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Nicholas Cage posing for photos with fans on the set of National Treasure 2 at the University of Maryland
Birth name Nicholas Kim Coppola
Born January 7, 1964 (age 43)
Long Beach, California, USA
Best Actor 1995 Leaving Las Vegas
Golden Globe Awards
Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama
1996 Leaving Las Vegas
Nicolas Cage (born January 7, 1964) is an Academy Award-winning American actor. Cage has also worked as a director and producer, through his production company Saturn Films. As of 2007, he has been nominated twice for an Academy Award as Best Actor in a Leading Role, winning one of them for his performance in Leaving Las Vegas.
Cage was born Nicholas Kim Coppola in Long Beach, California. His father, August Floyd Coppola, is a comparative literature professor and a pioneer of studies for the blind, while his mother, Joy Vogelsang, is a choreographer and dancer who suffered from chronic depression; the two divorced in 1976. Cage's mother is of part German descent and his father is Italian American, with his paternal grandparents being Carmine Coppola and Italia Pennino, an actress. Through his father, Cage is the nephew of director Francis Ford Coppola and actress Talia Shire, as well as the cousin of director Sofia Coppola and actors Robert Carmine and Jason Schwartzman. Cage's two brothers are Christopher Coppola, a director, and Marc "The Cope" Coppola, a New York radio personality. Cage was raised Catholic.
Cage, who went to Beverly Hills High School (the same high school as fellow entertainers Albert Brooks, Angelina Jolie, Lenny Kravitz, Slash, Rob Reiner, and David Schwimmer), aspired to act from an early age. His first (non-cinematic) acting experience was in a school production of Golden Boy. He is also good friends with fellow actor Johnny Depp whom he advised to get into acting.
While a teenager he had no job, as he was rejected from every job he applied for. In order to avoid cries of nepotism as the nephew of Francis Ford Coppola, Cage changed his name from Nicholas Coppola to Nicolas Cage early in his career. The assumed surname is inspired by Marvel Comics character Luke Cage, a streetwise superhero. Since his feature film debut in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, in which he had a minute role opposite Sean Penn, Cage has appeared in a wide range of films, both mainstream and offbeat, including lead in Vampire's Kiss.
Cage has twice been nominated for an Academy Award and won once, for his performance as a suicidal alcoholic in Leaving Las Vegas. His performance in his 2007 blockbuster Next brought him much acclaim in Hollywood. His other nomination was for playing real-life screenwriter Charlie Kaufman and Kaufman's fictional twin Donald inAdaptation. Both of those films were offbeat, low-budget films to which Cage lent his superstar clout. Despite these successes, most of his lower-profile films have performed poorly at the box office compared with his more mainstream, action-filled efforts. In 2005, for example, audiences ignored two offbeat, non-mainstream films he headlined, Lord of War and The Weather Man. Despite good reviews for his acting and nationwide releases for both films, neither found a significant audience. Poor reviews for the film The Wicker Man did not, inversely, create a hit; to further buck the trend, the critically-panned Ghost Rider (2007) was a significant hit, earning more than $45 million during its opening weekend (landing in the top spot) and over $208 million worldwide through the weekend ending on 25 March 2007.
Most of his financial successes have come from his forays into the action-adventure genre. In his highest grossing film to date, National Treasure, he played an eccentric historian who goes on a dangerous adventure to find treasure hidden by the Founding Fathers of the United States. Other action hits in which Cage has starred include The Rock, in which he played a young FBI chemical weapons expert who infiltrates Alcatraz Island in hopes of neutralizing a terrorist threat, Face/Off, a John Woo film where he played both a hero and a villain, and World Trade Center, director Oliver Stone's film regarding the September 11, 2001 attacks. He also had a small but notable role as the Chinese criminal mastermind Dr. Fu Manchu in Rob Zombie's fake trailer Werewolf Women of the S.S. from the critically-acclaimed B-movie double feature Grindhouse. (NFC)
In recent years, Cage has experimented in other film-related fields besides acting. He made his directorial debut with Sonny, a low-budget drama starring James Franco as a male prostitute whose mother (Brenda Blethyn) serves as his pimp. Cage had a small role in the grim film, which received poor reviews and a short run in a limited number of theatres.
Cage's producing career has seen more success. Shadow of the Vampire, the first film produced by Saturn Films, the company he founded with partner Norm Golightly, was nominated for an Academy Award. He also produced The Life of David Gale, a death penalty-themed thriller with Kevin Spacey and Kate Winslet.
In early December 2006, Cage announced at the Bahamas International Film Festival that he would be taking time off from acting. Accordingly, he has eight films currently in the works. Cage said, "I feel I've made a lot of movies already and I want to start exploring other opportunities that I can apply myself to, whether it's writing or other interests that I may develop". Cage is listed as the executive producer of the The Dresden Files on the Sci-Fi Channel.