Tom Cruise’s Mother Mary Lee South

Mary Lee South

Mary Lee South is the proud mother of Hollywood star, Tom Cruise. The mother-son duo have been known to be extremely close; described as the actor’s rock, Mary Lee sadly passed away at age 80.

She was born Mary Lee Pfeiffer in Louisville, Kentucky. She was a former special-education teacher.

Mary Lee South raised the Mission Impossible star as a single mom since he was 12, supporting him in his early career. She was pivotal in Tom’s early beginnings. It was Mary Lee who gave Cruise the funds to pursue his show business dreams after he performed in a high school production of Guys and Dolls.

She divorced Cruise’s biological father Thomas Mapother III, an electrical engineer and abusive alcoholic, in 1974. She was remarried to John South, Cruise’s stepfather, four years later.

Mary Lee South and  John ‘Jack’ South and the family settled in Glen Ridge, New Jersey.

She and her then husband decided to support Tom’s whishes to become an actor and lent Cruise a few hundred dollars, which he eventually repaid from waiting tables in New York.

Mary Lee South married John South in 1978, when Cruise was just 16, but it is believed their marriage broke down in 2003 – around the time she became involved in Scientology.
She later lived with him at his Beverly Hills mansion for years.


Her second husband, John South, 89, died last July, after suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The had been divorced since 2010.

In recent years, Mary Lee South suffered a number of health problems. In 2016 she was seen enjoying of a mother’s day boating trip organized by Tom’s adoptive son with ex-wife Nicole Kidman, Connor. However, South was seen using a breathing tube and also required a wheel chair.

The boating trip came after Mary Lee’s seven year absence from the cameras.

She had been last photographed walking the red carpet as Cruise’s date at the Golden Globe awards in 2009.

Mary Lee South passed away at age 80 last week. She is survived by son Tom Cruise and daughters Lee Ann DeVette, Cass Mapother and Marian Henry. She also leaves a number of grandchildren including Connor, Isabella and Suri Cruise.

The family had a memorial service at her local Church of Scientology over the weekend.

We send our condolences.