Mary Lee South, the mother of the Mission Impossible star Tom cruise, has passed away peacefully. Mary Lee was 80 years old and had been struggling with health problems up to her death last week.
At the Church of Scientology in her local area a memorial was held in her honor last weekend, which Tom Cruise attended along with his sisters: Marian Henry, Cass Mapother and Lee Ann Devette.
Mary Lee was born in Louisville, Kentucky and had worked as a special-education teacher where she met and married Thomas Cruise Mapother III.
She was the one who inspired Tom to pursue a career in acting and loved theater herself although she never perused it, as she mentioned in an interview for Rolling Stone in 1986. She added: “When I was growing up, if you went to Hollywood, that was really risqué.”
The family moved to Syracuse, New York where Tom was born. They lived for a while in Ottawa, Canada as well. However, the marriage did not last as she ended it in 1974. Following the divorce she became the breadwinner of the family and after returning to America she started working as much as she could to support them.
Tom even helped with the earnings from a newspaper route, and their relationship started strengthening and they became a lot closer. Later she fell in love with Jack South in New Jersey, whom she married and took his family name. Jack South took the entire family in as Tom Cruise’s recalls fondly.
Mary Lee always encouraged her son to pursue acting and theater as she believed he always had it in him, but as most young men Tom was initially drawn to sports. However when his wrestling career ended abruptly due to knee injury, Mary continued to encourage him to give theater a chance and specifically at that time to try out for a local play, Guys and Dolls, at his high school.
She did not expect that when the play was over he would develop a passion for acting. Tom told his mother and her second husband that he wanted to pursue a career in acting and asked for permission to spend the following decade working towards it, then, with her blessing he broke into the business.
Their close relationship continued and Tom, the son who would massage his mother’s feet after a long day of work, kept her close as he rose to become a star in the US box-office.