Oscar Winner Nicolas Cage

Celebrities, Celebrity Q&A, People
on February 2, 2003

Nicolas Cage is an excellent actor. I heard he has famous relatives in show business. Who are they? Please tell me about Cage.
—Jolene M., Minnesota

Here's a clue: The intense, 39-year-old actor was born Nicholas Coppola in Long Beach, Calif. That makes him nephew to famed director Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather, Apocalypse Now), cousin of actress and director Sofia Coppola (The Virgin Suicides), and nephew of actress Talia Shire (Rocky, The Godfather). He's also cousin to actor Jason Schwartzman (Rushmore). His father, August, was a comparative literature professor, and his mother, Joy, was a choreographer and dancer. Cage dropped out of Beverly Hills High School to pursue his acting career, and though he is credited as Nicholas Coppola in his first film, Fast Times At Ridgmont High, he decided to drop his famous last name to succeed on his own reputation. He's known for his immersion in his roles, to the point of having two teeth pulled for Birdy and eating a live cockroach for Vampire's Kiss. He won an Oscar for his wrenching portrayal of an alcoholic with a death wish in Leaving Las Vegas and easily switches from light comedy to heavy drama to offbeat independent films.