Four years after he was born, Tom Hanks’ father moved him and his siblings to start a new life in Reno, Nev., and divorced Hanks’ mother. After a second marriage hit the rocks, his father moved the Hanks children to Oakland, Calif. Hanks found solace from his personal turmoil in acting in high school.
He went to a junior college and then became a theater major at California State University in Sacramento. After interning at the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival in Cleveland under the direction of Vincent Dowling, Hanks quit college to spend the next two summers at the festival. In 1978, he moved to New York City.
Hanks managed to get a role in the 1980 horror film “He Knows You're Alone.” That same year, he was teamed with Peter Scolari in the ABC sitcom “Bosom Buddies,” as two young men who lose their New York apartment and disguise themselves as women to get cheap rooms in a female-only hotel.
Movie stardom hit in 1984 with Ron Howard’s romantic comedy “Splash,” in which Hanks’ boy-next-door persona endeared him to audiences as a young New Yorker who falls for a mermaid (Daryl Hannah). He got saddled, though, in a lot of featherweight comedies. In one of them, the 1985 comedy “Volunteers,” he met his second wife, actress Rita Wilson. His fortunes turned in 1988, when he landed “Big,” directed by Penny Marshall. Hanks earned his first best actor Oscar nomination for an endearing turn as a 12-year-old boy in a 35-year-old man’s body.
But he made more missteps after 1988, most notably in the disastrous 1990 version of the bestseller “Bonfire of the Vanities.” He took on a character part as a down-on-his-luck and deep-in-his-cups former baseball player who coaches a women’s baseball team in Marshall’s 1992 hit, “A League of Their Own.”
The next year he went dramatic, earning his first Oscar as a young gay attorney dying of AIDS in “Philadelphia.” Hanks became the first actor since Spencer Tracy nearly 60 years earlier to receive back-to-back best actor Oscars, winning as the whimsical man-child whose mother told him “life is like a box of chocolates” in the Academy Award-winning best film “Forrest Gump.”
Hanks found the perfect romantic comedy partner in Meg Ryan. Though their first pairing in 1990’s “Joe Versus the Volcano” flopped at the box office, they hit gold the summer of 1993 in “Sleepless in Seattle” and in 1998's “You’ve Got Mail.” Both romances were directed by Nora Ephron.
In 1995, he reunited with Howard for the blockbuster “Apollo 13” and was the voice of the cowboy toy Woody in the Disney/Pixar animated hit, “Toy Story.” He was Woody's voice in 1999’s “Toy Story 2” and 2010's “Toy Story 3.”
In 1996, he made his directorial debut with the nostalgic “That Thing You Do!” In 1998, he was a producer/director on the 12-part HBO miniseries “From the Earth to the Moon.”
Hanks and good friend Steven Spielberg collaborated for the first time on the big screen in the gripping, violent 1998 World War II drama “Saving Private Ryan,” for which he was Oscar-nominated. Hanks received another Oscar nomination for 2000’s “Cast Away,” in which he played a plane-crash victim.
Hanks and Spielberg teamed up once again for the acclaimed HBO World War II miniseries, “Band of Brothers” in 2001. In the spring of 2010, HBO aired their latest miniseries, “The Pacific,” exploring World War II from the eyes of three soldiers.
Hanks, who is considered one of the nice guys in Hollywood, continues to grow as an actor, playing a hit man in 2002’s “The Road to Perdition,” a FBI agent in Spielberg’s 2002 comedy “Catch Me if You Can,” an immigrant coming to the U.S. in Spielberg’s 2004 “The Terminal” and a womanizing, drug-loving congressman in 2007’s “Charlie Wilson’s War.” Hanks has also reteamed with Howard to play professor Robert Langdon in the 2006 “The Da Vinci Code” and 2009’s “Angels and Demons.”
In 2008, he appeared opposite son Colin Hanks in the indie feature, “The Great Buck Howard.” Hanks is currently starring in, directing and producing “Larry Crowne,” which also stars his “Charlie Wilson” leading lady, Julia Roberts.
|1994||Best Actor||Forrest Gump||Win|
|1998||Best Actor||Saving Private Ryan||Nomination|
|2000||Best Actor||Cast Away||Nomination|