Thomas Jeffrey Hanks was born on July 9, 1956, in Concord, California. Tom Hanks’ parents divorced when he was 5 years old, and he was raised, along with his older brother and sister, by his father, a chef named Amos. Hanks attended junior college in Hayward, California. By 1980, Hanks had dropped out of college, and after his third season with the Great Lakes festival, he moved to New York City.
Many rounds of auditions later, he landed a small part in the 1980 slasher film, ‘He Knows You’re Alone’. In 1982, Ron Howard, co-star of Happy Days, remembered Hanks from his guest stint on the show, and had him read for a supporting part in a movie he was directing.
That supporting role eventually went to John Candy, and Hanks instead landed the lead role in Howard’s Splash (1984), as a man who falls in love with a mermaid, played by Daryl Hannah.
In 1988, he was got cast in a star-making role, in director Penny Marshall’s Big, as a 13-year-old boy transplanted overnight into the body of a 35-year-old man. His performance charmed both critics and audiences, and earned him his first Academy Award nomination for best actor.
Hanks then suffered a run of box-office under-performers: The ‘Burbs (1989), Joe Versus the Volcano (1990), and The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990). In the latter, he portrayed a greedy Wall Street figure who gets ensnared in a hit-and-run accident.
Only the 1989 movie Turner & Hooch brought success for Hanks during this period. In a 1993 issue of Disney Adventures, Hanks said, “I saw Turner & Hooch the other day in the SAC store and couldn’t help but be reminiscent.
Hanks executive produced, co-wrote, and co-directed the HBO docudrama From the Earth to the Moon. The 12-paries 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. In 2007, Hanks starred in Mike Nichols’s film Charlie Wilson’s War in which he played Democratic Texas Congressman Charles Wilson.
The film opened on December 21, 2007, and Hanks received a Golden Globe nomination. In 2008’s The Great Buck Howard, Hanks played the on-screen father of a young man (played by Hanks’ real-life son, Colin Hanks) who chooses to follow in the footsteps of a fading magician (John Malkovich). Tom Hanks’ character was less than thrilled about his son’s career decision.
While premiering a TV series in January 2009, Hanks called supporters of Proposition 8 “un-American” and criticized the LDS (Mormon) church members, who were major proponents of the bill, for their views on marriage and their role in supporting the bill, about a week later, Hanks apologized for the remark.
In 2010, Hanks reprised his role as Woody in ‘Toy Story 3’ and teamed up with Spielberg once again to produce the ten part miniseries ‘The Pacific’ about America’s role in Japan during the Second World War.
Hanks has four children, the fourth, Chester, was born in 1990. He is a sports fan, listing the Oakland Athletics baseball team and Aston Villa football team as favourites.