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 and Saving Private Ryan as well as having produced From the Earth to the Moon, Band of Brothers, and The Pacific.
He's hosted Saturday Night Live ten times (his fifth time hosting, in 1990, was the episode in which the "Five Timers' Club" [a club featuring SNL's most frequent hosts] was revealed, while his most recent hosting gig in 2020 was the first episode of SNL's short-lived series, SNL at Home, done due to the temporary shutdown of Studio 8H due to public health concerns over the COVID-19 Pandemic and coming off the heels of Hanks being released from quarantine after catching the disease himself) 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 filmography includes:
- He Knows You're Alone (1980) - Tom's film debut.
- Mazes and Monsters (1982) - Tom's first major role...for better or worse.
- Splash (1984) - Toms Star-Making Role
- Bachelor Party (1984)
- The Man with One Red Shoe (1985)
- Volunteers (1985)
- The Money Pit (1986)
- Nothing in Common (1986) - Toms first dramatic role
- Every Time We Say Goodbye (1986)
- Dragnet (1987)
- Big (1988) - First Academy Award nomination as Best Actor.
- The 'Burbs (1989)
- Turner & Hooch (1989)
- Joe Versus the Volcano (1990)
- The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990)
- A League of Their Own (1992)
- Sleepless in Seattle (1993)
- Philadelphia (1993) - First Academy Award win for Best Actor.
- Forrest Gump (1994) - Second Academy Award win for Best Actor
- Apollo 13 (1995)
- Toy Story (1995)
- That Thing You Do! (1996) - Directorial debut
- Saving Private Ryan (1998)
- You've Got Mail (1998)
- Toy Story 2 (1999)
- The Green Mile (1999)
- Cast Away (2000)
- Road to Perdition (2002)
- Catch Me If You Can (2002)
- The Terminal (2004)
- The Ladykillers (2004)
- The Polar Express (2004)
- The Da Vinci Code (2006)
- Charlie Wilson's War (2007)
- Angels & Demons (2009)
- Toy Story 3 (2010)
- Larry Crowne (2011)
- Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2011)
- Cloud Atlas (2012)
- Electric City (2012)
- Captain Phillips (2013)
- Saving Mr. Banks (2013)
- Bridge of Spies (2015)
- Ithaca (2015)
- A Hologram For The King (2016)
- Sully (2016)
- Dan Brown's Inferno (2016)
- The Circle (2017)
- The Post (2017)
- Toy Story 4 (2019)
- A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019)
- Greyhound (2020)
- Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (2020) - As Himself
- News of the World (2020)
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.
- 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
- The Everyman: A recurring role for him.
- Happily Married: Although heavily averted for Toms first wife Samantha Lewes (whom he married in 1978 and later divorced in 1987), its played straight for his second wife Rita Wilson, whom hes 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 its because there are a lot of writers who arent 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 theyre funny and do have sex a lot. So I guess Im 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.
- 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.