Birth name: Thomas Jeffrey Hanks
DOB: July 9, 1956
Married & Divorced Samantha Lewes (1978-1987)
Currently married to Rita Wilson (1988 – present)
Two children w/ex-wife (now deceased) Samantha, Colin Hanks (also an actor) & Elizabeth Ann & two children with current wife, Chester & Truman.
Tom Hanks is a third cousin, fourth generations removed, of former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln. Their common ancestor is John Hanks, who was the great-great grandfather of Lincoln and the great-great-great-great-great-great –grandfather of Tom Hanks.
He is also related to Bill Cosby’s wife Camille Cosby (nee Camille Olivia Hanks); both share a biological lineage to Abraham Lincoln through his mother Nancy Hanks.
The plot for the 1997 film In and Out came from Hanks Oscar acceptance speech for Philadelphia in 1993.
The second actor to ever win back to back Oscars for his work in Philadelphia (1993) & Forrest Gump (1994).
One word cannot describe the talented Tom Hanks. Not only is he an actor, he is a writer, a producer, and a director. For those who have watched him on the big screen, or even the small, the many talents of Hanks may not have been known to his fans. Before he became the dramatic actor audiences flock to see, he worked in television and family-friendly comedies, most notably Bosom Buddies. While the ratings for that show were never strong and it only lasted on ABC for two seasons, critics gave it high marks. One of the producers, Ian Praiser, was even quoted in Rolling Stone Magazine at the time saying, “I thought, ‘Too bad he won’t be in television for long.’ I knew he’d be a movie star in two years.” Praiser might have believed it but Hanks wasn’t convinced. He thought he would be right back to pulling ropes and hanging lights in a theatre.
Born July 9, 1956, in Concord, California, Hanks had what he called a “fractured family”. His parents divorced while he was young, and along with three of his other siblings, went to live with his father; the youngest child remained with their mother. The elder Hanks remarried more than once and the children had a succession of step-families. In college he studied theatre but dropped out when his commitment to working at the Great Lakes Theatre Festival become bigger than anticipated. There he studied everything from lighting, to set design to stage management. What started out as an internship stretched into a three year experience; with this under his belt Hanks’ future in acting was solidified.
In 1979, he packed his bags and headed to New York City where he made his film debut in the low-budget slasher, He Knows You’re Alone, and a part in the television movie, Mazes and Monsters. His stay in NY wasn’t long; when he won the role of Kip Wilson in Bosom Buddies in 1980 he moved to Los Angeles. When the show ended, instead of pulling ropes and hanging lights, Hanks had a guest appearance on Happy Days in 1982 which led to the lead role in the 1984 film Splash. From there he went on to appear in films such as Bachelor Part, Nothing in Common, and Big to name a few. After appearing in Nothing in Common, Hanks began to establish the credentials of not only a comedic actor but an actor who could carry a serious role. In 1993, Hanks won the Oscar for Best Actor for his role in Philadelphia and repeated the win in 1994 for his portrayal of Forest Gump in the film of the same name. Hanks is the second actor, beside Spencer Tracy to accomplish this feat. Some of his other big box office hits are Apollo 13, Saving Private Ryan, Catch Me If You Can, Cast Away, The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons, and Toy Story 1 & 2, as the voice of Sheriff Wood.
Hanks reprises the role in Toy Story 3 which hits theatres nationwide today, June 18, 2010.
In addition to acting in numerous films and box office hits, Hanks had also produced and directed such projects as the film That Thing You Do! In 1996, he executive produced, co-wrote, and co-directed the HBO docudrama From the Earth to the Moon. He worked with Steven Spielberg on Saving Private Ryan and in 2006 was the first actor ever to be inducted as an honorary member of the United States Army Rangers Hall of Fame for his accurate portrayal of a Captain in the film. An avid support of NASA’s manned space program, he is also a member of the National Space Society. Hanks has said that he originally wanted to be an astronaut but didn’t have the math necessary skills. In 2002, at the age of 45, he was the youngest recipient ever of the American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award.
On the personal side, Hanks has been married to fellow actress Rita Wilson for over twenty years. The couple met on the set of Bosom Buddies when Wilson appeared in an episode in the second season, but a romantic relationship didn’t develop until they worked on the film Volunteers. They have two sons, Chester and Truman; Hanks also has a son and a daughter from his first marriage to Samantha Lewes. In 2002, fourteen years after the two divorced, Lewes passed away from cancer.
Having found extreme success in a career that continues to flourish, Hanks has been ranked the #1 box office star in the world with over $3.521 billion total box office gross and been involved with 19 films that grossed over $100 million at the worldwide box office. While he has achieved so much since his first film debut over 30 years ago, this multi-talented man is not ready to hang any of his hats up just yet.