission Impossible
It seems that Tom Cruise is shrewd when it comes to money too. Rather than take a one-off big pay check for playing Ethan Hunt in Mission Impossible, he took the role of producer and instead raked in $70 million as his share of the profits. He’s gone on to be one of the producers of all the other Mission Impossible films in the series as well.
He Has Never Won an Oscar
Although Tom Cruise has an impressive list of other awards to his name, he has never actually won an Oscar for his acting. He has, however, co-starred alongside many other actors who have won Academy Awards for their performances, including Dustin Hoffman, Paul Newman, Jack Nicholson and Robert Downey Jr.