The most damning thing one learns from reading Andrew Morton’s Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography is that the actor being biographed is a control freak. Also, perhaps, a bit of a self-obsessed bore.
The book, which hit stores yesterday, is a sore disappointment for those of us who’d hoped we might learn something new and exciting about the not-so-tall movie star.
It is, however, not surprising that no great secrets are revealed when the author relies on sources such as Kathleen Jensen, a Toledo, Ohio, “family friend” of Cruise’s wife, Katie Holmes. Jensen shows her moral outrage over the out-of-wedlock pregnancy that would eventually bring forth Suri Cruise and rails that, “She (Holmes) really needs to get that baby baptized in a Catholic church.”
Jensen and a parade of old acquaintances, many of whom may or may not once have eaten a sandwich next to Cruise when they were in the second grade, are about as good as the sources get. Old, tired tabloid stories are repeated, and couch-jumping Oprah Winfrey Show incidents are retold and scrutinized.
Which leads to what seems to be foremost on Morton’s mind: the Church of Scientology of which Cruise is a prominent member. A good portion of the book is devoted to ragging on Scientology (unfailingly referred to as “sect” or “cult“), but rather than make a case that the church has somehow made Cruise a total weirdo, it comes across as space-filler/half-baked personal vendetta.
It’s possible that Scientology is evil, but Morton’s book is not called Scientology is Evil. While a person’s religious affiliation is of interest, here the delving into it comes across as a substitute for actually talking to people who have met Cruise during the last 20 years.
Earlier this week, a Daily Mail article examined Morton’s implication that Suri is somehow the product of frozen sperm from church founder L. Ron Hubbard (shudder). What the suggestion hinges on is a passage as silly as if Morton had been pondering the possibility that Suri’s dad was a dolphin.
“Some sect members sincerely believed that Katie Holmes was carrying the baby that would be the vessel for L. Ron Hubbard’s spirit when he returned from his trip around the galaxy…. Some Sea Org fanatics even wondered if the actress had been impregnated with Hubbard’s frozen sperm. In her more reflective moments, Katie might have felt as if she were in the middle of a real-life version of the horror movie Rosemary’s Baby …”
Anyone who’s visited a celebrity blog during the past couple of years has come across this theory. It’s possible it’s true — it’s also possible that kittens could take over the world and enslave us all — but Morton doesn’t offer any kind of proof.
Morton does, however, excel at iffy foreshadowing. When Cruise first saw himself on television “… he was literally jumping up and down on the sofa with excitement…. It was a precursor of a rather more public performance some twenty-five years later.” Or maybe it was just a kid excited over seeing himself on television.
There have been rumblings about legal action against Morton from Cruise’s team, but unless they want to sue him for being boring, they should just leave it alone.
Curiously, one of the persistent rumours about Cruise — that he may have an, erm, affinity for other men — is shot down again and again by a long parade of old girlfriends dating back to his high school years, who claim that he was a tiger in the backseats of various cars.
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