07/01/1964 (58 years old) Long Beach, California, United States
A quirky movie star who's alternately admired and criticized for his over-the-top performances, Cage has enjoyed a dramatic, hit-or-miss career. Early on he was the poster child for rebellious boys (Rumble Fish, Racing with the Moon), but a trio of '80s romantic comedies opposite comparatively mature leading ladies proved that he could play disparate adult characters. In the neoscrewball comedy Raising Arizona (with Holly Hunter), he was a goofy but kindhearted ex-con. The operatic Moonstruck (starring Cher) showcased his fiery, Italian side. And his uncle, director Francis Ford Coppola, gave him free rein to inhabit both a nasal-voiced, '60s teen and a middle-aged philanderer in the time-tripping Peggy Sue Got Married opposite Kathleen Turner. Although Cage was undeniably a star, he was an acquired taste, famous for his intense characterizations and Method-acting madness (while filming the 1989 cult film Vampire's Kiss, he ingested a live cockroach). In the '90s, Cage moved between genres, taking on comedies (Honeymoon in Vegas), art-house films (Wild at Heart) and action flicks (Fire Birds), before landing the part that finally earned him unanimous praise and myriad awards, including an Oscar: a suicidal, alcoholic writer in 1995's harrowing Leaving Las Vegas. Instead of continuing on the serious-actor track, however, Cage reinvented himself once again, this time as an action hero in a string of big-budget blockbusters (The Rock, Face/Off). With his pick of projects, he seemed sometimes to choose randomly, starring in a hodgepodge of pictures. For every box-office hit (National Treasure) or critical triumph (Adaptation, which earned him an Oscar nod) he made three flops (Windtalkers, Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Sonny, which he also directed). Yet he remained in the spotlight thanks to his prolific output and tempestuous love life, which included failed marriages to Patricia Arquette and Lisa Marie Presley. In 2004, Cage married sushi waitress Alice Kim, who was some 20 years his junior.
A big comic book fan, he was inspired to change his last name to Cage from Marvel's Luke Cage. His son, Kal-el, was named after Superman and Cage was also instrumental in turning the Marvel character Ghost Rider into a movie.
Nephew of Oscar-winning director-screenwriter Francis Ford Coppola, who directed him in Rumble Fish (1983) and Peggy Sue Got Married (1986).