A FAVORITE LEADING MAN
Tom Hanks is an American icon - a big screen Boy Wonder, and likely this generation's James Stewart. He's the one who put the "M" in movie mogul. His talent is splashed all over the business as a Director, Producer, Writer, and Executive Director. Chances are, if it's worth seeing on the big or small screen, then Tom probably had his hands in the production somewhere.
Tom got his initial breakthrough on television playing Kip/Buffy Wilson on Bosom Buddies from 1980-1982. Who could predict that the cute fluffy cross-dresser would end up as one of best leading men of his time?
His breakout role came in Ron Howard's Splash in 1984 playing mermaid Darryl Hannah's love interest. The film was a huge box office hit and Tom became a household name.
After a series of moderate successes Tom's next big hit was playing the washed-up baseball legend/manager in a film about a professional women's baseball team, A League of Their Own in 1992. This was followed by Sleepless in Seattle, co-starring with Meg Ryan, whom he starred with in two more films of subsequent years. Sleepless launched another aspect of his career as the romantic comedy star, but Tom was about to demonstrate the depths of his dramatic talent with the 1992 critically-loved Philadelphia for which he won the 1993 Best Actor Academy Award.
Box office receipts and critical acclaim got married on his next picture, Forrest Gump; winning him a second consecutive Best Actor Oscar. The only previous actor to have accomplished this feat was Spencer Tracy in 1937 and 1938.
In fact, Tom's movie portfolio reads like an ivy league hall of fame with a variety of roles each displaying another nuance of his immense talent. Parts like an astronaut in Apollo 13, a wooden toy cowboy in Toy Story 1-3, an officer in Saving Private Ryan, a castaway in Castaway, a prison guard in The Green Mile... and the list goes on.
Apparently, the American public never tires of Tom's ability to draw us so completely into a part that we forget ourselves and live vicariously through the characters he brings to life so vividly.
Only Tom Hanks could make you cry in an animated movie playing the indefatigable "Woody". Or, make you angry at the good-for-nothing manager in A League of Their Own. In Saving Mr. Banks he helped us catch a glimpse of one of the 20th Century's movers and shakers - Walt Disney. And, I will never forget how impacted I felt during the last 60-seconds of Captain Phillips when he sits down and finally realizes that he actually survived. Hanks did more with that 60-seconds without dialogue, than some actors can do with an entire script.
Recently, Hanks teamed up again with Steven Spielberg in Bridge of Spies - (see my review). Critics have called his role "flawless". And, I'm almost sure it will probably make the trip to the Academy's voting table for 2016, (if only for Jack Rylance's riveting part). Nevertheless, the public appetite for Tom Hanks' work has been strong for nearly 30-years and it shows no signs of abatement.
Tom belongs to a tiny band of actors who've made multiple films grossing over $100 million in box office sales - 17 to be exact. No matter the part, whether it's the guy next door, or the autistic genius, or the most famous icon of an era - we believe it, we are affected by it, and many times we are impacted by the magnitude of his unforgettable talent.
My Favorite Roles:
Captain Phillips (2012)
Saving Mr. Banks (2013)
Toy Story 1-3 (1995)
Catch Me if You Can (2002)
Apollo 13 (1995)
You've Got Mail (1998)
A League of Their Own (1992)
Forrest Gump (1994)
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Favorite Producer Projects
Band of Brothers (2001)
My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)
Coming soon...My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (Producer)
Did you know...
- Tom Hanks is a descendant of Abraham Lincoln on his mother's side.
- That he was asked to play the lead role in Jerry Maguire in 1996.
- Has made 4 films with Steven Spielberg.
- There is an asteroid named after him.
- He has one of Hollywood's longest lasting marriages - to Rita Wilson since 1988.