The Secret of Tom Cruise's Success
A Dyslexic Who Made It Big In Hollywood

Photo by Gage Skidmore / CC BY-SA 2.0

Tom Cruise is a Hollywood A-lister with a net worth of $250 million. He's an actor, a producer, with numerous prestigious awards under his belt. He's a well-respected, well-loved guy in the industry, admired for his talent in bringing to life the roles he portrays in his films. It's not just because of good looks, and Tom Cruise was able to prove it to the world time and time again.

The Life of Young Thomas Cruise Mapother IV

Young Tom was born in New York on July 3, 1962. He had three other sisters who were all raised Catholics. Their father, Thomas Cruise Mapother III was violent and abusive, and would often beat him for no apparent reason. On top of that, Tom was diagnosed when he was only 7 years old with dyslexia, a developmental reading disorder. 

The Mapothers moved house frequently all over the US and Canada, and by the time he was 14 years old, he had attended 15 schools between the 2 countries. His parents divorced when he was 12 years old and when his wayward father refused to provide them with child support, he dropped his surname and went by Cruise instead.

Personal Struggles

At age 14, wanting some sort of direction in his life, he enrolled to become a priest at a seminary, but left after a year. At that time they were living in Kentucky and he worked as a paperboy to earn money for himself. Settling in New Jersey, it was in Glen Ridge High School that Tom discovered his interest for acting, as he got into an accident and couldn't continue being a part of the wresting team anymore because of his injured knee. 

Tom was still struggling with dyslexia, but was able to keep it as a secret for most of his young life, even as he graduated in High School. He described himself as a functional illiterate and was still popular with his friends but his secret of not being able to read bugged him a lot. 

Even so, he received praise for playing the lead role in 'Guys and Dolls,' the school's production. After graduating, he headed to New York to become an actor and studied drama at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theatre. 

Rise to Fame

Through his dedication and perseverance, Tom Cruise landed a small part in the 1981 film, 'Endless Love.' He was immediately noticed after that and starred in 'Taps,' alongside Sean Penn and Timothy Hutton. Though the movie didn't become a huge success, but it did give him leverage in show business, appearing in 2 other teen movies before he starred in the huge blockbuster 'Risky Business.'

It was all rise to fame from then on, even when he had to quietly deal with his father's passing in 1984 and his next movie (Legend) in 1985 didn't become such a hit as he'd hoped.

Dealing With Dyslexia

But that didn't keep him from pursuing his dreams and honing his natural acting talents, making his star shine even brighter. To  help with his difficulty in reading, he discovered L. Ron Hubbard's learning method of 'Study Technology.' Through this, he was able to develop new study and learning habits that suited him. 

His next movies were all certifiable blockbusters: Top Gun, The Colour of Money, Rain Man, and Born on the Fourth of July to which he received his 1st Oscar nomination.

It was in the 90's that he started earning $15 million per movie, No doubt that he was one of the hottest actors in that era—and he still continues to make waves with his role choices up to this day: The Mission Impossible franchise, A Few Good Men, Narc, Interview with the Vampire, Jerry Maquire, War of the Worlds, Valkyrie... These were just a handful of the movies that received critical acclaim and raked in millions, and it's all because Tom Cruise had a huge part in it.  

Lessons From The Success of Tom Cruise

  • You can tell how Tom stayed in love with his craft all these years. 
  • He was artistic and pursued his talents.
  • He was determined to make it big
  • And he had always tried to stay on top of it all. 

It's no small feat, to still be considered as one of the most bankable stars in the business even after more than 30 years of being around, but he somehow managed to do it—and is still doing it. Tom Cruise's magic is here to stay.

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"If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants." Isaac Newton

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References:

Forbes (The ultimate site for billionaire rankings)

CelebrityNetWorth (The ultimate site for net worth of celebrities)

TheRichest (Great site for things about money and rich people)

Wikipedia (Greatest site on earth for lots of information)