Thomas J. Hanks was born July 9th, 1956, in Concord, California. Tom and his elder siblings were raised by their father Amos Hanks, following the divorce of their parents.
Because Amos Hanks was a chef, it forced his family to move every six months in pursuit of jobs. This unstable upbringing meant many schools for young Tom, who had to readjust to his new surroundings practically every semester. Initially a shy schoolboy, Hanks dealt with these readjustments by becoming the class clown and taking on different personas — almost considered practice for his career.
He took these “characters” to the stage and he began participating in high school plays. While a student at Chabot Junior College, he saw a production of The Iceman Cometh for a class, which convinced him that he wanted to become an actor. He transferred to California State University in Sacramento as a theatre major, and was recruited by the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival in Ohio after his outstanding school performance in Cherry Orchard.
tom hanks in bosom buddies
After three years of experience with the Shakespeare festival, Hanks headed to the Big Apple with big dreams. Going through the requisite auditions before hitting it big, Hanks finally landed his debut role in 1980, in the film He Knows You’re Alone. He then landed a role in the drag ABC comedy, Bosom Buddies, a role which forced him to wear dresses and heels for two seasons.
tom hanks makes a splash
Following the bosom stint, Hanks did the rounds on popular ’80s sitcoms such as Family Ties, Taxi and Happy Days, which led to his role in Splash. Director Ron Howard (of Happy Days fame) tapped Hanks to audition for the supporting role in Splash (1984), and he landed the lead.
The mermaid romance made waves, but Hanks was headed for calm waters with his next movies, such as Bachelor Party (1984), Volunteers (1985) (where he met his wife, Rita Wilson), The Money Pit (1986), Nothing In Common (1986), and Dragnet (1986). But he hit it Big with the 1988 comedy about a teenager trapped in a man’s body.
tom hanks is sleepless in seattle
Finally, in 1993, Hanks became an A-list actor and an Oscar favorite. Apparently forgiven for career choices such as The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990) and Turner and Hooch (1989) (his role in A League of Their Own made up for these), Hanks won the hearts of women in Sleepless in Seattle (1993), reuniting him with his Joe Versus the Volcano co-star, Meg Ryan) and the hearts of everyone as an AIDS victim in Philadelphia (1993). He also won the Academy Award for Best Actor that year, and picked up the gold statue once again for his title role in Forrest Gump (1994) the following year.
Ever since then, it was clear that everything Hanks touched turned to gold. In 1995, he went to the moon in Apollo 13 and lent his voice to cowboy doll Woody in Disney’s animated feature, Toy Story. He got back into the astronaut’s uniform for the made-for-TV miniseries, From the Earth to the Moon (which he also directed and produced); re-teamed with his Sleepless co-star for the romantic comedy You’ve Got Mail (1998), and returned as the optimistic Woody for the hit Toy Story 2 (1999).
On a more serious note, Hanks starred as Captain John H. Miller in Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan (1998), and as a prison guard in The Green Mile (1999), both of which garnered Hanks Best Actor Oscar nominations.
tom hanks in the da vinci code
Hanks has proved that his talent is truly multi-faceted: as a regular host on Saturday Night Live, he has proved his comedic side, while as director of features such as 1996’s That Thing You Do! (which he also wrote the script for) and the television miniseries Band of Brothers, and producer of a bevy of features (most notably 2000’s Cast Away), Hanks has mastered every angle of filmmaking.
Also a family man, Hanks is happily married to Rita Wilson, with whom he has two children. He has another two children with his ex-wife, Samantha Lewes.
One of the most respected and likable men in Hollywood (and the only actor worthy of a $20 million salary, according to Entertainment Weekly), more of Hanks stellar perfomances can also be seen in Cast Away, Road To Perdition (2002), The Terminal (2004), and The Da Vinci Code (2006).
-> why we like him?
Tom Hanks plays the nice guy, the kind of nice guy we root for, not the kind of guy we want to boo off the big screen. What stands out though is his acting abilities; he went from stand-up comedian to dramatic actor, giving all of us poor men with a slight comedic flair a mentor and idol to aspire to.
-> why is he famous?
Take your pick among his many Oscar nominated performances and other box office hits: The Green Mile, Toy Story 2, Saving Private Ryan, You’ve Got Mail, Apollo 13, Toy Story, Forrest Gump, Philadelphia, Sleepless in Seattle, A League of Their Own.
“May you live as long as you want and not want as long as you live.” -Tom Hanks