South, who had been coping with health issues in recent years, died peacefully in her sleep. She was given a memorial service at her local Church of Scientology this weekend. Cruise and his sisters, Lee Ann DeVette, 57, Cass Mapother, 55, and Marian Henry, 52, all attended and were joined by other family members and friends.
South was born Mary Lee Pfeiffer, the Louisville, Kentucky, and was a special education teacher when she married Cruise's father, Thomas Cruise Mapother III. South ended the marriage in 1974, and Cruise told PEOPLE in 2006 that his father was "a bully."
Through it all, she always supported her son's dreams of becoming an actor.
When Cruise asked South and her second husband if he try his hand at acting, "We both wholeheartedly agreed," she told Rolling Stone. "Because we both felt it was a God-given talent … So to make a long story short, we gave him our blessing — and the rest is history."
This story first appeared at Womanista.