Since landing his first role in Franco Zeffirelli’s 1981 drama Endless Love, Tom Cruise has been one of Hollywood’s biggest and most entertaining stars. From his breakout performance in the coming of age comedy Risky Business to his portrayal of Ethan Hunt in the awesome Mission: Impossible film franchise, Tom Cruise’s filmography includes some of the most memorable films of the last 40 years, but for whatever reason, its the actors devotion to Scientology and his unforgettable couch-jumping meltdown on Oprah back in 2005 that always come to mind first. Seeing as today is Tom Cruise’s 57th birthday, join us as we explore eight lesser known and more flattering facts about the iconic movie star. Enjoy!
8. He Has His Own Holiday In Japan
On October 10, 2006, the Japan Memorial Day Association announced that October 10th would be forever be known as “Tom Cruise Day,” to celebrate and honor the American actor on the basis that he’d visited the country of Japan more than any other Hollywood actor at the time and always shown a strong love and appreciation for his Japanese fans.
Tom Cruise was the first actor to receive this honor.
7. He Was The Prototype For Disney’s Aladdin
Have you ever noticed that Aladdin from the iconic Disney film looks eerily similar to Tom Cruise? Well, that’s because Disney wanted Aladdin to appear more likable, so the film’s animators used Cruise’s facial features to make the Prince of Ali Ababwa appear more like an action hero and attractive to the female audience.
Interestingly enough, originally animators used Michael J. Fox’s likeness for the character but the look was later scrapped when then-Disney Studios president Jeffrey Katzenberg suggested they use Cruise’s features instead.
6. Overcame Dyslexia With Scientology Techniques
As a child, Tom Cruise was diagnosed with a debilitating case of Dyslexia, which the star claims to have overcome through techniques promoted by his Scientology religion. Regardless of whether you believe his claim or not, Cruise is now a successful reader and more confident because of it, although the actor still remembers the difficulties of growing up with Dyslexia:
“When I was about 7 years old, I had been labeled dyslexic. I’d try to concentrate on what I was reading, then I’d get to the end of the page and have very little memory of anything I’d read. I would go blank, feel anxious, nervous, bored, frustrated, dumb. I would get angry. My legs would actually hurt when I was studying. My head ached. All through school and well into my career, I felt like I had a secret. When I’d go to a new school, I wouldn’t want the other kids to know about my learning disability, but then I’d be sent off to remedial reading.”
5. He Was Almost Iron Man
Prior to Robert Downey Jr. being cast as Tony Stark in 2008’s Iron Man, Marvel Studio’s initially offered the role to Tom Cruise but the star (luckily for us) turned it down. Much like Chris Evans portrayal of Steve Rogers/Captain America, the Marvel Cinematic Universe wouldn’t be the same without RDJ.
We have no doubt Cruise would’ve delivered, but we all know RDJ was born to play the “genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist,” so we couldn’t be happier that Cruise opted out in ’08.
4. He Refuses To Have Video Games or Actions Figures Use His Likeness
It might sound strange but since the beginning of his career, Tom Cruise has vehemently denied any all requests for his likeness to be used in the creation of video games or action figures based on his movies. Why? We have absolutely no idea. The actor’s agent has declined to comment on several occasions, but if we had to guess it likely something to do with controlling his brand.
In Mission: Impossible – Operation Surma, IMF operative Ethan Hunt is voiced by Steve Blum, known for his distinctively deep voice and characters like Spike Spiegel, Zeb Orrelios, Wolverine, and Professor Galvez.
3. A Wrestling Injury Led Him To Acting
Although it might come as a shock, while in high school Tom Cruise was a big fan of wrestling and was even a member of the school’s team. After a nasty knee injury left Cruise unable to play, he decided to fill the void by auditioning for the school’s production of Guys and Dolls. It was then Cruise decided he wanted to be an actor and as they say, the rest is history.
2. His Iconic Underwear Scene In Risky Business Was 100% Improvised
Written and directed by Paul Brickman, Risky Business is coming of age comedy story starring Tom Cruise as Joel Goodsen, a 19-year-old who gets into some trouble while his parents are on vacation. The film was a critical and commercial success and proved to be a breakout role for the young American actor.
Believe it or not, the iconic scene of Cruise dancing around the house to “Old Time Rock N’ Roll” in his underwear was actually completely improvised. All the script said was “dances to rock music,” so Cruise took it upon himself to make it his own and thirty-plus years later, it remains one of the most iconic movie scenes of all-time.
1. He Bought A Motorcycle At The Age Of 10
We all know Tom Crusie has a thing for thrills and stunts, so it should come as no surprise when we tell you a 12-year-old Cruise once saved up everything he had to purchase a motorcycle, which he later crashed between two cars, sending him over the handlebars.
During a 2013 interview with Jay Leno, Cruise revealed that although he initially kept the accident and motorcycle a secret from his mother, he eventually came clean.
“I actually told [my mother] years later. I came clean with everything!”