Hanks, Tom

orig. Thomas J. Hanks

born July 9, 1956, Concord, Calif., U.S.

U.S. film actor.

He displayed a flair for light comedy in the television series Bosom Buddies (1980–82) then became a film star in the comedies Splash (1984) and Big (1988). After winning praise for A League of Their Own (1992) and the romantic hit Sleepless in Seattle (1993), he proved himself an accomplished dramatic actor in Philadelphia (1993, Academy Award), Forrest Gump (1994, Academy Award), Apollo 13 (1995), Saving Private Ryan (1998), and Cast Away (2000). He made his debut as director and screenwriter with That Thing You Do (1996).

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▪ 1995

      For his gripping portrayal in the film Philadelphia—as a gay, AIDS-stricken lawyer embroiled in a discrimination suit against the law firm that had fired him—U.S. actor Tom Hanks was presented in 1994 with both the Academy Award and the Golden Globe award. The dramatic role, for which he shed 35 pounds and thinned his hair, was a vast departure from his many performances in light comedies. Hanks had built a loyal following by portraying characters that blended qualities of Jimmy Stewart and Clark Gable—the amiable, affable, and approachable boy-next-door with good looks and charm.

      Thomas J. Hanks was born on July 9, 1956, in Concord, Calif. He was a shy, responsible child who frequently traveled with his father after his parents divorced in 1961. As an undergraduate at California State University, Hanks was attracted to acting because he thought it would provide an opportunity for him to express himself flamboyantly. During 1976-78 he dropped out of school to become an acting intern at what was then the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival in Lakewood, Ohio. After winning the Cleveland Critics Circle award for playing Proteus in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Hanks received his first taste of the adulation accorded an actor. Two years after arriving (1978) in New York City, Hanks landed the part of cross-dresser Kip Wilson in the television show "Bosom Buddies." Hanks's flair for light comedy was admired by director Ron Howard, who helped expand Hanks's career into motion pictures with Splash (1984), a blockbuster romantic comedy about a mermaid in love with a human. During the following decade, Hanks further sharpened his considerable talents in such mediocre films as The Man with One Red Shoe (1985), The Money Pit (1986), Punchline (1988), and The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990).

      His nomination for an Academy Award as best actor in the 1988 comedy Big and the success of A League of Their Own (1992) marked Hanks as a major Hollywood leading-man-in-waiting. It was not until 1993, however, that he cemented his reputation as a serious actor. In that year he starred as a widower who discovered his true love via a radio talk show in the megahit movie Sleepless in Seattle and then as the lead in Philadelphia. In the summer of 1994, Hanks portrayed the title role in the film Forrest Gump, which was released to overwhelming critical and popular acclaim. His character, an ever hopeful, guileless, simple-minded man on whom fate smiled, philosophized that "Life is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you're gonna get." Most movie audiences agreed that Tom Hanks was blessed with the best of the box in 1994. (SUSAN RAPP)

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▪ American actor
in full  Thomas J. Hanks 
born July 9, 1956, Concord, California, U.S.

      American film actor whose cheerful, everyman persona made him a natural for starring roles in many popular films. In the 1990s he expanded his comedic repertoire and began portraying lead characters in dramas.

      After a nomadic childhood, Hanks majored in drama at California State University and performed in summer stock in Cleveland, Ohio, playing a variety of classical roles. In the late 1970s he moved to New York City, where he had a small part in a horror film in 1980.

      Hanks gained notice for his comic abilities as a costar of the television series Bosom Buddies (1980–82). His work in the hit film Splash (1984) earned him leads in other comedies, including Bachelor Party (1984), Volunteers (1985), and The Money Pit (1986). He successfully mixed comedy with drama in Nothing in Common (1986) and Punchline (1988), and his portrayal of a boy in an adult body in Big (1988) earned him an Oscar nomination and launched him on the path to becoming one of the era's most popular stars.

      Hanks portrayed the drunken manager of a women's baseball team in the popular comedy A League of Their Own (1992) and delivered an Oscar-winning performance as a gay lawyer with AIDS in Philadelphia (1993). The following year he won a best actor award again, for the phenomenally popular Forrest Gump (1994); he was the first actor to win back-to-back best actor Oscars since Spencer Tracy (Tracy, Spencer).

      Hanks earned further Oscar nominations for outstanding dramatic performances in Saving Private Ryan (1998), which was directed by Steven Spielberg (Spielberg, Steven), and Cast Away (2000). He teamed with actress Meg Ryan for the romantic comedies Sleepless in Seattle (1993) and You've Got Mail (1998); starred in the dramas Apollo 13 (1995), The Green Mile (1999), and Road to Perdition (2002); and provided the voice for the animated cowboy Woody in the Disney hits Toy Story (1995) and Toy Story 2 (1999). Hanks later starred with Leonardo DiCaprio (DiCaprio, Leonardo) in the comedy Catch Me If You Can (2002) and portrayed a professor of symbology in the 2006 film adaptation of Dan Brown's hugely popular The Da Vinci Code. In Charlie Wilson's War (2007), he appeared as real-life senator Charlie Wilson, who assisted the Afghan resistance to the Soviets in the 1980s. In addition to his acting, Hanks wrote and directed the comedy That Thing You Do! (1996).

Additional Reading
Roy Trakin, Tom Hanks: Journey to Stardom, updated ed. (1995).

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Hanks, Tom — orig. Thomas J. Hanks (n. 9 jul. 1956, Concord, Cal., EE.UU.). Actor de cine estadounidense. En la serie de televisión Bosom buddies (1980–82) exhibió sus aptitudes para la comedia ligera y posteriormente se consagró como una estrella en las… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Hanks, Tom — pseud. di Hanks, Thomas J …   Sinonimi e Contrari. Terza edizione

  • Tom — /tom/, n., v., Tommed, Tomming. n. 1. See Uncle Tom. 2. a male given name, form of Thomas. v.i. 3. (often l.c.) to act like an Uncle Tom. * * * (as used in expressions) Clancy Tom Clark Tom Cruise Tom Hanks Tom Kilburn Tom Mboya Tom Mix Tom… …   Universalium

  • tom — /tom/, n. 1. the male of various animals, as the turkey. 2. a tomcat. [1755 65; generic use of TOM] * * * (as used in expressions) Clancy Tom Clark Tom Cruise Tom Hanks Tom Kilburn Tom Mboya Tom Mix Tom Stoppard Sir Tom Watson Tom Wolfe Tom * * * …   Universalium

  • Tom Hanks — This article is about the American actor. For the seismologist, see Thomas C. Hanks. Tom Hanks …   Wikipedia

  • Tom Hanks — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Hanks. Tom Hanks …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Tom Hanks — Este artículo o sección necesita referencias que aparezcan en una publicación acreditada, como revistas especializadas, monografías, prensa diaria o páginas de Internet fidedignas. Puedes añadirlas así o avisar al autor pri …   Wikipedia Español

  • Tom (Vorname) — Thomas ist ein männlicher Vorname, der auch als Nachname eine nennenswerte Verbreitung hat. Herkunft und Bedeutung des Namens Der Name stammt aus dem aramäischen te oma (תאומא) und bedeutet „Zwilling“. So wird er auch im Johannesevangelium[1]… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Tom — (as used in expressions) Clancy, Tom Clark, Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks, Tom Kilburn, Tom Mboya, Tom Mix, Tom Stoppard, Sir Tom W …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Tom Hanks — im April 2009 Thomas „Tom“ Jeffrey Hanks (* 9. Juli 1956 in Concord, Kalifornien) ist ein US amerikanischer Schauspieler, Regisseur, Filmproduzent sowie Synchronsprecher vieler amerikanischer Film und Fernsehproduktionen. Er gehört zu den… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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