Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Jake Frost
Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Stanton Daily. Posted by Jake Frost
July 9, 1956
Currently Known For:
Actor and filmmaker
Forrest Gump, Saving Private Ryan, Apollo 13
“If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. It’s the hard that makes it great.” One of the highest grossing actors of all-time with more than $4.5 billion being pulled in at the box office, Tom Hanks sits behind only Harrison Ford and Samuel L. Jackson on the list, with a career that has spanned more than 30 years. Just like many others, though, Hanks was once a struggling actor that was trying to find his way in the entertainment industry.
Hanks was born on July 9, 1956, but didn’t have the easiest time while growing up as his parents divorced when he was very young, causing him to move just about every year during his youth. Hanks described his childhood as being very lonely, saying that “by the time I was 10, I had lived in 10 different homes.” He added that “My siblings would say it wasn’t that fun – we were miserable, but in some ways it was very cool, because we laughed a lot.”
Not knowing what he wanted to do with his life, Hanks said that he first got interested in in music and entertainment while he was in high school, and decided to start acting in plays as a teenager. After graduating from high school, Hanks would attend both the Chabot College and California State University, Sacramento, where he worked on honing his craft in acting as a theater major.
Hanks would often travel by himself to see as many stage productions as he could, and although he didn’t graduate from college with his degree, he still got a lot of experience under his belt. This would be important as he headed east to New York City, and started getting some notoriety in the early 1980s. Hanks would appear in the low-budget “He Knows You’re Alone”, but found more success when he starred with Peter Scolari on the ABC sitcom “Bosom Buddies”.
The biggest break in Hanks’s career came in 1982 when he had met Ron Howard on the set of “Happy Days” while Hanks was making a guest starring appearance. Howard had started to become a more notable director at the time, and thought that Hanks would be well suited for the leading role. This really helped to put Hanks on the map as the film had been a commercial success, and followed it up with “Bachelor Party”.
Things would actually start to slow down for Hanks over the next few years as some of his films had not really landed with audiences, but that would change in 1988 as he starred in the film “Big”, but his career would again take a step back despite the success of “Turner & Hooch”. The 1990s would prove to be very different for Hanks, as he scored a string of hits that included “A League of Their Own”, “Sleepless in Seattle” and “Philadelphia”.
The latter film in the list would earn Hanks his first Oscar win for Best Actor, five years after he was nominated for “Big” but didn’t win. That would set up Hanks for a massive 1994, as he was tabbed to star in the film “Forrest Gump”. The film would carry a large $55 million budget, but was able to pull in more than $670 million worldwide, helping Hanks to win his second Oscar for Best Actor in consecutive years. The only other actor that can say that is Spencer Tracy, who accomplished the feat in the 1930s.
The character of Forrest Gump was known for having a distinct voice that resonated with a lot of audiences. Hanks said that he was inspired to make the voice after hearing the accent of the actor that played the younger version of Gump. “Somewhere I have cassettes, hours and hours of me just making chit chat with a very young Michael Conner Humphreys,” Hanks said. “He was seven (or) eight years old. He was a young man and that was the vernacular that we spoke in and that was priceless.”
Of course, “Forrest Gump” would help establish Hanks as one of the biggest stars of the 1990s, continuing to release smash hits that included “Apollo 13”, “Toy Story” and “Saving Private Ryan” to round out the decade, earning him another Oscar nomination for Best Actor. Things wouldn’t slow down in the new millennium, either, as Hanks starred in the film “Cast Away” that earned him his most recent Oscar nomination.
Still an A-list star, Hanks has been involved in recent movies such as “The Circle”, “Sully” and “Inferno”. Now 61 years old, Hanks has had time to reflect on his career and the ups and downs it’s had from a success standpoint and is married to actress Rita Wilson for more than 30 years, and has four children. Looking back, Hanks has said “I’d go through horrible doldrums. I’ve made an awful lot of movies that didn’t make any sense, and didn’t many any money, but that doesn’t alter the work that goes into it, or even what your opinion of it is.”
He added that “I actually like getting older. I always felt like I had a big a** and a squeaky voice when I was growing up.”