Tom Hanks

With an on-screen persona so likeable that he was often referred to as "America's Dad," Tom Hanks cemented a reputation as one of the most respected actors of his generation. Born in Concord, California in 1956, Hanks participated in school plays, discovering that acting was a good outlet for his energy and wit. He went on to study theater at California State University, Sacramento and as a three-year intern at Great Lakes Theater Festival in Cleveland, Ohio. He finally moved to New York in 1979 and made his film debut in the low budget horror movie "He Knows You're Alone" (1979). The following year, Hanks landed his first big break, co-starring in the sitcom "Bosom Buddies" (ABC, 1980-82) with Peter Scolari. He starred in the hit fantasy-comedy "Splash" (1984) with Daryl Hannah two years later, which he quickly followed with the zany comedy "Bachelor Party" (1984). Hanks' feature film career was off and running, and he continued his hot streak with the comedies "The Man with One Red Shoe" (1985) and "The Money Pit" (1985). Though he experienced some turbulence in his personal life when he and wife Samantha Lewes were divorced in 1987, his next professional triumph remained just around the corner, as he was soon starring as a 13 year old boy trapped in a 32 year old man's body in Penny Marshall's smash hit "Big" (1988). Hanks remarried actor Rita Wilson that same year, and embarked on a string of cult hits like "The 'Burbs'" (1989) and "Joe Versus the Volcano" (1990). By 1992, he was well established as star and ready for the next phase in his career, and he impressed both audiences and critics with an unexpected performance as a washed up baseball player turned coach in the acclaimed World War II era sports film "A League of Their Own" (1992). Hanks quickly followed this with a turn as a widowed father looking for love opposite Meg Ryan in the massively popular "Sleepless in Seattle" (1993). He followed this with two back-to-back award-winning performances, one as a gay man suffering from both AIDS and discrimination in "Philadelphia" (1993), and another as an intellectually limited man who plays a pivotal role in history in Ron Howard's "Forrest Gump" (1994). Hanks would reteam with Howard the following year to portray astronaut Jim Lovell in "Apollo 13" (1995), the same year he began voice acting the role of cowboy doll Woody in the cutting-edge CG family film "Toy Story" (1995). Ready to expand his horizons further, Hanks next opted to direct his first feature, the period movie "That Thing You Do!" (1996), in which he also played a supporting role. Hanks rounded out the '90s with a turn in the acclaimed war film "Saving Private Ryan" (1998) before reteaming with Meg Ryan for another romance, "You've Got Mail" (1998). Hanks reprised the role of Woody for "Toy Story 2" (1999) before wowing audiences with his performance as a man battling for survival against both loneliness and the elements in "Cast Away" (2000). The 2000s would bring still more nuanced and relatable roles for Hanks in films like "Catch Me If You Can" (2002) and "The Terminal" (2004). He took on the lead role of Robert Langdon in the hotly anticipated film adaptation of the bestseller "The Da Vinci Code" (2006) as well as the sequel "Angels & Demons" (2009), and was greeted with as much affection as ever with his third performance as Woody in "Toy Story 3" (2010). Hanks directed and starred in his second feature, "Larry Crowne" (2011) in 2011. As a whole, the 2010s would find Hanks utilizing the gravity and trust that came with his own screen persona, playing famous figures like Walt Disney in "Saving Mr Banks" (2013), pirate survivor Captain Richard Phillips in "Captain Phillips" (2013), and pilot Chesley 'Sully' Sullenberger in "Sully" (2016). After reprising Robert Langdon for "Inferno" (2016) and Woody for "Toy Story 4" (2019), Hanks took on the role of children's television pioneer Fred Rogers in "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood" (2019).