Tom Cruise

Born July 3, 1962, in Syracuse, N.Y., Thomas Cruise Mapother had a nomadic childhood, changing schools 15 times by the time he finally settled with his mother and stepfather in Glen Ridge, N.J., in 1974.

A one-time Franciscan seminary student who renounced Catholicism and embraced Scientology in 1990, Cruise developed an interest in acting as a teenager, dropped out of high school and headed across the Hudson River for a potential career on Broadway.

After Cruise made his film debut in Endless Love (1981), he gained popularity with the teen comedy Risky Business (1983). His career then kicked into high gear in a series of leading roles -- Top Gun (1986), The Color of Money (1986), Rain Man (1988), Mission: Impossible (1996) and Jerry Maguire (1996) -- that became box-office bonanzas and cemented his megastar status.