Scientology's top gun pays respects

The Boston Herald/November 18, 2009

Hollywood heavy Tom Cruise looked like just another member of The Firm the other night when he turned up at attorney Earle Cooley's jam-packed memorial service at the John Joseph Moakley Courthouse.

The "Knight & Day" leading man, wearing a dark suit and his trademark Tinseltown smile, joined rarely seen Church of Scientology leader David Miscavige at the service for Cooley, who was the religious group's legal Top Gun for more than 25 years. Talk about Risky Business.

"David spoke briefly about Earle and how he dedicated his career to helping them," said Cooley Manion Jones marketing gal Lisa Woodford, reminding us that Miscavige's proper title is chairman of the Religious Technology Center. "Tom came to help him honor Earle. He was wonderful and gracious to all the staff."

It appears Cruise, who wrapped the local shoot for "Knight & Day," was to resume filming the flick in Salzburg, Austria, tomorrow. But he stayed in the Hub an extra day - with daughter, Suri - for Cooley's service.

One attendee, who sat near Cruise, told us that she thought he was "just another lawyer" amongst the 500 state and federal justices and other local legal eagles who jammed the courthouse on the harbor to pay their respects.

U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Gertner put in an appearance at the 3 -hour memorial, as well as former Attorney General Frank Bellotti, Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone and former Boston University prez Dr. John Silber, who worked with Cooley when he was chairman of the university's board of trustees; Cooley's partners, Harry Manion and Pat Jones; and bar bigfoot Joe Balliro, Sr.

Guests who weren't members of the bar were asked by Earle's firm to allow for "extra time" for the Magnetometer security check at the courthouse, the flashing of photo ID and the turnover of cell phones and PDAs to federal courthouse staff. Tom, naturally, complied. You know, to blend in.

"Very few people knew who he was, so he really knew how to play the part," laughed our spy. "But after Frank Bellotti spoke, he stood up to shake his hand and congratulate him on his speech, and then we all knew it was Tom."

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