Date of Birth: July 9, 1956
Everybody loves Tom Hanks, regardless of the role he plays and he has played many. Hanks has been a beleaguered homeowner in The Money Pit, a detective with a slobbering dog in Turner and Hooch, an astronaut in Apollo 13, a man dying of Aids in Philadelphia and an unlikely success story in Forrest Gump, to touch on only a few of his credits.
Born in Concord, California, Hanks was the product of divorce and traveled the States with his father and two siblings. His longest stint in any grammar school was six months, which made him painfully shy yet prone to being a prankster. This was actually his first taste of acting, which continued in high school where he became the class clown.
Hanks attended Chabot College, where he decided to become an actor after a seeing a production of Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh. He studied drama at California State University at Sacramento, appearing in The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov. This lead to his first professional job in Ohio at the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival. After three seasons there, he decamped to New York to submit to endless rounds of auditions, finally landing a part in the 1980 movie He Knows You're Alone. The same year, he became a household name after landing a starring role on the sitcom Bosom Buddies, in which he and his co-star, Peter Scolari, dressed as women in order to get an affordable apartment in a female only building.
Though the show only lasted one season, Hanks went on to make television appearances on Taxi, The Love Boat, Family Ties and Happy Days, where he met Ron Howard who offered him the lead in Splash opposite Daryl Hannah. But his comedic talents weren't really showcased until Penny Marshall's Big (1988), which garnered his first Academy Award nomination.
In 1990, audiences saw him in Joe Versus the Volcano and The Bonfire of the Vanities, neither of which were runaway hits. Three years later he had two winners with Sleepless in Seattleand Philadelphia, winning his first Oscar for the latter.
His second Oscar for Best Actor came the very next year for Forrest Gump, the lovable antihero who taught us that "Life is like a box of chocolates." In true Forrest fashion, Hanks was invited to celebrate his victory with Princess Diana at Kensington Palace.
Like King Midas, everything Hanks touches seems to turn to gold. He would go on to direct his first feature, That Thing You Do, and From the Earth to the Moon (both well received). Films he starred in such as Apollo 13, Saving Private Ryan, The Green Mile, Cast Away and Road to Perdition had excellent showings at the box office. He was nominated for two more Oscars (Saving Private Ryan and Cast Away), and won a Golden Globe for Best Actor in Cast Away (2000).
In 2002, he received a Life Achievement Award from the American Film Institute and in 2004, a Britannia Award for Excellence in Film from the BAFTAs. For his starring role in The Da Vinci Code (2006), Hanks received $18 million plus a percentage of the profits, but by the time he reprised his role for the movie Angels and Demons, he received a whopping $50 million.
As a producer, Hanks has won five Emmy awardsthe most recent for the mini-series The Pacific (2010).
His look-alike son, actor Colin Hanks (b. 1977), and daughter Elizabeth Hanks (b. 1982), are from his first marriage to Samantha Lewes. Since 1985, Hanks has been married to actress Rita Wilson. They have two children, Chester (b. 1990) and Truman (b. 1995).
* 1993 Actor in a Leading Role Oscar winner for Philadelphia.
* 1994 Actor in a Leading Role Oscar winner for Forrest Gump.