“I’m an all-or-nothing kind of person, and when I become interested in something, I give it my all.” – Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise is one of Hollywood’s biggest stars: he has been nominated for three Academy Awards and has won three Golden Globe Awards. Cruise began his career at age 19, appearing in Endless Love, and has gone on to star in hit after hit, including Top Gun, the Mission: Impossible series, and Jerry Maguire. He is also made headlines off screen for his marriages to Nicole Kidman and Katie Holmes. To date, Cruise has starred in over 46 movies, and shows no signs of slowing down. Below are 43 Thrilling Facts about Tom Cruise.
43. Mixed Ancestry
Tom Cruise is of Irish, German, and English ancestry. His Irish heritage dates back 840 years; there are knights, barons, and rebels in the Cruise family tree. Even so, his Irish accent in the film Far and Away has appeared on several Worst Accents in Films lists.
42. Father Tom
Tom Cruise was raised in a devout Catholic home, and he seriously considered being a priest. At age 14, he attended a Franciscan seminary in Cincinnati on scholarship but decided to pursue acting instead.
41. We Shall Overcome
Cruise didn’t have the best home life: his father was abusive, and constantly uprooted the family while he looked for work. As a result, Cruise was always starting over as the new kid. Cruise was also small for his age, and other children pushed him around. The star to-be eventually learned how to stand up for himself, drawing inspiration and strength from his mother.
40. A Holiday in Japan
Cruise has visited Japan so many times that the country awarded him with his very own “Tom Cruise Day,” celebrated in Japan on October 10th.
39. Risky Business
Cruise reportedly refuses to sign onto a movie unless the producers let him do his own stunts. In Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, the star hung off the side of plane in flight and held his breath for nearly six minutes underwater.
38. Sliding Doors
A knee injury may be to thank for Cruise’s decision to go into acting. Cruise was forced to leave his school’s wrestling team after suffering from a knee injury, and discovered acting with his new-found free time.
37. Pearly Whites
Cruise damaged his front teeth playing hockey as a kid, and was so insecure about his teeth that he avoided photo shoots. In 2002, he got adult braces to fix his smile. He wore them for several months, and removed them only to shoot movies. He has also reportedly had various cosmetic dentistry procedures to fix his smile.
36. Turned Down Tony Stark
Cruise was originally attached to Marvel’s Iron Man as an actor and producer, but he walked away from the project in 2004. As he later explained “As it was lining up, it just didn’t feel to me like it was gonna work.”
35. Drove on Two Wheels
In his 2010 Top Gear appearance, Cruise claimed the fastest lap on the celebrity leaderboard, nearly flipping his car in the process. Ben Collins named Cruise as his favorite contestant, calling Cruise’s appearance on the show the “highlight of his career.”
34. Childhood Pals
Tom Cruise and Emilio Estevez were friends prior to filming The Outsiders, and they showed up to audition for the film together. Estevez was also Cruise’s best man in his first wedding to Mimi Rogers.
33. Magic Number 33
Tom Cruise has been married three times, and he split from each of those wives—Mimi Rogers, Nicole Kidman, and Katie Holmes—when they turned 33.
32. Daredevil Past
At age 10, Tom Cruise spent his savings on a motorcycle, which he fixed up before promptly crashing it between two cars. The bike was a Yamaha, and he stored in his basement while he worked on it.
31. Mirror, Mirror
The primary reason that Tom Cruise accepted a role in the movie Valkyrie was because he saw a photograph of the real-life Colonel von Stauffenberg and realized they looked a lot alike.
30. I’m Cured!
Tom Cruise claims that the study courses in the Church of Scientology helped him overcome dyslexia. Labeled dyslexic at 7 years old, he says he was functionally illiterate until Hubbard’s Study Technology learning method taught him to read as an adult.
29. Five In a Row
Tom Cruise was the first actor to appear in 5 consecutive movies that grossed over $100 million. The films were: A Few Good Men, The Firm, Interview with a Vampire, Mission: Impossible, and Jerry Maguire.
28. The Best and the Worst
In 1988, Tom Cruise was the first actor to star in both the Oscar-winner for Best Picture and the Razzie Winner for Worst Picture. The Oscar Best Picture that year was Rain Man, and the Razzies chose Cocktail as the worst.
27. Fast Lap
During the filming of Days of Thunder, Cruise drove one of the Hendricks Motorsports R&D cars around the track at the Daytona International Speedway. His fastest he averaged 205 mph, which is only 18 mph slower than the record fastest lap at 223 mph.
26. Quit Playing Games
Cruise refuses to lend his likeness to toys, and has never appeared in a video game or as an action figure. In fact, his character in the Minority Report game was made to look so unlike him that the figure was even drawn with blond hair.
25. An Unexpected Moment
Tom Cruise’s infamous couch jumping on the Oprah Winfrey show was rated the “#1 Most Surprising Moment of TV” in 2005. Cruise was overcome with excitement about his relationship with Katie Holmes.
24. Funny Guy
While Cruise has become known for his stints as an action hero, he is also a successful comedic actor. He came up with his character Les Grossman in Tropic Thunder, even suggesting that Grossman should be bald and have large hands.
23. All Cruise
Cruise’s famous dance moves in Risky Business were completely improvised.
22. Man of the Year
In 1994, Harvard’s Hasty Pudding Club gave Cruise the “Man of the Year” award. The club is known for a production that features Harvard men in drag, so Cruise accepted the award wearing a bra and heels.
21. Odd Jobs
While waiting for his big break in Hollywood, Cruise supported himself with a variety of odd jobs. He worked as a bus boy and a porter.
20. Good Soldier
Tom Cruise has played a solider on screen nine times, first in the 1981 movie Taps, and most recently in the sequel Jack Reacher: Never Go Back.
19. Always a Bridesmaid
Nine actors have received Oscar nominations for their work co-starring alongside Cruise, and four of his films have been nominated for Best Picture (with one win). Despite these accolades, Cruise himself has never won an Oscar.
18. Man’s Best Friend?
When Cruise played Stacee Jaxx in Rock of Ages, he asked director Adam Shankman for a monkey sidekick. After watching the baboon’s audition tape, Cruise decided that the ape’s character would be named “Hey Man.”
17. Secret Message
In the film Rain Man, the number 3762 is seen on the windscreen of the car. The numbers are the date Cruise was born: July 3, 1962.
16. At Home on Stage
A high school teacher encouraged Cruise to participate in a school production of Guys and Dolls. Cruise won the lead role, Nathan Detroit, and quickly realized that he felt at home on stage.
15. A New York Minute
When Cruise started his acting career in New York, he only had $500 to his name. He gave himself 10 years to earn success as an actor; luckily, success came much sooner than that.
14. Face Off
Disney used Cruise’s face as a model for the character Aladdin. And Aladdin is not a bad looking guy, for a street rat!
13. I Believe I Can Fly
Inspired by his experiences filming Top Gun, Cruise got his pilot’s license in 1994. He has both a commercial and private license, and often flies his own private jets.
12. Just A Flesh Wound
While filming Mission: Impossible 6 in the summer of 2017, Cruise attempted to leap from a rigging onto a building, missed, and ended up breaking his ankle. After taking a 7 week hiatus from filming, Cruise returned to the set and was right back into his stunts.
11. Major Prep
Cruise rehearsed for five hours every day to get ready for his role in Rock of Ages. The film was his first musical, and he admitted that while he found the prospect terrifying, he saw the film as a personal challenge to overcome.
10. From Rags to Riches
Tom Cruise has often spoke about growing up poor, but money is definitely not a problem today. He is currently ranked #3 on Forbes’ Top 100 Richest Actors list, with an estimated net worth of $550 million.
9. Real Life Hero
Tom Cruise is an action hero off camera as well as on. In 1996, he accompanied a woman to the hospital after witnessing her getting hit by a car, and when he discovered she had no insurance, he paid her $7,000 hospital bill in full.
8. Close Call
During the filming of The Last Samurai, Cruise narrowly escaped a serious injury when a sword was swung within one inch of his neck. A safety machine malfunctioned, and Cruise’s co-star Hiroyuki Sanada only just stopped the sword from hitting the Hollywood star’s neck.
7. Big Shot
Cruise was originally only supposed to play a background character in Taps, but director Harold Becker was so impressed with how Cruise conducted himself as a military cadet during rehearsals that he offered Cruise the role of David Shawn.
The Days of Thunder star briefly flirted with a career in race car driving, but his instructor, Roger French, claims that all Cruise wanted to do was go fast, often ignoring technique as a result. Cruise’s dangerous driving earned him the nickname “See Cruise Crash Again.”
5. Big Business
When Risky Business was released in 1983, the style of Ray-Ban shades that Cruise wore in the movie single-handedly increased the sunglass company’s sales by 40%.
4. Sorry Tom!
When Cruise was cast as the vampire Lestat in the 1994 adaptation of Interview with a Vampire, author Anne Rice publicly criticized the actor. After seeing the film, she bought a two page ad in Daily Variety to apologize to Cruise and praise his performance.
3. A New Monster Universe
With the release of The Mummy in summer 2017, Tom Cruise joins Universal’s new monster universe, “The Dark Universe.” The series will bring back famous villains such as Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, and Dracula.
2. Move It
At a young age, Cruise recognized that boys who could dance did well with girls, so he taught himself to dance by memorizing routines he saw on Soul Train.
1. Bona Fide Booty
In August 2017, a Twitter user suggested that the Cruise wore a prosthetic butt in one of Valkyrie‘s scenes. The tweet went viral, but the actor denied the accusation and cheekily commented, “I do my own mooning.”