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Creator / Tom Hanks

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"I'm that actor in some of the movies you liked and some you didn't. Sometimes I'm in pretty good shape, other times I'm not. Hey, you gotta live, you know?"
— Tom Hanks on his Twitter account.

Thomas Jeffrey "Tom" Hanks (born July 9, 1956 in Concord, California) is an American actor and director who is regarded as being one of the best performers of his generation.

He began his career in comedies like Happy Days and Bosom Buddies where he displayed a flair for timing and physical comedy. Quickly moving onto film, he became well-known for lighthearted comedies like Splash and Big as well as romantic films. In the latter genre, he's famously one half of Those Two Actors with Meg Ryan, having starred as her love interest in three filmsnote .

Going into the nineties, Hanks' career took a sharp swerve as he began turning in critically-acclaimed dramatic performances, earning him back-to-back Oscars for his portrayal of the dying Andrew Beckett in Philadelphia and the simple-but-well-meaning Forrest Gump. Since then, his career has been eclectic, with his starring in films that run the gamut from comedy (The Ladykillers (2004)), children's films (Toy Story), heavy drama (Road to Perdition), science fiction (Cloud Atlas), and even his own blockbuster action franchise (The Da Vinci Code and its sequels).


He is a well-known space nerd and World War II history buff and these interests are reflected in his career, with his having starred in Apollo 13, Saving Private Ryan, and Greyhound. As well as having produced From the Earth to the Moon, Band of Brothers, and The Pacific.

He's hosted Saturday Night Live nine times (his fifth time hosting, in 1990, was the episode in which the "Five Timers' Club" was revealed) and Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! once to rave reviews each time. He runs his own studio called Playtone, named after the music label in his self-produced That Thing You Do!. He's also a big enough fan of both The Beatles and Monty Python that he got to sing "The Lumberjack Song" (as one of the Lumberjacks) in the Concert for George, the memorial concert celebrating the life of George Harrison. He also appeared in the video for Carly Rae Jepsen's song "I Really Like You" - contrary to many rumours it was actually his idea to take the role.


And to top it all off, he is the Trope Namer for Tom Hanks Syndrome, being the most famous and successful example of an actor being able to break away from Typecasting and showing the world He Really Can Act.

His son Colin Hanks is also an actor, producer, and director.

His filmography includes:

Tom Hanks's career and works demonstrate the following tropes:

  • Ability over Appearance: Aside from being white and male, he doesn't resemble Fred Rogers in the slightest, but there was not the faintest chance that anyone else was going to play the kindest man who ever lived.
  • Cool Old Guy: In his mid sixties and as charming, likable and beloved as ever.
  • Converting for Love: Although raised Catholic (and later as a Mormon once his father Amos remarried), Hanks converted to Greek Orthodox Christianity before marrying Rita Wilson.note 
  • Dyeing for Your Art: Penny Marshall convinced him that he should be "fat and sweaty" for his role in A League of Their Own, so he gained twenty pounds. He also lost considerable weight and grew out his hair and beard for Cast Away.
  • The Everyman: A recurring role for him.
  • Happily Married: Although heavily averted for Tom’s first wife Samantha Lewes (whom he married in 1978 and later divorced in 1987), it’s played straight for his second wife Rita Wilson, whom he’s been married to for 33 years now.
  • Kavorka Man: Lampshaded by Tom Hanks when asked in a 1986 interview with New York Magazine why he always found his average-looking characters hooking up with gorgeous leading ladies in his films such as Daryl Hannah in Splash, Tawny Kitaen in Bachelor Party, Lori Singer in The Man with One Red Shoe, and Sela Ward in Nothing in Common:
    "I think it’s because there are a lot of writers who aren’t very attractive but who are fairly funny and want to have sex a lot, so they write about these guys who are not very attractive, but they’re funny and do have sex a lot. So I guess I’m the chief beneficiary of that. It's not like I say, 'I'd like to do this movie...but I've got to have sex more often'."
  • Nice Guy: Often regarded as one of the nicest actors in Hollywood. It's no surprise he was the perfect casting for Mr. Rogers.
    • Even the late Moshe Mizrahi who directed Tom Hanks in the 1986 romantic war drama Every Time We Say Goodbye went so far as to call Tom Hanks a mensch.note 
  • Once an Episode: As shown in this video, Tom Hanks pees in a lot of movies.
  • Tom Hanks Syndrome: The Trope Namer. The change started after his work on Philadelphia.
    • Prior to Philadelphia, Hanks had only appeared in two dramatic films, Nothing in Common and Every Time We Say Goodbye, neither of which were commercially or critically successful, so he went back to doing comedic films instead.

Video Example(s):


Captain Phillips in Shock

Captain Phillips finally breaks down after a traumatic hostage crisis.

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5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / HeroicBSOD

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