TOM CRUISE narrowly escaped a serious injury as a child when his attempt to emulate a stunt by daredevil EVEL KNIEVEL went horribly wrong.
The Top Gun star was a big fan of the famed stuntman as a young boy, and he decided to recreate one of Knievel's famous canyon jumps in the late 1960s and early '70s.
Cruise set up ramps so he could leap over several trash cans on his pushbike, but his speedy descent down a steep hill ended in disaster when he careered into the bins and was left covered in blood on the sidewalk.
He tells U.K. talk show host Graham Norton, "I saw Evel Knievel jumping off a canyon and I lived on a steep hill so set up boards and trash cans to copy him. I was about eight years old and my sisters begged me not to do it, as I had been to the hospital a few times by this point.
"I realized halfway down the hill that I couldn't stop and it was too late to bail - I was committed and I thought I'm going to go so far and so high but of course the boards split and I ended up just pile-driving through the cans. It was violent and there was blood everywhere. My sisters were standing over me with no sympathy, just, 'We told you. You're in so much trouble.' My poor mother! She was very patient."