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
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 theater major, and was
recruited by the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival in Ohio
after his outstanding school performance in Cherry Orchard.
After 3 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 2 seasons.
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, and he landed
The mermaid romance
made waves, but Hanks was headed for calm waters with his
next movies, such as Bachelor Party, Volunteers (where he
met his wife, Rita Wilson), The Money Pit, Nothing In Common,
and Dragnet. But he hit it Big with the 1988 comedy about
a teenager trapped in a man's body.
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 and
Turner and Hooch (his role in A League of Their Own made up
for these), Hanks won the hearts of women in Sleepless in
Seattle (reuniting him with his Joe Versus the Volcano co-star,
Meg Ryan) and the hearts of everyone as an AIDS victim in
Philadelphia. 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 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; and returned as the optimistic
Woody for the hit Toy Story 2.
On a more serious note,
Hanks starred as Captain John H. Miller in Spielberg's Saving
Private Ryan, and as a prison guard in The Green Mile, both
of which garnered Hanks Best Actor Oscar nominations.
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 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 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,
One of the most respected
and likable men in Hollywood (and the only actor worthy of
a $20 million salary, according to Entertainment Weekly),
Hanks can next be seen as an island-bound Federal Express
inspector in Cast Away, as well as in the upcoming feature,
Road To Perdition.