Tom Hanks: Born to be an actor | Sunday Observer

Tom Hanks: Born to be an actor

2 January, 2022

Thomas Jeffrey Hanks (born July 9, 1956) is an American actor and filmmaker. Known for both his comedic and dramatic roles, he is one of the most popular and recognizable film stars worldwide, and is regarded as an American cultural icon.

Hanks’ films have grossed over $4.9 billion in North America and over $9.96 billion worldwide, making him the fourth-highest-grossing actor in North America.

Hanks made his breakthrough with leading roles in a series of comedy films which received positive media attention, such as ‘Splash’ (1984), ‘Bachelor Party’ (1984), ‘Big’ (1988) and ‘A League of Their Own’ (1992). He won two consecutive Academy Awards for Best Actor for starring as a gay lawyer suffering from AIDS in ‘Philadelphia’ (1993) and the title character in ‘Forrest Gump’ (1994). Hanks collaborated with film director Steven Spielberg on five films: ‘Saving Private Ryan’ (1998), ‘Catch Me If You Can’ (2002), ‘The Terminal’ (2004), ‘Bridge of Spies’ (2015), and ‘The Post’ (2017), as well as the 2001 miniseries ‘Band of Brothers’, which launched him as a director, producer, and screenwriter.

Hanks’ other films include the romantic comedies ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ (1993) and ‘You’ve Got Mail’ (1998); the dramas ‘Apollo 13’ (1995), ‘The Green Mile’ (1999), ‘Cast Away’ (2000), ‘Road to Perdition’ (2002), and ‘Cloud Atlas’ (2012); and the biographical dramas ‘Charlie Wilson’s War ‘(2007), ‘Captain Phillips’ (2013), ‘Saving Mr. Banks’ (2013), ‘Sully’ (2016), ‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood’ (2019), and ‘News of the World’ (2020). He has also appeared as the title character in the Robert Langdon film series, and voiced Sheriff Woody in the Toy Story film series (1995–present).

Hanks’s accolades include two Academy Awards out of six nominations. Hanks has also won seven Primetime Emmy Awards for his work as a producer of various limited series and television movies, including ‘From the Earth to the Moon, Band of Brothers, John Adams’, and ‘The Pacific’. In 2013, he received a Tony Award nomination for Best Actor in a Play for his performance in Nora Ephron’s ‘Lucky Guy’. He received the AFI Life Achievement Award in 2002. He received the Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award for Excellence in Film from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in 2004. In 2014, he received a Kennedy Center Honor, and in 2016, he received a Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama, as well as the French Legion of Honor. In 2020, he received the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award.


Hanks is often compared to James Stewart, and has also frequently been referred to as “America’s Dad”. In 2013, when he was starring in Nora Ephron’s ‘Lucky Guy’ on Broadway, he had crowds of 300 fans waiting for a glimpse of him after every performance. This is the highest number of expectant fans post-show of any Broadway performance.

Hanks is ranked as the fifth-highest all-time box office star in North America, with a total gross of over $4.9 billion at the North American box office, an average of $100.8 million per film. Worldwide, his films have grossed over $9.96 billion.

Asteroid 12818 Tom Hanks is named after him.

In 2003, Hanks was voted Number 3 in Channel 4’s countdown of the 100 Greatest Movie Stars of All Time, and he is number 22 on VH1’s list of the “200 Greatest Pop Culture Icons of All Time”.

He was included on Forbes’ list of the top ten most powerful celebrities in the world, in 2000, 2002 and 2003. As of January 2019, Hanks is currently voted #1 on Ranker’s “The Best Actors in Film History”.

Hanks was the guest on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Desert Island Discs’ (in the footsteps of John Huston, Arthur Rubinstein, Luciano Pavarotti, and more than 2,500 other celebrities who were “castaways” (guests on the show) since 1942) on May 8, 2016, giving a 45-minute interview with insights into his personal life and career.