Nicolas Kim Coppola (born January 7, 1964), known professionally as Nicolas Cage, is an American actor, producer and director. He has performed in leading roles in a variety of films, ranging from romantic comedies and dramas to science fiction and action movies. Cage is known for his prolificacy, appearing in at least one film per year, nearly every year since 1980 (with the exception of 1985 and 1991).
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The nephew of motion-picture director Francis Ford Coppola, he made his acting debut in 1981 in a television pilot. He then landed a role in the teenage comedy Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) and in 1983 appeared in Coppola’s Rumble Fish.
Wanting to differentiate himself from his uncle, he subsequently began using the last name Cage. His first starring role came in Valley Girl (1983), a lighthearted romance about suburban punk rockers. In 1984 Cage, by then a strong proponent of the Stanislavsky method of acting, appeared in Coppola’s The Cotton Club as well as in Racing with the Moon and Birdy.
Nicholas Cage finished out the 1980s with massive success and critical acclaim in the Coen brothers’ film, Raising Arizona (1987), opposite Holly Hunter, Frances McDormand, and John Goodman. Cage also starred in Moonstruck (1987), opposite Cher and Olympia Dukakis.
While Raising Arizona has gone on to be a cult classic, Moonstruck was a major critical and commercial success, winning both Cher and Dukakis Academy Awards and another award to John Patrick Shanley for Best Original Screenplay.