Tom Hanks - Updated Apr 2024

Updated On February 29, 2024
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Tom Hanks


Tom Hanks is a veteran American actor who is also referred to as an American cultural icon. Tom Hanks is also a filmmaker, director, producer, and screenwriter. He is one of the most popular and recognizable stars worldwide. He is also a voice actor who lent his voice to the character “Sheriff Woody” in the Toy Story film series.

Early Life and Childhood

Tom Hanks was born on 9 July 1926 and he is currently 67 years old. His full name is Thomas Jeffrey Hanks and he is originally from Concord, California. Tom’s parents were Janet Marylyn (née Frager) and Amos Mefford Hanks. His mother lived from 1932 to 2016 and she was a hospital worker whereas his father was an itinerant cook who survived from 1924 to 1992. Moreover, Hanks’ mother was of Portuguese descent, whose family’s surname was originally called Fraga. Likewise, his father had English ancestry.

Unfortunately, Tom Hanks’s parents divorced in the year 1960. Tom has three siblings namely Sandra, Larry, and Jim. Sandra is a writer, Larry is an entomology professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, and Jim is an actor and filmmaker. After the divorce, the three eldest siblings joined their father whereas the youngest, Jim, joined their mother in Red Bluff, California.

During Tom Hanks’ childhood, his family moved very often. By the age of 10, Tom Hanks had already lived in 10 different houses. Similarly, his family’s religious history was Catholic and Mormon. But Tom characterized his teenage self as being a “Bible-toting evangelical” for several years. In school, however, Tom Hanks was unpopular with students and teachers alike, unlike how he is now.

More Details

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is a drama film in which Hanks portrays Fred Rogers. Then in November 2019, shortly before the drama’s release, Tom Hanks learned through that he and his character, Fred, were sixth cousins. They are both descendants of Johannes Meffert who lived from 1732 to 1795. Fred Rogers was born in Schöneck, Hesse, and later immigrated to the United States in the 18th century.

On 27 December 2019, the President of Greece, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, signed official papers and marked the honorary naturalization of Tom Hanks. This officially made Tom Hanks a Greek citizen.

Tom Hanks

Caption: Tom with his mother after winning the Oscars. Source: NY Daily News

Tom Hanks donates blood plasma after experiencing COVID-19

Tom and his wife Rita Wilson were among the first big celebrities to announce that they tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus during the global pandemic on 11 March. The lovers contracted the disease in March and it was a shocking development in the pandemic. Further, the veteran actor also admitted that he was completely wiped out by the illness.

The couple came down with the virus while they were still in Australia for the preproduction of Baz Luhrmann’s untitled Elvis Presley film. In this movie, Tom plays Presley’s manager Colonel Tom Parker. After the duo tested positive, they were isolated in a Queensland hospital while their symptoms were monitored. They were quarantined in the hospital so as not to spread the virus, more precisely, the Gold Coast University Hospital.

Tom Hanks

Caption: Tom donated blood plasma in April 2020 for COVID-19 vaccine research. Source: Facebook

Pondering where they contracted the virus, Queensland Health officials said that the couple may have got it while in the US or while traveling to Australia. Tom kept updating them about their condition via Twitter. He also wrote, “Two weeks after our first symptoms and we feel better”.

They were in self-quarantine in a rented home in Queensland, Australia following hospital treatment. Later, they went back to Los Angeles, America in late March after spending more than two weeks in quarantine. More precisely, they were released on 16 March and they went back to LA on 27 March. The veteran actor also encouraged social distancing. On this matter, Hanks said, “Sheltering in place works like this: You don’t give it to anyone – you don’t get it from anyone”.

Sharing the details in the media

In a conversation with host Randy Miller on the National Defense Radio Show that aired on 19 April, Tom described that he was struck by body aches and exhaustion. He further told the host, “I was wiped after 12 minutes of exercising so I laid down in the hospital bed and just slept.”

Also, talking about the initial experience of finding out about the virus contraction, Hanks added during the show:

I just had the weirdest thing. I just tried to do basic stretches and exercises on the floor and I couldn’t even get halfway through. And she looked at me through her glasses like she was talking to the dumbest human being. And she said, ‘You have Covid-19.'”

However, Tom also adds that his wife went through a tougher time than him. He said:

Rita went through a tougher time than I did. She had a much higher fever and she had some other symptoms. She lost her sense of taste and sense of smell. Rita got absolutely no joy from food for actually the better part of three weeks. She was so nauseous she had to crawl on the floor from the bed to the facilities.

The medical staff treated his wife, Rita Wilson, with the anti-malarial drug “chloroquine” and that caused such severe nausea that she couldn’t even walk.

Blood and Plasma donation for antibody development

Although the coronavirus impacted the couple differently, it took both the same time to get through it as Rita Wilson said. Hanks and Wilson later learned that both got exposed to the virus at the same time. However, they aren’t sure where or when they got it.

The veteran couple donated blood and are waiting to hear back if their antibodies will help develop a vaccine. They would also donate plasma if they can as expressed by Rita Wilson. Moreover, Tom added that he knew nothing about antibody development other than an old Star Trek episode where the character Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy says “antibodies” over-enunciated.

The couple was photographed smiling while driving a vehicle in Los Angeles. Celebrity website TMZ added that the photographs were taken shortly after they landed at a small Los Angeles area airport. The New York Post’s Page Six column then went on to add that Tom was touching the tarmac and dancing after getting off a private jet. Filming has long been shut down in the movie and hundreds of other film and television productions worldwide.

On 24 April, Tom shared a Facebook post urging his followers to donate if they were in LA. In the post, he wrote:

First Responders and Healthcare Workers need testing to know if they are safe to work or not. And, data for research needs collecting, so we are supporting #LAHEALTHCAREHEROES. @arimoin UCLA Fielding School of Public Health is leading the way.

Then on 28 April 2020, he shared another Facebook post with photos of him donating blood and plasma for research purposes. He wrote:

Here’s last week’s bag of plasma. Such a bag! After the paperwork, it’s as easy as taking a nap. Thanks @arimoin and UCLA. Hanx

Other Health Issues

On 7 October 2013, on The Late Show with David Letterman, Tom announced that he has Type 2 diabetes. Tom also practices transcendental meditation along with participating in a charity dinner for veterans victims of post-traumatic stress disorder. The David Lynch Foundation with Mary-Louise Parker organizes this charity dinner.

Educational Journey and Early Career

Tom studied theater at Chabot College and this college is located in Hayward, California. He later transferred to California State University, Sacramento after two years. During a 2001 interview, sportscaster Bob Costas asked Tom whether he would rather have an Oscar or a Heisman Trophy. Tom replied that he would rather win a Heisman by playing halfback for the California Golden Bears.

Likewise, Tom also told New York magazine in 1986 that acting classes looked like the best place for a guy who liked to make a lot of noise and be rather flamboyant. Tom also acted in school plays. This includes the play South Pacific while he was in Skyline High School in Oakland, California. While he was studying theater, Tom met Vincent Dowling. Vincent was the head of the Great Lakes Theater Festival in Cleveland, Ohio.

At Vincent’s suggestion, Tom became an intern at the festival. Then his internship stretched into a three-year experience that covered most aspects of theater production. This included lighting, set design, and stage management. This then prompted him to drop out of college.

During this time, Tom also won the Cleveland Critics Circle Award for Best Actor for his 1978 performance as Proteus in Shakespeare’s The Two Gentlemen of Verona. It was one of the few times he played a villain. Then in 2010, Time magazine named him one of the “Top 10 College Dropouts.”

Acting Career

Tom is an actor and filmmaker/producer. He is popular for both his comedic and dramatic roles. Likewise, he is one of the most popular and recognizable film stars worldwide. Tom is also widely regarded as an American cultural icon.

Further, Tom received immense fame with leading roles in comedies like Splash and Big. He also collaborated with film director Steven Spielberg on five films. These films are Saving Private Ryan in 1998, Catch Me If You Can in 2002, The Terminal in 2004, Bridge of Spies in 2015, and The Post in 2017. The duo also worked together in the 2001 miniseries Band of Brothers. It launched Tom as a director, producer, and screenwriter.

Additionally, Tom’s other notable films include the romantic comedies Sleepless in Seattle released in 1993 and You’ve Got Mail in 1998. Some other popular works include the dramas Apollo 13, The Green Mile, Cast Away, Road to Perdition, and Cloud Atlas.

Tom’s well-known works also include the biographical dramas Saving Mr. Banks, Captain Phillips, Sully, and A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. Tom has appeared as the main character in the Robert Langdon film series. In addition, Tom also voiced Sheriff Woody in the Toy Story film series.

Tom Hanks

Caption: Tom played various roles throughout his life. Source: Hollywood Reporter

Awards and Honors

Tom received numerous honors throughout his career. Two of them are Academy Awards (Oscars) for “Best Actor”. They were for starring as a gay lawyer suffering from AIDS in Philadelphia and a young man with below-average IQ in Forrest Gump. Other awards include the Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award for Excellence in Film from the “British Academy of Film, and Film and Television Arts” in 2004.

Some more remarkable ones are the Douglas S. Morrow Public Outreach Award in 2006, the Kennedy Center Honors Medallion in 2014, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the French Legion of Honor in 2016.

He received the “Medal of Freedom” from President Barack Obama. Also, Tom received the “French Legion of Honor” for his presentation on World War II and the support of World War II veterans. He received this honor alongside Tom Brokaw and Gordon H. Mueller. Brokaw is a retired NBC anchor whereas Mueller is the president and co-founder of the National WWII Museum, in New Orleans.


Tom has written and published a collection of short stories inspired by his typewriter collection, Uncommon Type. He published his collection in 2017.

Moreover, Tom is perceived as amiable and congenial to his fans. He is often compared to his generation’s Jimmy Stewart. People have also frequently referred to him as America’s Dad.

In 2013, Tom had crowds of 300 fans waiting for a glimpse of him after every performance. This was when he starred in Lucky Guy on Broadway. Moreover, this is also the highest number of expectant fans post-show of any Broadway performance.

Likewise, Asteroid 12818 Thanks is named after him. And, as of January 2019, he is #1 on Ranker’s The Best Actors in Film History. Moreover, Tom guest-starred on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs on 8 May 2016. On the show, Tom gave a 45-minute interview with insights into his personal life and career.

On the show, Tom followed the footsteps of John Huston, Arthur Rubinstein, Luciano Pavarotti, and more than 2,500 other celebrities who were “castaways” since 1942.

Relationship Status

Veteran actor Tom’s previous wife was the American actress Samantha Lewes in 1978. They had one son born in 1977. He is actor Colin Hanks. They also have one daughter named Elizabeth Hanks born in 1982. However, the pair parted ways and divorced in the year 1987.

Then in 1981, he met actress Rita Wilson on the set of the TV comedy Bosom Buddies. The pair again united in 1985 on the set of Volunteers. Rita Wilson is of Greek and Bulgarian descent and a member of the Greek Orthodox Church hence before marrying her, Tom converted to her faith.

Tom and Rita Wilson married in 1988. They have two sons namely Chester Marlon “Chet” Hanks and Truman Theodore. Their eldest son had a minor role as a student in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. He also later released a rap song in the year 2011. Similarly, their youngest son was born in 1995. Tom and his family live in Los Angeles, California, and Ketchum, Idaho. At present, Tom actively attends church.

Tom Hanks

Caption: Tom Hanks on his wedding with his wife Rita Wilson. Source: Eighties Kids

Body Measurements

Veteran actor Tom Hanks stands tall at a height of 6 feet. Hanks maintains his body weight as per his character demands. He went from 225 pounds to 170 for the drama film Castaway. Likewise, he has lost and gained weight in a few roles. But his 55-pound weight loss for this particular one was his most extreme diet. Tom has hazel eyes and dark brown hair that is turning grey/white with his aging.

Tom Hanks – Social Media

Talking about Tom Hank’s social media presence, he joined Twitter in June 2009 and so far has 16.7 million followers. Likewise, his Instagram handle boasts 232 post shares and 9.7 million followers at the time of preparing this biography. He also has 7.4 million followers on his official Facebook page.

Tom Hanks – Net Worth 2024

Moving on, the veteran actor has a net worth of $350 million as of February 2023. His films have grossed over $4.9 billion in North America and over $9.96 billion worldwide. This makes Tom the fifth-highest-grossing actor in North America.