Born as Jens Vera Cruz Bosen, the Vera Cruz middle name came from the battle of Vera Cruz. He was raised in the Mormon religion, but did not practice it after his teenage years.
James Cruze acted, directed and or produced in over 100 films mainly during the silent film era. His first known acting job was at Lubin Manufacturing Company in 1910. He started at Thanhouser Company in 1912 which is where the majority of his body of work was produced, much of it as the leading man. He married the actress Marguerite Snow in 1913.
After leaving Thanhouser in 1916, he worked for several other companies as director and producer, primarily for Paramount Pictures, from 1918 to 1938.