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Tom Cruise's Mom Dies at 80

Special education teacher Mary Lee South always said her son had a 'God-given talent'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 14, 2017 6:47 AM CST

(Newser) – The person Tom Cruise considered his No. 1 fan has died. The actor's mom, Mary Lee South, passed away last week in her sleep at the age of 80, People reports. Cruise's rep confirmed her death to ET.com. A memorial service attended by the actor and his three sisters was held at a Church of Scientology over the weekend for South, who reportedly suffered from myriad health issues. The special education teacher always encouraged her son to get into acting, but he was more caught up in sports growing up. After Cruise suffered a wrestling injury in high school, however, South once more nudged him to try out for a play—and from there his acting career took hold. South told Rolling Stone in a 1986 interview she believed her son had a "God-given talent." (Read more obituary stories.)

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