Thomas Jeffrey Hanks

November 21st, 2010

Hanks was born in Concord, California. His father, Amos Mefford Hanks (born in Glenn County, California, on March 9, 1924 – died in Alameda, California, on January 31, 1992), was a distant relative of President Abraham Lincoln, through Lincoln’s mother, Nancy Hanks. His mother, Portuguese-American Janet Marylyn (née Frager; born in Alameda County, California, on January 18, 1932), was a hospital worker. Hanks’s parents divorced in 1960. The family’s three oldest children, Sandra, Larry and Tom, went with their father, while the youngest, Jim, now an actor and film maker, remained with his mother in Red Bluff, California.

Amos Hanks became a single parent, working long hours and often leaving the children to fend for themselves, an exercise in self-reliance that served the siblings well. In addition to having a family history of Catholicism and Mormonism, Hanks was a “Bible-toting evangelical teenager” for several years. In school, Hanks was unpopular with students and teachers alike. Hanks studied theater at Chabot College in Hayward, California, and after two years, transferred to California State University, Sacramento.

In 1979, Hanks packed his bags for New York City, where he made his film debut in the low-budget slasher film He Knows You’re Alone and got a part in the television movie Mazes and Monsters. In 1981 Hanks landed a lead role on the ABC television pilot of Bosom Buddies, playing the role of Kip Wilson. Hanks moved to Los Angeles, where he and Peter Scolari played a pair of young advertising men forced to dress as women so they could live in an inexpensive all-female hotel. Hanks had previously partnered with Scolari in the 1970s game show Make Me Laugh. Hanks career reached a bit of a halt with some unsuccessful acting sessions.

After a few more flops and a moderate success with Dragnet, Hanks succeeded with the film Big (1988), both at the box office and within the industry. The film established Hanks as a major Hollywood talent. It was followed later that year by Punchline, in which he and Sally Field co-star as struggling stand-up comedians. Only the 1989 movie Turner and Hooch brought success for Hanks during this time.

Hanks climbed back to the top again with his portrayal of a washed-up baseball star turned manager in A League of Their Own. In Philadelphia, he played a gay lawyer with AIDS who sues his firm for discrimination. Hanks lost thirty-five pounds and thinned his hair in order to appear sickly for the role. Hanks followed Philadelphia with the 1994 summer hit Forrest Gump. Hanks won his second Best Actor Academy Award for his role in Forrest Gump, becoming only the second actor to have accomplished the feat of winning consecutive Best Actor Oscars.

Hanks’ next role–astronaut and commander Jim Lovell, in the 1995 movie Apollo 13–reunited him with Ron Howard. Critics generally applauded the film and the performances of the entire cast, which included actors Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton, Gary Sinise, Ed Harris, and Kathleen Quinlan. The same year, Hanks starred in the animated blockbuster Toy Story as the voice of the toy Sheriff Woody.
Hanks’s next project was no less expensive. For Saving Private Ryan he teamed up with Steven Spielberg to make a film about D-Day, the landing at Omaha Beach, and a quest through war-torn France to bring back a soldier who has a ticket home.

Hanks is ranked the highest all time box office star with over $3.639 billion total box office gross, an average of $107 million per film. He has been involved with seventeen films that grossed over $100 million at the worldwide box office. The highest grossing film he has starred in is 2010′s Toy Story 3.

Hanks was married to American actress Samantha Lewes from 1978 to 1987. The couple had two children, son Colin Hanks (also an actor) and daughter Elizabeth Ann. In 1988, Hanks married actress Rita Wilson.

 

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