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The man behind the movies: Who is Tom Cruise?

M-Net Presents the Tom Cruise Pop-Up Channel which launched on DStv channel 109 earlier this month. And with its arrival, we thought this the perfect opportunity to take a closer look at the couch-jumping star, his stellar career and some fascinating facts about his extraordinary life as one of Hollywood’s biggest A-listers.

Let’s start at the beginning. To say that Tom had humble beginnings is an understatement. Growing up in near poverty and with an abusive father, his family was constantly on the move. He bounced around a crazy total of fifteen different schools and actually never learned to read until later in his life due to his crippling dyslexia.

Tom didn’t always want to become an actor. In fact, his first career aspiration at age 14 was to become a Catholic priest. This all changed in high school. While he was quite the jock, enjoying football and wrestling, a knee injury left him unable to play. Looking for another way to spend his time, he auditioned for the school’s production of Guys and Dolls and landed the starring role.

After school, Tom moved to New York and then Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. After a few supporting roles, his big break came in Risky Businesswhich we all still remember for that scene where he dances in his undies. However, if your memory is a little fuzzy on the specifics, we’ve got great news! Catch his first-ever feature film on Sunday, 05 April at 21:00 WAT for some late-night entertainment.

Yet, it was only three years later, when he starred as Maverick in Top Gun, that his status as superstar was cemented. You probably saw this on Sunday, 22 March at 17:10 WAT the 1986 instalment ahead of the June 2020 release of Top Gun: Maverick

Just as the role Tom played in Top Gun has become synonymous with him, so too has Ethan Hunt in Mission Impossible. Can you believe that the first MI movie hit the screens all the way back in 1996? Six movies later, the franchise is still raking in the box office returns and at least two more instalments are in the pipeline. Luckily, we’ve got you covered with a daily dose of Mission Impossible movies starting from 24 March – and oh boy, do we enjoy the action-filled drama!

Surprisingly, despite starring in some of the most iconic movies of our time and earning billions of dollars at the box office, the one accolade that has always eluded Tom Cruise is the coveted Oscar statue. And we thought Leo DiCaprio had it bad.

No article about Tom Cruise would be complete without mentioning his contentious association with the Church of Scientology. He’s an outspoken advocate of the organisation and attributes its teachings for him overcoming his dyslexia. The Church even introduced him to his third wife, Katie Holmes.

Today, Tom Cruise has an enviable legacy. In 2006, both Premiere and Forbes Magazines ranked him as the world’s most powerful celebrity. Japan even declared a special day dedicated to this iconic Hollywood star due to the number of trips he’s made to the country. His films have crossed almost every genre from action to comedy to horror and suspense, and some of his roles will forever be cemented in our memory. Just read the phrase “Show me the moneeeeeey!” and you can’t help but conjure up Tom’s impassioned performance in Jerry Maguire.

Check out the Tom Cruise Pop-Up Channel, presented by M-Net which launched 20 March to 5 April on DStv channel 109 for these and other great titles like War of the WorldsInterview with a VampireRock of AgesThe Last Samurai and many others.

Don’t want to miss The Tom Cruise Pop-Up Channel, presented by M-Net Movies? Take up the DStv Step Up and Boost offer to get upgraded to a higher package at no extra cost. For more on DStv’s Step Up campaign, visit www.DStvAfrica.com.

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