7/3/1962 (56 years old) Syracuse, New York, United States
An irrefutable Hollywood megastar, Cruise was just 21 when he landed his breakthrough role as a horny high school hunk in the 1983 sex romp Risky Business. With athletic good looks, a 1,000-watt smile and oodles of natural charm, he became an overnight celebrity, thanks in part to an iconic scene in which he danced around his living room to Bob Seger's "Old Time Rock and Roll" while clad only in a shirt, briefs, socks and sunglasses. Over the next dozen years, he ruled the box office with blockbuster hits like Top Gun, A Few Good Men and Interview with the Vampire, and honed his craft by working with top directors, such as Martin Scorsese (The Color of Money), Barry Levinson (Rain Man) and Oliver Stone (Born on the Fourth of July, which earned him his first Oscar nod). Cruise's personal life was also on the upswing. In 1990, 10 months after divorcing his first wife, actor Mimi Rogers, he married his Days of Thunder costar, Nicole Kidman. Their second on-screen appearance, the Ron Howard-directed Far and Away, was a flop, but Cruise quickly rebounded with a string of crowd-pleasing favorites that included The Firm, Mission: Impossible and Jerry Maguire, which snagged him a second Academy Award nomination. At the apex of his fame, Cruise disappeared from the screen for three years in order to work with his wife under celebrated director Stanley Kubrick on the sexual epic Eyes Wide Shut. Finally released in 1999, Kubrick's last film was a critical and commercial disappointment. But Cruise bounced back with an Oscar-nominated supporting turn as a sex guru in Paul Thomas Anderson's sprawling Magnolia that same year. In 2001, Cruise's marriage to Kidman fell apart and their split dominated the tabloids for months, as did his subsequent relationship with Vanilla Sky costar Penelope Cruz. In the '00s, after two decades in showbiz, Cruise began averaging a blockbuster per year (Mission: Impossible II, Minority Report, War of the Worlds). However, in 2005, his off-screen antics began to sully his reputation, including a public feud with Brooke Shields over the merits of antidepressants (for which he later apologized); his constant championing of Scientology; and his controversial appearance on Oprah Winfrey when he jumped on a couch while declaring his love for Katie Holmes. Dubbed TomKat by the media, the couple enjoyed a whirlwind courtship and soon announced that they were engaged and pregnant. They welcomed a daughter, Suri, in April 2006, and tied the knot the following November in a lavish Italian wedding. Cruise softened his increasingly divisive image in 2008 with a brilliant comic turn as a profane movie producer in Tropic Thunder.