Thomas Jeffrey Hanks July 9, 1956) is an AmericHanks actor and filmmaker. He is known for his roles in Splash (1984), Big (1988), 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, and Saving Mr. Banks (both 2013), as well as for his voice work in the animated films The Polar Express (2004) and the Toy Story series.
Hanks has been nominated for numerous awards during his career. 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. In 2004, he received the Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award for Excellence in Film from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA).
Hanks is also known for his collaboration 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 writer. In 2010, Spielberg and Hanks were executive producers on the HBO miniseries The Pacific (a companion piece to Band of Brothers).
As of 2014, Hanks’ films have grossed more than $4.2 billion at U.S. and Canadian box offices and more than $8.4 billion worldwide, making him one of the highest-grossing actors in film history.
Hanks was born in Concord, California, to Janet Marylyn (Frager), a hospital worker, and Amos Mefford Hanks, an itinerant cook. His mother was of Portuguese ancestry (her family’s surname was originally “Fraga”), while two of Hanks’ paternal great-grandparents emigrated from the United Kingdom. Hanks’ parents divorced in 1960. The family’s three oldest children, Sandra (later Sandra Hanks Benoiton, a writer), Larry (Lawrence M. Hanks, PhD, an entomology professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) and Tom, went with their father, while the youngest, Jim, who also became an actor and filmmaker, remained with their mother in Red Bluff, California.
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. 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.” In 1965, Amos Hanks married Frances Wong, a San Francisco native of Chinese descent. Frances had three children, two of whom lived with Tom during his high school years. Hanks acted in school plays, including South Pacific, while attending Skyline High School in Oakland, California.
Hanks studied theater at Chabot College in Hayward, and transferred to California State University, Sacramento two years later. 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.”
During his years studying theater, Hanks met Vincent Dowling, head of the Great Lakes Theater Festival in Cleveland, Ohio. At Dowling’s suggestion, Hanks became an intern at the festival. 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. 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.
Hanks was married to American actress Samantha Lewes from 1978 until they divorced in 1987. Together, the couple had two children, son Colin Hanks, born in 1977, and daughter Elizabeth Hanks.
In 1988, Hanks married actress Rita Wilson, with whom he costarred in the film Volunteers They have two sons. The elder, Chester (Chet) Marlon Hanks, had a minor role as a student in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and released a rap single in 2011. Their younger, Truman Theodore, was born in 1995.
On October 7, 2013, on The Late Show with David Letterman, Hanks announced that he has Type 2 diabetes.
Before marrying his second wife, Hanks converted to the Greek Orthodox Church, the religion of Wilson and her family. Hanks said, “I must say that when I go to church—and I do go to church—I ponder the mystery. I meditate on the ‘why?’ of ‘why people are as they are’ and ‘why bad things happen to good people,’ and ‘why good things happen to bad people’… The mystery is what I think it is, almost, the grand unifying theory of mankind.”