about Tom Hanks, but, truly, who cares?
GetBack.com: Surprising Facts About Tom Hanks
10 Surprising Facts About Tom Hanks by Amy & Nancy Harrington,
May 14, 2009
Everybody loves "Angels & Demons" star Tom Hanks. What's not to love? Not only is he a great actor, he's also charming and funny off-screen, and he seems like a good father and husband. Who wouldn't want to hang out with him? And, really, haven't we all been friends with Tom for years? His effortless persona and everyman appeal make us feel like we've been his "Bosom Buddies" since that show first aired nearly 30 years ago. He seems so friendly and open that we were astonished to learn of a few things he's been keeping from us. Did you know these surprising facts about Tom Hanks?
He Inspired "In and Out"
In 1994, Hanks won the Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of a gay, AIDS-afflicted attorney in "Philadelphia." In his acceptance speech he thanked his high school drama teacher, Rawley Farnsworth, referring to him along with a former classmate as "two of the finest gay Americans." Only problem: Farnsworth was still in the closet at the time, so Tom accidentally outed him on worldwide TV. The moment inspired the movie "In & Out," starring Matt Dillon as an actor who inadvertently reveals the same secret about his high school English teacher, played by Kevin Kline. Perhaps as penance, Hanks helped fund renovations for the newly renamed Rawley T. Farnsworth Theater at his alma mater, Skyline High School in Oakland, California, in 2002.
He Wanted to Boldly Go Where No Man Had Gone Before
Tom Hanks is a Trekkie. Or is that politically incorrect? Is it Trekker now? Are people seriously debating this? Anyway, Tom's such a massive "Trek" fan that he talked Patrick Stewart's hair -- we mean ear -- off about "The Next Generation" when they first met. In fact, Tom was slated to play Zefram Cochrane in 1996's "Star Trek: First Contact" but was busy with his directorial debut, "That Thing You Do!" So the role went instead to Babe's pig farmer, James Cromwell.
He's Related to Honest Abe
Tom isn't one of those actors with political aspirations, but the Oval Office is in his blood. Sure, it's four generations removed, but still, we were surprised to learn that Tom and the 16th President, Abraham Lincoln, share an ancestor, John Hanks (1680-1740), who was Honest Abe's great-great-grandfather and Tom's great-great-great-great-grandfather. So Lincoln and Hanks are third cousins, four times removed. That's way better than being Dick Cheney's eighth cousin, huh, President Obama?
He Gets Physical for His Roles
Hanks takes his craft seriously, adapting to every physical alteration required for a role. He gained 30 pounds to play ladies-baseball coach Jimmy Dugan in 1992's "A League of Their Own." Then he lost 30 pounds for his Academy Award-winning turn as ailing attorney Andrew Beckett in "Philadelphia." Later he shed 50 pounds to depict island-bound FedEx systems analyst Chuck Noland in "Cast Away." But sometimes Tom draws the line. The right-handed actor didn't portray astronaut Jim Lovell as a southpaw (which Lovell actually is) in "Apollo 13."
He's Been Decorated
On Veterans Day in 1999, the U.S. Navy gave Hanks the Distinguished Public Service Award. It's the Navy's highest civilian honor, bestowed for "exceptionally outstanding service of substantial and long-term benefit to the Navy." The actor received the distinction for his role in the film "Saving Private Ryan."
He's a World Record Holder
Tom Hanks isn't the World's Tallest Man or even the World's Best Actor. But in 2006 he entered the "Guinness Book of World Records" as the "Actor With The Most Consecutive $100-Million Grossing Movies": seven, between 1998 and 2002. Here's the list: "Saving Private Ryan," "You've Got Mail," "The Green Mile," "Toy Story 2," "Cast Away," "The Road to Perdition," and "Catch Me If You Can." This is actually Hanks' second Guinness entry. He shares another, "Most Oscars Won, Best Actor," with seven legends, among them Spencer Tracy, Marlon Brando, and Jack Nicholson. They've all won two, but only Hanks and Tracy won theirs back-to-back.
He's Not Always Mr. Nice Guy
In 1985, Hanks had been married to Samantha Lewes for seven years, and they had two children together. Then he went off to make a film called "Volunteers." He never expected to fall in love with fellow castmember Rita Wilson. Hanks has since admitted to having an affair with the actress while still legally hitched to Lewes. But he ultimately did the honorable thing. He followed his heart, divorced Samantha, and married Rita in 1988. The happy couple, parents to two kids, have been together for 21 years and counting.
His Brother's in the Act
It seems like a waste of time for a megastar like Hanks shoot scenes where he's just running and running and running. He has so much more to do. "Forrest Gump's" producers must have thought so too: they recruited Tom's younger brother, Jim, for the titular hero's cross-country run. The siblings' resemblance was striking, and thanks to a mountain-man beard, it was impossible to tell the difference.
He's Behind "Mamma Mia!"
The ABBA jukebox musical "Mamma Mia!" first hit London's West End in 1999. That's where Hanks and wife Rita Wilson first saw it and realized its big-screen potential. The couple seems to have a nose for hits. Rita has a brief but amazing track record for finding projects. Her first production, "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," is still the most profitable independent film of all time. And clearly Tom has a few successes under his belt. So the power couple put their clout -- and his production company -- behind an adaptation of "Mamma Mia!" Critics might not have been sold on the movie (Pierce Brosnan, singing?), but the public embraced it. Its worldwide box office has topped $600 million, making it the fifth-highest-grossing film of 2008.
He Collects Typewriters
Tom seems like an old-fashioned kind of guy, something his hobbies reflect. For example, he collects vintage typewriters. He has over 100 manual models dating from the 1930s until the last machines were manufactured. And he has them shipped from all around the world, often spending more on shipping than on the instruments themselves. "You've Got Mail" fans may wonder if Nora Ephron based Greg Kinnear's character's own typewriter love on Hanks, but she has said that Frank Navasky was actually modeled on columnist Ron Rosenbaum.
What a hero!