Nicolas Cage (born Nicolas Kim Coppola on January 7, 1964) is an American actor, producer and director, having appeared in over 60 films including Raising Arizona (1987), The Rock (1996), Face/Off (1997), Gone in 60 Seconds (2000), Adaptation (2002), National Treasure (2004), Ghost Rider (2007), Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009), and Kick-Ass (2010). Cage, at age 32, became the fifth youngest actor ever to win the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in Leaving Las Vegas.
Cage was born Nicolas Kim Coppola on January 7, 1964 in Long Beach, California. Raised by Catholic parents, his father, August Coppola, a professor of literature and his mother, Joy Vogelsang, a dancer and choreographer divorced in 1976. Cage's mother is of German descent and his father was of Italian descent (his paternal grandparents were composer Carmine Coppola and actress Italia Pennino, and his paternal great-grandparents were immigrants from Bernalda, Basilicata). Through his father, Cage is the nephew of director Francis Ford Coppola and actress Talia Shire, and the cousin of directors Roman Coppola and Sofia Coppola, film producer Gian-Carlo Coppola, and actors Robert Carmine and Jason Schwartzman. Cage's two brothers are New York radio personality Marc "The Cope" Coppola and director Christopher Coppola. He attended Beverly Hills High School, which is known for its many alumni who became entertainers. He aspired to act from an early age and also attended UCLA School of Theatre, Film, and Television. His first non-cinematic acting experience was in a school production of Golden Boy.
To avoid the appearance of nepotism as the nephew of Francis Ford Coppola, he changed his name early in his career to Nicolas Cage, inspired in part by the Marvel Comics superhero Luke Cage. Since his minor role in the film Fast Times at Ridgemont High, with Sean Penn, Cage has appeared in a wide range of films, both mainstream and offbeat. He tried out for the role of Dallas Winston in his uncle's film The Outsiders, based on S.E. Hinton's novel, but lost to Matt Dillon. He was also in Coppola's films Rumble Fish and Peggy Sue Got Married.