“Help, and you will make a huge impact in the life of the street, the town, the country and our planet. If only one out of four of each one hundred of you choose to help on any given day, in any given cause, incredible things will happen in the world you live in.” Tom Hanks
Two-time Oscar winner for Best Actor (Forrest Gump and Philadelphia) Tom Hanks was launched to superstardom portraying the title role of the Alabama simpleton in Robert Zemeckis’ Forrest Gump (1994) and AIDS victim Andrew Beckett in the hit Philadelphia (1993). In addition to the Academy Awards, Hanks’ spectacular performance in the films also handed him countless awards, including an Actor Award, a National Board of Review Award, two Golden Globe Awards, a Chicago Film Critics Association Award, an American Comedy Award, a Berlin Film Festival Award and a MTV Movie Award. One of the most accomplished and successful actors, Hanks initially gained attention for playing a teenager ambushed in the body of a 35-year-old man, Josh, in the box office hit Big (1988), where he nabbed a Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award and a Golden Globe Award, as well as received a nomination at the Oscars. The actor continued to draw praise from the public with the starring role of real-life astronaut Jim Lovell in the successful Apollo 13 (1995). Because of his wonderful acting, Hanks picked up an Actor Award and a People's Choice Award. In a more recent film, Hanks received appreciation and recognition playing a man stranded on a deserted island, Chuck Noland, in Robert Zemeckis’ top box office smash hit Cast Away (2000). His portrayal garnered Hanks an Online Film Critics Society Award, a New York Film Critics Award, a Golden Globe Award and a Chicago Film Critics Association Award. Currently one of the most sought-after leading men in Hollywood, Hanks is also well-known with his roles in such blockbuster movies as The Green Mile (1999, earned nomination at the Academy Awards), Toy Story 2 (1999), Saving Private Ryan (1999, was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor), You've Got Mail (1998), Toy Story (1995), Sleepless in Seattle (1993), A League of Their Own (1992) and Splash (1984).
Fans can also catch the actor in the more-recent and upcoming films Road to Perdition (2002), Catch Me If You Can (2002), The Terminal (2004), The Ladykillers (2004), The Polar Express (2004), The Da Vinci Code (2006), The Great Buck Howard (2006), A Cold Case (2006), The Risk Pool (2006) and Charlie Wilson's War (2006).
On the small screen, Hanks was highly praise for his amazing collaboration with Steven Spielberg in the TV miniseries “Band of Brothers” (2001), in which his behind-the-camera-efforts won a Golden Globe Award, an American Film Institute Award, a PGA Golden Laurel Award and an Emmy. In1998, Hanks netted a Producers Guild of America Norman Felton Award, a Producers Guild of America Golden Laurel Award, a Golden Satellite Award, a Golden Globe Award, an Emmy Award and a Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for his glittering efforts as a producer, director and writer (as well as an actor) in the HBO miniseries “From the Earth to the Moon” (1998).
Off screen, the first of Star TV’s Top Ten “Box Office Stars of the 1990s” (2003), Hanks was chosen Vice-President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2005. He is one of the members of the National Space Society, serving on the Board of Governors of the nonprofit, educational space advocacy organization formed by Dr. Wernher von Braun. Hanks is also a Democrat and has supported many candidates, including Diane Feinstein, Al Gore, John Kerry and Hilary Clinton. A family man, Hanks has spent his life outside the limelight with his actress wife Rita Wilson since 1988, with whom he shares two sons, Chester (born in 1990) and Truman Theodore (born in 1995). Hanks also has two other kids, a son named Colin Hanks (born in 1978), and a daughter named Elizabeth Hanks (born in 1982), from his previous marriage to Samantha Lewes.
Childhood and Family:
Son to a Southern chef of British and Welsh origin, Amos Mefford Hanks, and a hospital worker of primarily English descent, Janet Turner, Thomas J. Hanks was born on July 9, 1956, in Concord, California. His parents divorced when Tom was 5, leaving the little boy and his three siblings, Sandra Hanks, Larry Hanks and Jim Hanks, under the guidance of their father. Due to his father’s occupation, Tom had to move quite often. The family eventually settled in Oakland, California, where Tom attended and graduated from Skyline High School. During his high school years, Tom liked to entertain his classmates with his comedic talents and acted in school plays. Upon graduation, Tom went on to study at Chabot Junior College in Hayward, California. After watching a performance of Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh, he realized that he wanted to become an actor. Tom then transferred to California State University in Sacramento as a theater major, but quit his studies to intern with the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival in Lakewood, Ohio. Three years later, he relocated to New York to pursue acting and later headed for Los Angeles in hopes of reading more roles in TV and film.
While still in college, Tom met and fell for actress and producer Samantha Lewes, whom he married in 1980. Tom and Lewis have two children, a son named Colin Hanks (born in 1978), and a daughter named Elizabeth Hanks (born in 1982). Unfortunately, after a five-year marriage, the couple became estranged and their divorce was finalized in 1987. In 1988, Tom married actress Rita Wilson, with whom he shares two sons, Chester (born on August 4, 1990) and Truman Theodore (born on December 26, 1995).
Off screen, Tom Hanks is a member of the Greek Orthodox Church. During his off time, Tom enjoys playing golf, surfing, scuba diving and jogging, as well as watching the TV game show “Jeopardy.” He also likes collecting antique typewriters and reading books about space exploration. Additionally, Tom is a big fan of the Cleveland Indians baseball team and the English Premier League football team Aston Villa.
Tom Hanks began acting in high school and performed in school plays until graduating in 1974. Inspired by a production of “The Iceman Cometh” while at Chabot Junior College, Hanks discovered that his true calling was acting and quickly made his way to California State University to study theater. After his fine school performance in Cherry Orchard, Hanks was recruited by the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival in Ohio in 1977. Over the next three years, he spent summers acting in numerous productions of Shakespeare’s plays and his winters participating backstage in a community theater company in Sacramento. In 1978, Hanks netted a Cleveland Critics Circle for Best Actor for his brilliant performance of Proteus in “The Two Gentleman of Verona.” Hanks had left college by 1980, and after his third season with the Great Lakes festival, he relocated to New York to further-pursue an acting career.
After making the audition circuits, Hanks got his first taste in front of the camera with the small role of Elliot in the slasher film He Knows You're Alone (1980). He then moved to Los Angeles, where he was spotted by an ABC talent scout who landed him a role in the 1980 sitcom “Bosom Buddies.” Though the show was axed after two seasons, it gave Hanks some exposure and led to his guest performances in such popular series as “The Love Boat,” Taxi,” Happy Days” and “Family Ties.” He also made his TV movie debut in Rona Jaffe’s Mazes and Monsters (1982). Two years later, Hanks landed his first leading role as Allen Bauer, a man who is involved with a mermaid (Daryl Hannah), in director Ron Howard’s surprise hit Splash (1984). Following the success of the film, Hanks became an instant star.
More performances in films quickly ensued, including a role in Bachelor Party (1984), The Man with One Red Shoe (1985), Volunteers (1985), The Money Pit (1986), Nothing in Common (1986) and Dragnet (1987). However, it was Hanks’ portrayal of a 13-year-old boy trapped in the body of a 35-year-old man, Josh, in Penny Marshall‘s Big (1988), which really established his reputation as a box-office draw and a gifted actor. Hanks’ brilliant acting garnered him a Los Angeles Film Critics Association and a Golden Globe for Best Actor, as well as earned him a first nomination at the Oscars. He combined the huge victory with another, when Hanks was cast as harsh stand-up comic Steven Gold in Punchline (1988). His strong performance won him a Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award that same year.
Hanks’ next projects, Turner & Hooch (1989), Joe Versus the Volcano (1990, opposite Meg Ryan) and The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990), met with failure. In 1992, his career again gained momentum when Hanks rejoined director Penny Marshall for the baseball-themed A League of Their Own (1992). His follow-up, the Nora Ephron-directed Sleepless in Seattle (1993, with Meg Ryan), received even more recognition and became one of biggest hits in 1993.
Hanks’ big break also arrived in 1993 when director Jonathan Demme cast him in the starring role of Andrew Beckett, an attorney with AIDS who files a suit against his law firm for wrongful termination, in the blockbuster smash hit Philadelphia. Delivering a spectacular acting performance, Hanks was honored with a prestigious Oscar for Best Actor, as well as took home several awards like a Golden Globe, a Berlin Film Festival and a MTV Movie Award. The phenomenal triumph subsequently launched Hanks as a Hollywood’s A-List actor and cemented his standing as a leading dramatic actor.
The actor went on to attract the attention of the public in the following year as a slow-witted Southerner who lives an unusual life in Forrest Gump (1994). With Robert Zemeckis at the helm, Hanks’ dazzling performance won him countless awards, including a second Academy Award, an Actor, a National Board of Review, a Golden Globe, a Chicago Film Critics Association and an American Comedy for Best Actor. The film itself received enormous success at the box office and won another Oscar for Best Picture and Best Director.
Fortune was still in Hanks’ hands when the actor starred as real-life astronaut Jim Lovell in his next blockbuster hit, Apollo 13 (1995). Due to his powerful performance, Hanks nabbed an Actor for Outstanding Ensemble Performance and a People's Choice for Favorite Actor in a Dramatic Motion Picture. Also in 1995, Hanks provided his voice for the cowboy Woody in the computer-animated film Toy Story. A year later, Hanks was awarded two People's Choice Awards in the categories of Favorite Actor in a Dramatic Motion Picture and Favorite Motion Picture Actor.
After casting himself as Mr. White in the moderate hit That Thing You Do (1996, also scripted and directed), Hanks turned the heads of film critics for his outstanding work in the HBO miniseries “From the Earth to the Moon” (1998). In addition to executive producing the show, Hanks directed the first segment, penned more than three installments and acted in the penultimate episode. His behind-the-scene-efforts handed Hanks a Producers Guild of America Norman Felton for Producer of the Year, a Producers Guild of America Golden Laurel for Most Promising Emergent Television Producer, a Golden Satellite and a Golden Globe for Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television, an Emmy for Outstanding Miniseries and a Broadcast Film Critics Association for Best Picture Made for Television.
The same year, Hanks teamed up with Steven Spielberg for his highly-praised WWII drama Saving Private Ryan (1998), in which he received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor because of his bravura portrayal of Captain John H. Miller, and rejoined Ryan for Ephron’s romantic comedy You’ve Got Mail (1998). At the end of decade, Hanks experienced a colossal success at the box office because of his involvement in two big hits. He first reprised his role of Woody for the sequel Toy Story 2 (1999) and then played prison guard Paul Edgecomb in The Green Mile (1999). Toy Story 2 skyrocketed to No. 1 at the box office, and The Green Miles became the runner up in its opening weekend. Moreover, Hanks received an Academy Award nomination for his fine performance in the latter film. In 1999, Hanks was the recipient of a ShoWest for Star of the Decade and a People's Choice for Favorite Actor in a Motion Picture.
Entering the new millennium, the Oscar-winning actor collaborated with Gump director Robert Zemeckis for Cast Away (2000, opposite Helen Hunt). Portraying island-stranded Federal Express inspector Chuck Noland, Hanks won the hearts of audiences and critics alike. As a result, he was handed an Online Film Critics Society Award, a New York Film Critics Award, a Golden Globe and a Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor, and the film itself topped the holiday box office.
In 2001, Hanks co-produced (with Spielberg), acted, directed and scripted the HBO miniseries “Band of Brothers.” His efforts again gathered praise and several awards, including a Golden Globe for Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television, an American Film Institute for Movie or Mini-Series of the Year, a PGA Golden Laurel for Television Producer of the Year and an Emmy for Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special.
Hanks returned to film in 2002 with Road to Perdition, where he was cast as Michael Sullivan and costarred with legend Paul Newman. He next portrayed the FBI investigator perusing the U.S.’s youngest Most Wanted con man in Catch Me If You Can (2002, costarring Leonardo DiCaprio, directed by Spielberg). 2002 also saw Hanks produce the surprise hit My Big Fat Greek Wedding. The same year, Hanks was honored with two People's Choice Awards for Favorite Motion Picture Actor and for Favorite Motion Picture Star in a Drama, and an American Film Institute for Life Achievement Award.
After taking a two-year hiatus from movies, Hanks returned by putting four films under his belt. He first played effusive, guffawing Professor G.H. Dorr, who puts together a group of thieves to rob a casino, in the Coen brothers’ remake of The Ladykillers (2004), and then rejoined Spielberg to star as Eastern European immigrant Viktor Navorski for his romantic comedy The Terminal (2004, alongside Catherine Zeta-Jones). Hanks also appeared as mailbox Elvis in Elvis Has Left the Building (2004, starring Kim Basinger) and played multiple characters in the ambitious CGI-animated adaptation of the popular children’s story The Polar Express (2004).
In 2006, Hanks will star in Ron Howard’s adaptation of Dan Brown’s bestseller novel The Da Vinci Code (2006), and play roles (also serves as a producer) in the upcoming projects: The Great Buck Howard (2006), A Cold Case (2006), The Risk Pool (2006) and Charlie Wilson's War (2006).