Thomas Jeffrey Hanks
July 9, 1956
Hanks 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."
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 landed one of the lead roles, that of character Kip Wilson, on the ABC television pilot of Bosom Buddies. 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. "The first day I saw him on the set," co-producer Ian Praiser told Rolling Stone, "I thought, 'Too bad he won't be in television for long.' I knew he'd be a movie star in two years."
The broad success of the fantasy comedy Big (1988) established Hanks as a major Hollywood talent, both as a box office draw and within the industry as an actor. For his performance in the film, Hanks earned his first nominations for the Academy Award for Best Actor.
In Philadelphia, he played a gay lawyer with AIDS who sues his firm for discrimination. Hanks lost 35 pounds and thinned his hair in order to appear sickly for the role. In a review for People, Leah Rozen stated, "Above all, credit for Philadelphia 's success belongs to Hanks, who makes sure that he plays a character, not a saint. He is flat-out terrific, giving a deeply felt, carefully nuanced performance that deserves an Oscar." Hanks won the 1993 Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in Philadelphia. 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. (Spencer Tracy was the first, winning in 1937–38. Hanks and Tracy were the same age at the time they received their Academy Awards: 37 for the first and 38 for the second.)
Hanks' role as—astronaut and commander Jim Lovell, in the 1995 film 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 movie also earned nine Academy Award nominations, winning two.
Hanks then executive produced, co-wrote, and co-directed the HBO docudrama From the Earth to the Moon. The 12-part series chronicled the space program from its inception, through the familiar flights of Neil Armstrong and Jim Lovell, to the personal feelings surrounding the reality of moon landings. The Emmy Award-winning project was, at US$68 million, one of the most expensive ventures undertaken for television.
For Saving Private Ryan, he teamed up with Steven Spielberg to make a film about a search through war-torn France after D-Day to bring back a soldier. It earned the praise and respect of the film community, critics, and the general public. It was labeled one of the finest war films ever made and earned Spielberg his second Academy Award for direction, and Hanks another Best Actor nomination.
In 2001, Hanks helped direct and produce the Emmy-Award winning HBO miniseries Band of Brothers. He also appeared in the September 11 television special America: A Tribute to Heroes and the documentary Rescued From the Closet. He then teamed up with American Beauty director Sam Mendes for the adaptation of Max Allan Collins's and Richard Piers Rayner's graphic novel Road to Perdition, in which he played an anti-hero role as a hitman on the run with his son.
In August 2005, Hanks was voted in as vice president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
In June 2006, Hanks was inducted as an honorary member of the United States Army Rangers Hall of Fame for his accurate portrayal of a Captain in the movie Saving Private Ryan; Hanks, who was unable to attend the induction ceremony, was the first actor to receive such an honor. In addition to his role in Saving Private Ryan, Hanks was cited for serving as the national spokesperson for the World War II Memorial Campaign, for being the honorary chairperson of the D-Day Museum Capital Campaign, and for his role in writing and helping to produce the Emmy Award-winning miniseries, 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.
1988 Big - Nominated for Best Actor
1993 Philadelphia - Won Best Actor
1994 Forrest Gump - Won Best Actor
1998 Saving Private Ryan - Nominated for Best Actor
2000 Cast Away - Nomibated for Best Actor
1988 Big - Won Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1993 Sleepless in Seattle - Nominated for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1993 Philadelphia - Won Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
1994 Forrest Gump - Won Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
1998 Saving Private Ryan - Nominated for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
2000 Cast Away - Won Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
2007 Charlie Wilson's War - Nominated for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
2013 Captain Phillips - Nominated for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
Bridge of Spies
Saving Mr. Banks
Toy Story 3
The Pacific (TV Mini-Series)
Angels & Demons
Charlie Wilson's War
he Da Vinci Code
The Polar Express
Catch Me If You Can
Road to Perdition
The Green Mile
Toy Story 2
You've Got Mail
Saving Private Ryan
Sleepless in Seattle
A League of Their Own
The Bonfire of the Vanities
Joe Versus the Volcano
Turner & Hooch
The Money Pit