[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated:  Wednesday, 27 November, 2002, 18:26 GMT
Nicolas Cage's quirky career
Nicolas Cage
Cage won an Oscar for his role in Leaving Las Vegas
Actor Nicolas Cage's unconventional appearance makes him one of the least likely of contemporary Hollywood stars.

Born on 7 January, 1964, to a literature professor father and a dancer/choreographer mother, Cage was fascinated from an early age with the idea of being inside the television.

He would often escape into a world of his own making, performing shows with his brothers for the neighbours.

It was as a student at Beverly Hills High school that Cage gained his first recognition as an actor, winning a Best Actor award for an action film he devised and starred in.


Cage made his film debut after dropping out of school at the age of 17.

It was a small part - in Amy Heckerling's 1982 classic, Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

Most of the film was cut, however, dashing Cage's hopes and leading to a job selling popcorn in a theatre.

But a job reading lines with actors auditioning for a role in his uncle Francis Ford Coppola's movie Rumble Fish landed him a role in the film.

Patricia Arquette
Patricia Arquette wooed Cage with a list of impossible requests

A lead role in 1983's Valley Girl followed and Cage spent the remainder of the decade playing endearingly bizarre and quirky characters in films like Peggy Sue Got Married, Raising Arizona and Moonstruck.

The 1990s saw Cage take on a string of diverse roles ranging from a violent ex-con in David Lynch's Wild at Heart to a sweet-natured private eye in the romantic comedy Honeymoon in Vegas.

Mike Figgis' Leaving Las Vegas in 1995 saw him playing a dying alcoholic - a role which won him a Best Actor Oscar.

After winning his Oscar, Cage switched gear again - this time choosing to star in a series of big budget action films.

In 1996 he took the lead in the Alcatraz thriller The Rock and the following year he made Con Air and John Woo's Face Off.

In 1998 Cage made a return to sentimental romance with his performance as a love-struck angel in City of Angels, a remake of Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire.

Cage has since veered from playing a surveillance expert investigating the death of a woman in the porn industry in 8MM to a burnt-out paramedic in Martin Scorsese's Bring Out the Dead.

Cage and Lisa-Marie Presley
Cage and Lisa-Marie Presley are to divorce after three months of marriage
His one-time passion for method acting reached a personal limit when he smashed a street-vendor's remote-control car to achieve the sense of rage needed for his gangster character in The Cotton Club.


Cage is reported to be a hopeless romantic, despite his short-lived second marriage to Lisa-Marie Presley.

He met his first wife, actress Patricia Arquette, in 1987 in a Los Angeles deli.

After a few hours he announced he was going to marry her, but she declined.

He insisted that she put him on a quest to prove his love for her so she wrote a list of impossible requests on a napkin.

They included a black orchid, an autograph from known recluse JD Salinger and a wedding dress from a Tibetan tribe.

Cage promptly presented Arquette with a spray-painted orchid and a letter from Salinger.

The pair had a brief relationship but split up. They were reunited - and married - eight years later after a chance meeting.

Cage said at the time that the two were "definitely soul mates".

They later divorced, citing "irreconcilable differences".



The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific