Tom Hanks is an American actor, comedian and filmmaker. He is known for his roles in Splash (1984), Big (1988), Turner & Hooch (1989), Philadelphia (1993), Forrest Gump (1994), Apollo 13 (1995), Saving Private Ryan, You’ve Got Mail (both 1998), The Green Mile (1999), Cast Away (2000), The Da Vinci Code (2006), Captain Phillips, Saving Mr. Banks (both 2013), and Sully (2016), as well as for his voice work in the animated Toy Story series and The Polar Express (2004).
Let’s find out some amazing facts about him!
1. Thomas Jeffrey “Tom” Hanks was born July 9, 1956 in Concord, California.
2. He is the son of Janet Marylyn, a hospital worker, and Amos Mefford Hanks, an itinerant cook.
3. His mother was of Portuguese descent (her family’s surname was originally “Fraga”), while his father had English ancestry.
4. Hanks’ parents divorced in 1960.
5. The family’s three oldest children, Sandra,Larry and Tom, went with their father, while the youngest, Jim remained with their mother in Red Bluff, California.
6. In his childhood, his family moved often. By the age of ten, Hanks had lived in ten different houses.
7. While Hanks’ family religious history was Catholic and Mormon, he has characterized himself as being a “Bible-toting evangelical” for several years as a teenager.
8. In school, Hanks was unpopular with students and teachers alike, later telling Rolling Stone magazine, “I was a geek, a spaz. I was horribly, painfully, terribly shy. At the same time, I was the guy who’d yell out funny captions during filmstrips. But I didn’t get into trouble. I was always a real good kid and pretty responsible.”
9. In 1965, his father married Frances Wong, a San Francisco native of Chinese descent.
10. Frances had three children, two of whom lived with Hanks during his high school years.
11. Hanks acted in school plays, including South Pacific, while attending Skyline High School in Oakland, California.
12. Hanks studied theater at Chabot College in Hayward, California, and transferred to California State University, Sacramento, two years later.
13. Hanks told New York magazine in 1986, “Acting classes looked like the best place for a guy who liked to make a lot of noise and be rather flamboyant. I spent a lot of time going to plays. I wouldn’t take dates with me. I’d just drive to a theater, buy myself a ticket, sit in the seat and read the program, and then get into the play completely. I spent a lot of time like that, seeing Brecht, Tennessee Williams, Ibsen, and all that.”
14. During his years studying theater, Hanks met Vincent Dowling, head of the Great Lakes Theater Festival in Cleveland, Ohio.
15. At Dowling’s suggestion, Hanks became an intern at the festival.
16. His internship stretched into a three-year experience that covered most aspects of theater production, including lighting, set design, and stage management, prompting Hanks to drop out of college.
17. During the same time, Hanks won the Cleveland Critics Circle Award for Best Actor for his 1978 performance as Proteus in Shakespeare’s The Two Gentlemen of Verona, one of the few times he played a villain.
18. Time Magazine named Hanks one of the “Top 10 College Dropouts.”
19. Hanks’ films have grossed more than $4.4 billion at U.S. and Canadian box offices and more than $8.7 billion worldwide,making him the fourth highest-grossing actor in North America.
20. Hanks has been nominated for numerous awards during his career.
21. He won a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in Philadelphia, as well as a Golden Globe, an Academy Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and a People’s Choice Award for Best Actor for his role in Forrest Gump.
22. In 2004, he received the Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award for Excellence in Film from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA).
23. Hanks is also known for his collaborations with film director Steven Spielberg on Saving Private Ryan, Catch Me If You Can (2002), The Terminal (2004), and Bridge of Spies (2015), as well as the 2001 miniseries Band of Brothers, which launched Hanks as a successful director, producer, and screenwriter.
24. In 2010, Spielberg and Hanks were executive producers on the HBO miniseries The Pacific (a companion piece to Band of Brothers).
25. He married actress Samantha Lewes in 1978, 2 months after their son Collin Hanks was born.
26. They got divorced in 1987. They have a daughter Elizabeth Hanks.
27. A year later he married another actress Rita Wilson. They have two sons: Chester Marlon Hanks and Truman Theodore.
28. He co-starred with his wife Rita Wilson in the movie “Volunteers.”
29. His elder son from second marriage Chester Marlon Hanks had a minor role to play as a student in “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of The Crystal Skull.”
30. He revealed that he has type 2 diabetes on “The Late Show with David Letterman” on October 7, 2013.
31. Before his second marriage he got converted to “Greek Orthodox Church”, the religion of Rita Wilson’s family.
32. He is an avid collector of manual typewriters and has written an article about them in “The New York Times” in August 2013.
33. He originally wanted to become an astronaut but was unsuccessful. He is a supporter of NASA’s manned space program.
34. His first movie was the low budget film “He Knows You’re Alone” in 1980.
35. His first starring role was in the movie “Mazes and Monsters.”
36. He landed a lead role in the Television series “Bosom Buddies” alongside Peter Scolari. He and Scolari had to dress as women to stay in an inexpensive all-female hotel.
37. He had worked with Scolari previously in the game show “Make Me Laugh” in the 1970’s.
38. Director Ron Howard was impressed with Hank’s performance in the “Bosom Buddies” and offered him a lead in “Splash”, a romantic comedy about a mermaid falling in love with a human.
39. It was a huge box office hit grossing more than $69 million and boosted his career.
40. However he rose as an actor and box office draw with the success of fantasy comedy movie “Big” in 1988.
41. He portrayed as a washed up baseball legend turned manager in 1992 movie “A League of Their Own,” with which he climbed to the top.
42. He also worked as a hotel bellman and carried bags of the celebrity guests. The celebrities were Sidney Poitier, Cher, Slappy white and Bill Withers.
43. He once shared the record for most consecutive (7) $100 million grossing movies with Tom Cruise and Will Smith.
44. He has an asteroid named after him “12818 tomhanks.”