Tom Hanks profile
Tom Hanks in "Cloud Atlas"
Tom Hanks

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ALSO: Check out our "Hidden Hanks" feature for our list of 10 overlooked and movies from Tom Hanks' career.

Tom Hanks is one of the greatest actors of the past 20 years. You can easily compare him to legends like Jimmy Stewart and Carey Grant and you won’t hear any complaints. While he has certainly lost his comedic method of madness that brought him to center stage in the 1980’s, Tom has managed to squeeze an even greater career out of the last decade with unique and challenging roles. The son of a chef, Tom was forced to move around a lot as a kid and adjusted to new environments by taking on different personas. Tom took his skills to the stage in high school, and by the time he transferred to California State University for college, he was convinced he wanted to be an actor. Recruited by the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival in Ohio for three years, Tom moved to New York and landed a role on the show “Bosom Buddies.”

After the end of the short-lived series, Tom made numerous appearances on popular sitcoms like “Family Ties,” “Taxi” and “Happy Days” when he met director Ron Howard and was offered the lead role in “Splash.” Tom continued his seemingly bright career in comedy with hilarious films like “Bachelor Party” and “Dragnet,” but he wasn’t really recognized as a star until his 1988 hit, “Big.” Changing gears from comedy to drama as he climbed the ladder to A-list status, Tom reeled out a few flops before his back-to-back Oscar success with “Philadelphia” and “Forrest Gump” and a big hit with "Apollo 13." Hanks’ magic touch has been everywhere since then, though he has yet to secure another golden statue with Oscar nominations for “The Green Mile” and “Saving Private Ryan.” Married to fellow actress Rita Wilson for what seems like forever, Tom Hanks has continued to build a flourishing legacy that will surely raise him above even the best of the best when it’s all said and done.

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Tom on the Web

IMDB
A database of Tom's film and TV career, including his behind-the-scenes work.

Tom on the Screen and Behind the Camera

Tom Hanks is the most well-rounded working actor in Hollywood, and it shows in his long and eclectic career. Starting out on TV, Hanks made his famous debut in the cross-dressing sitcom "Bosom Buddies" before making his way to the big screen in a number of hilarious, 80s comedies like "Dragnet," "Big" and "The Burbs." In the 90s, Tom changed directions when he became a hot name in the Oscar pool with dramatic turns in "Philadelphia," "Forrest Gump" and "Apollo 13." Tom as also starred in two romantic comedies alongside Meg Ryan ("Sleepless in Seattle" and "You've Got Mail"), as well as all three of Pixar's "Toy Story" films as the voice of the cowboy toy, Woody. Other notable movies include "Cast Away," "The Green Mile," "Catch Me If You Can" and "The Da Vinci Code." Additionally, Hanks has directed two films: "That Thing You Do!" and "Larry Crowne."

From the Mouth of Tom

On life:
"May you live as long as you want and not want as long as you live."

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