Penelope? Nicole? The person who was clearly most important to the making of Tom Cruise, uber movie star, was his publicist Pat Kingsley (you were guessing L. Ron Hubbard?). Kingsley may have been even more effective in her field than Cruise was in his. She managed the image. She controlled the stories. But now the pair have parted company. It marks the end of one of Hollywood’s most successful partnerships. But it may also signal a shift in the way Hollywood is covered, from a time when stories were spoon-fed and controlled by publicists to the age of gossip and scandal, when stories are controlled by media outlets, levels public interest and to a certain extent, the nature of the web. This is the age of unscripted reality, and like it or not, many celebrities will find that the story really begins only after the performance ends.
From Adam Sternbergh in Slate: “Kingsley elevated the flack from media caddie to professional storyteller — she was, in effect, narrating the story of Tom Cruise … Celebrities like Colin Farrell or Britney Spears can only hope to keep their heads above water while body-surfing from scandal to scandal. They may even realize that it’s important to give us things to talk about. Otherwise, we might just start talking about someone else. Cruise and Kingsley’s tight-lipped tactics were revolutionary in their day. But they now seem as antiquated as the charms of a silent movie star…”