Tom Hanks (born 9.7.1956)
Tom Hanks is an American actor, film director and producer. He is possibly best known for his performances in Forrest Gump and Philadelphia.
Tom Hanks: Childhood
Tom Hanks was born in Concord, California, to Amos Mefford Hanks and Janet Marylyn Frager. His parents divorced in 1960. Tom, along with his sister Sandra and brother Larry, stayed with their father. His younger brother Jim stayed with Janet.
Hanks attended Skyline High School in Oakland California, and was involved in a number of school plays, including South Pacific. He later studied theatre at Chabot College, followed by California State University, in Sacramento.
His career as an actor was founded in an internship that he earned at the Great Lakes Theatre Festival in Cleveland. His three years working at the festival covered all aspects of theatre work and earned him the Cleveland Critics Circle Award for Best Actor for his role as Proteus in The Two Gentlemen of Verona.
Tom Hanks: Film Career
Hanks' acting career took a while to get off the ground. Films such as Nothing In Common failed to grasp the public's consciousness. It wasn't until he landed a lead role in Big, in 1988 that Hanks became established as a Hollywood star.
His next major project was Turner and Hooch. The film was both a financial and critical success. However, Hanks failed to capitalise on this success and his next few movies, such as The 'Burbs and Joe Versus the Volcano proved to be a disappointment for the actor.
Luckily for Hanks, he managed to regain his popularity with the release of A League of Their Own, which also starred Madonna. He compounded this success with the release of two defining films for his career, both of which saw Hanks tackling more serious roles. Firstly, Sleepless In Seattle, alongside Meg Ryan, then Philadelphia. In the latter, Tom Hanks plays a lawyer who has the AIDS virus and sues his company for discrimination. His performance won him 1993's Best Actor Oscar. The next year, Hanks starred in Forrest Gump, in which he played the title character. He won his second Best Actor Oscar for the role.
In 1996, Apollo 13, in which Hanks played an astronaut, received nine Academy Award nominations. That year, Hanks also provided the voice for Sheriff Woody in the Pixar animation, Toy Story.
In 1998, Saving Private Ryan saw Tom Hanks receive another Best Actor nomination, though he did not win the gong on this occasion. Later that year, he starred in You've Got Mail, a comedy that featured his former co-star Meg Ryan.
Continuing his prolific film output, Hanks went on to star in both The Green Mile (an adaptation of a Stephen King novel) and Toy Story 2 in 1999. He followed this with an acclaimed performance in Cast Away and a stint as producer on Band of Brothers, the HBO channel TV series. In addition to this, he starred alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in the biopic of the con-man Frank Abagnale Jr. entitled Catch Me If You Can.
Following a short break from the world of film, Hanks appeared in the Coen brothers' 2004 remake of The Ladykillers, as well as The Terminal and The Polar Express.
In 2005, Tom Hanks was nominated as vice president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
His next project was to star in The Da Vinci Code, the film adaptation of Dan Brown's best-selling book.
In 2007, Tom Hanks starred in Charlie Wilson's War. He played the title role, portraying a Democratic Texan Congressman.
Tom Hanks: Life Outside Film
Hanks is a member of the US's National Space Society. He is also an honorary member of the United States Army Rangers, due to his role in saving Private Ryan.