Tom Hanks

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Real Name: Tom Hanks
Birthday: July 9, 1956
Place of Birth: Concord, CA
Education: Skyline High School, Oakland, CA; Chabot Junior College; California State University, Sacramento


Tom Hanks Biography:

In spite of his humble start in show business, actor Tom Hanks emerged from the comedy series "Bosom Buddies" to become an Academy Award winning actor and Emmy winning producer and director. Tom made a name for himself with a warm role in “Big” (1988), and then going on to a double Oscar win with “Philadelphia” (1993) and “Forrest Gump” (1994). He then took on roles as an tyrannical corporate executive in “Cast Away” (2000), a mob hit man in “Road to Perdition” (2002) and a cocaine loving and hooker friendly congressman in “Charlie Wilson’s War” (2007), all while cementing himself as one of the best actors of his generation.

Born on July 9, 1956 in Concord, California, Tom was reared by Amos, a cook and restaurant manager, and Janet, a health care worker. In 1960, his father moved the family to Reno, Nevada to start a new life, later divorcing Janet. After his second marriage failed, his father picked up the family and relocated to Oakland, California, where Hanks spent his early years. 

In 1978, he sold his car and used the money to move to New York City in order to chase his dream of playing the theater on Broadway. Work on the Great White Way was hard to find, though he did manage to be cast in feature with a small part in the terror and horror flick, “He Knows You’re Alone” (1980). 

He received good reviews with a starring role in the television situation comedy “Bosom Buddies,” playing an advertising administrator who moves into a cheap women only hotel with his advertising executive friend (Peter Scolari) on the condition that they both dress like women. 

After “Bosom Buddies” was cancelled, Hanks made a guest appearance on a 1982 episode of "Happy Days" (1973 that impressed fellow cast member Ron Howard enough to cast him as lead in "Splash" (1984), a comic story about a young and charming produce salesman who falls in love with a mermaid played by Daryl Hannah. He then took as hilarious but immature role in "Bachelor Party" (1984), then appeared in a series of flops, "The Man with One Red Shoe" (1984), "The Money Pit" (1986) and “Dragnet” (1987). 

But in 1988, Hanks showed his true talent for the first time. In “Punchline” (1998), he had a strong role as an aggressive stand up comedian who first teaches, then competes against a growing female comic (Sally Field). He then played a 12 year old boy ensnared in the body of a 35 year old man in "Big" (1988), a massive comedy smash hit from director Penny Marshall. He was honored with his first of several Academy Award nominations for Best Actor. After “Turner & Hooch” (1989), he starred in the peculiar "Joe Versus the Volcano" (1990) with Meg Ryan, playing a man who is convinced he is dying and agrees to jump into an isolated island volcano in order to appease an irritated god. Then, he was poorly miscast as a Wall Street money maker in “Bonfire of the Vanities” (1990) with Bruce Willis and Morgan Freeman. 

Because of the calamity of “Bonfire of the Vanities,” the actor asked director Penny Marshall to cast him for the lead role in "A League of Their Own" (1992) with Geena Davis, the look at the first all woman baseball league which was started during World War II. He took the role of Jimmy Dugan, a down and out drunk and past player who finds his joy of the game through managing a winning team.  Meanwhile, he worked on another hit when he teamed with “Joe vs. the Volcano” co-star Meg Ryan in Nora Ephron's romance, "Sleepless in Seattle" (1993). For his role, he was nominated for Best Actor - Musical or Comedy at the Golden Globe Awards.

The actor next shot to fame with his award winning role in "Philadelphia" (1993) with Denzel Washington, playing a homosexual attorney who is dying of AIDS while working to win a discrimination case after getting fired. Even with the film being bashed by gay and homosexual activists for being too soft on the gay issue, he was applauded for his performance. His next film, “Forrest Gump” (1994), had him playing a young man who leads a remarkable life taking part in many of the noteworthy moments of the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s despite having an I.Q. of only 76. He showed the appropriate vision necessary for the role sayings like "Stupid is as stupid does" and "Mama always said life was like a box a chocolates: You never know what you're going to get," which became part of the countries vocabulary. “Forrest Gump” was the year's highest grossing movie and won six Academy Awards, including his second win for Best Actor.

He then reunited with “Splash” director Ron Howard for "Apollo 13" (1995) with Kevin Bacon, a tense look at the famous 1970 NASA mission to the moon. Playing astronaut Jim Lovell, a role that was originally offered to Kevin Costner, he delivered a rock-solid performance as the commander trying to bring his crew back to Earth safe and sound. 

The actor next lent his talented voice to the character of Woody, a toy cowboy whose standing as top toy of a young boy is endangered by the actions of Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) in "Toy Story" (1995), the first full length computer animated feature. Thanks to his A-list standing, he had the opportunity to show other creative talents, including screenwriting, producing and directing. Tom made his directorial debut with "That Thing You Do!" (1996) starring Liv Tyler, a warm comedy about a band that hits overnight stardom off of one popular song. While not a smash hit, the movie showed his zest for bringing out strong performances from a cast of mostly unknown performers.

He then produced his pet project, "From the Earth to the Moon" (1998), a 13-part mini series that scrutinized the history of the United States NASA space program. Serving as executive producer on the project, he also directed the production, sharing the 1998 Emmy Award for Outstanding Miniseries with co-producers Ron Howard and Brian Grazer. Next, he was cast by Steven Spielberg for his World War II blockbuster, "Saving Private Ryan" (1998), playing an army captain leading an immature squad of soldiers on a mission to locate a missing serviceman, played by Matt Damon, behind enemy lines. This earned him his fourth Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.

Later that same year, he co-starred opposite Meg Ryan in Nora Ephron's "You've Got Mail" (1998), before teaming with "Saving Private Ryan" friend Barry Pepper again to play penitentiary guards who become involved with a puzzling prisoner (Michael Clarke Duncan) in "The Green Mile" (1999), a variation of the Stephen King tale. He collaborated again with "Forrest Gump" director Robert Zemeckis on "Cast Away" (2000), the role cast Tom as a Federal Express employee who gets stuck on a deserted island after a plane crash. His magnificent performance, for nearly a third of the film Hanks was onscreen by himself, brought him instant and universal critical acclaim and his fifth nomination for Best Actor.

Tom then worked with Spielberg to produce the HBO miniseries, "Band of Brothers" (2001), which followed the soldiers in the 506th Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division from their training in Georgia in 1942 through their involvement in the invasion of Normandy. He also directed one episode of the series, and won an Emmy for Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special. He then took on an out of character role, portraying a 1920s Chicago mobster seeking payback for the death of family members in "Road to Perdition" (2002) starring Jennifer Jason Leigh.   

His next film, “Catch Me If You Can” (2002), cast him as Carl Hanratty, a FBI fraud investigator on the trail of the youngest con artist in history to make the FBI ten Most Wanted list, Frank Abagnale, Jr. played by Leonardo DiCaprio. This role was one of his most unique productions and was in contrast to Leonardo DiCaprio’s exciting, easy going character of Abagnale. 

The actor then hit big time success with the popular comedy "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" (2002).  His next movie was a return to his madcap comedy roots in the Coen Brothers' interpretation of the cult classic British film, "The Ladykillers" (2004). He played the chatty Professor Dorr, a criminal architect whose plan for a robbery is stopped by a persistent old woman.

Tom next worked again with Robert Zemeckis to play multiple characters in the impressive animated "The Polar Express" (2004). Using hi-tech animation and motion mapping, his character was projected onscreen in a variety of positions and postures, playing The Conductor, Hero Boy, Santa Claus, the Hobo and the Boy's Father, which were then edited together into the movies final product.

Returning to action adventure films, Hanks next starred in “The Da Vinci Code” (2006), the much awaited revision of Dan Brown’s larger-than-life book about a murder at the Louvre investigated by a famous symbologist, who solves a sinister attempt to keep a secret that has been protected since the time of Jesus Christ. While the script was kept top secret,  the infamous nature of the book had kept filmmakers from working and filing at important locations, including Westminster Abbey, the Vatican, and the city of Rome. Religious groups, already in a rage over the books concept, braced for what was guaranteed to be a blockbuster movie. Though on paper a gigantic box office success, it took in over $210 million in domestic box office, “The Da Vinci Code” was down played by most media critics and reviewers for not living up to its potential.

After lending his distinctive voice to the adventure “Cars” (2006), and “The Simpsons Movie” (2007), the actor helped narrate “The War” (2007-08), Ken Burns’ stunning and detailed look at everyday Americans fighting in World War II. He then starred in the political satire, “Charlie Wilson’s War” (2007), where he played “Good Time Charlie” Wilson, a United States congressman with a knack for prostitutes and cocaine, whose deep nationalism and discontent with American foreign policy leads him to team up with the richest woman in Texas (Julia Roberts) and a middle class CIA worker (Philip Seymour Hoffman) to fund the Mujahideen fighters after the Soviets invade Afghanistan. He wrapped up the year with the dramatic comedy "The Great Buck Howard" (2008) about a young man, much to the chagrin of his father, becomes the new assistant to an illusionist in decline. 

Next was the mystery thriller "Angels & Demons" (2009) an adaptation of the Dan Brown novel about Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon who works to solve a murder and prevent a terrorist act against the Vatican. Hw was then cast in the animated comedy "Toy Story 3" (2010) where Woody, Buzz, and the rest of their toy-box friends are dumped in a day-care center after their owner, Andy, departs for college. And wrapping up the year is the western drama "Boone's Lick" (2010) a story that revolves around a headstrong woman who drags her family on a rickety wagon from Boone's Lick, Mo., to the Wyoming fort where her husband lives.


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