23 Fun Facts About Tom Hanks | America’s Beloved Everyman

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23 Fun Facts About Tom Hanks | America’s Beloved Everyman

  1. Besides English, Tom Hanks speaks six other languages.
  2. Tom Hanks is a member of the National Space Society.
  3. Tom Hanks earned $1 million in “Big” (1988), a first for a child role.
  4. Tom Hanks is a licensed pilot and owns his private aircraft.
  5. Hanks won the G. Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award in 2020 for his lifetime achievements.
  6. Hanks was the youngest to receive AFI’s Life Achievement Award in 2002.
  7. Tom Hanks is the fourth-highest-grossing actor in North America.
  8. In 2010, Time Magazine listed Tom Hanks among the Top 10 College Dropouts.
  1. Tom Hanks’s parents divorced in 1960; he and his two siblings went with their father, while his youngest brother, Jim, stayed with their mother.
  2. As a teen, Tom Hanks was an evangelical, despite his family’s Catholic and Mormon background.
  3. Hanks interned at the Great Lakes Theater Festival, learning theater production, leading him to drop college.
  4. In 1978, Tom Hanks won an award for playing the villain Proteus in Shakespeare’s Two Gentlemen of Verona.
  5. Hanks co-wrote and co-directed HBO’s $68 million Emmy-winning series ‘From the Earth to the Moon.’
  6. Hanks’ movies have grossed more than $4.9 billion in North America and more than $9.96 billion worldwide.
  7. In 1978, Tom Hanks tied the knot with American actress Samantha Lewes (1952–2002).

Table of Contents

1. Tom Hanks is a distant relative of President Abraham Lincoln!

Did you know Tom Hanks has a presidential connection? That’s right, he’s distantly related to the 16th U.S. President, Abraham Lincoln. They share the same ancestor: John Hanks. Tom is the third cousin, four times removed, of Lincoln through Nancy Hanks, Lincoln’s mother. 

So, the next time you watch Hanks on screen, remember you’re seeing a relative of one of America’s greatest leaders!

2. Tom Hanks is married to actress Rita Wilson.

Tom and Rita, a pair that’s stood the test of time, marked their beginnings in 1981 on the “Bosom Buddies” set. Though Tom was previously married, by 1988, the spark with Rita turned into a lifelong flame. 

Now, with over three decades of marriage, they’re a Hollywood anomaly, showcasing that enduring love isn’t just for the movies.

3. Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson were Hollywood’s Early COVID-19 Warriors.

In March 2020, as COVID-19 made headlines, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson became notable Hollywood victims. In Australia for an Elvis movie, they shared their positive test results, debunking previous rumors about other stars. 

Their recovery journeys differed: Rita faced taste loss and nausea, while Tom battled fatigue and aches. The couple donated plasma post-recovery, showcasing their resilience and commitment to combating the pandemic.

4. Tom Hanks has an Asteroid named after him.

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Asteriod – 12818 Tomhanks.

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Have you ever thought a star could have an asteroid named after him? Tom Hanks does! Thanks to his iconic role in “Apollo 13,” NASA honored him in 1996 by naming an asteroid “12818 Tomhanks.” 

Discovered by University of Arizona astronomer Joseph L. Montani, this space rock had a cosmic meet-up with the “8353 Megryan” asteroid, named after his co-star Meg Ryan, in 2011. A true cosmic connection!

5. Tom Hanks made his Hollywood debut in a 1980 horror film.

Before Tom Hanks became a Hollywood icon, he made his film debut in 1980. Surprisingly, it was in a slasher titled “He Knows You’re Alone” where he played a flirty jogger. This was just the beginning, as that very year, he also starred in the TV series “Bosom Buddies.” 

From a small horror flick to blockbusters, Hanks sure had an interesting start to his cinematic journey!

6. In 2013, Tom Hanks Revealed about His Diabetes Diagnosis.

Tom Hanks, known for his commitment to roles, faced a health challenge in 2013: a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes, a result of frequent weight fluctuations for movies. The news took him by surprise, yet felt expected. 

Resolute, Hanks decided against extreme weight changes for roles, focusing on daily workouts and mindful eating. He strives for an hour of activity daily, revealing a dedication beyond the screen.

7. Every April, Fans Globally Celebrate International Tom Hanks Day.

What began as an April Fools’ jest in 2004, “International Tom Hanks Day” grew into a celebrated event. Initiated by college students, including founder Kevin Turk, they held a Hanks movie marathon, wearing special T-shirts for fun. 

The star, amused, joined the festivity in his typical playful spirit. Though originally on April 2nd, the celebration now falls on the closest Saturday to April 1st. Remarkably, in 2021, it even went virtual!

8. Tom Hanks won back-to-back Oscars for Best Actor in 1993-94.

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Tom Hanks with Oscar for Forest Gump 1994.

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Tom Hanks achieved a rare cinematic feat in the ’90s. Honored with Best Actor Oscars consecutively for “Philadelphia” in 1993 and “Forrest Gump” in 1994, he joined the exclusive club of back-to-back winners. 

The last time this happened was over 50 years prior, with Spencer Tracy winning in 1937 and 1938. Two remarkable actors, both leaving indelible marks in film history.

9. Tom Hanks is a fan of vintage typewriters.

Tom Hanks isn’t just a film legend; he’s a passionate typewriter enthusiast! Owning over 250 typewriters, he cherishes each one’s unique purpose: flawlessly turning thoughts into words on paper. His love for these machines shines in the documentary “California Typewriter.” 

This fascination led to his book, “Uncommon Type,” where typewriters play a role in every story. For Hanks, it’s more than a hobby; it’s a tangible connection to storytelling.

10. Tom Hanks voices the character Woody in the “Toy Story” franchise.

Tom Hanks is the iconic voice behind Woody in the “Toy Story” movies. But did you know that when it comes to video games and merchandise, it’s not always Tom? With a packed schedule, he found a solution close to home. 

His brother, Jim Hanks, steps in to voice Woody for these instances. Tom’s suggestion to Pixar was simple: “Get my brother Jim.” Two brothers, one beloved cowboy character!

11. Tom Hanks and his spouse hold honorary citizenship in Greece.

Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson aren’t just Hollywood stars; they’re honorary Greek citizens! Recognized for their efforts following a devastating 2018 wildfire in Mati, the couple and their kids were granted this honor. 

The journey began with Tom’s marriage to Rita and their connection to the Greek Orthodox Church. Sealed with a photo alongside Greece’s Prime Minister, Hanks celebrated, “Starting 2020 as an honorary citizen of all of Greece!”

12. Tom Hanks Co-Funded Forrest Gump’s Iconic Running Scene.

When “Forrest Gump” faced budget constraints, Tom Hanks stepped in. Paramount hesitated to fund the iconic scene of Forrest’s cross-country run. Not wanting to lose this pivotal moment, Hanks and director Robert Zemeckis split the cost, believing in its significance. 

The gamble paid off, making the running scene one of cinema’s most memorable. Hanks’ investment not only enriched the film but also boosted its legacy and his earnings.

13. Tom Hanks Honored with Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016.

In 2016, President Barack Obama awarded Tom Hanks the Presidential Medal of Freedom. It’s the highest honor for a US civilian, recognizing not just his cinematic achievements but also his dedication to social justice, environmental efforts, and support for veterans. 

Obama fondly labeled him “America’s Dad”, emphasizing that Hanks has always shone brightest in his real-life roles. Among the celebrated recipients that year were Ellen DeGeneres, Diana Ross, and Bruce Springsteen.

14. Jim Hanks Doubled for Tom in the Forrest Gump Running Scenes.

Tom Hanks’ younger brother, Jim Hanks, has such a striking resemblance to Tom that he stepped in as a body double for the running scenes in “Forrest Gump.” While Tom took home an Oscar for the iconic role, it was their unique Hanks’ running style that Jim perfectly replicated on screen. 

Although they spent much of their childhood apart due to their parents’ divorce, this movie experience brought them closer, showcasing the unmistakable Hanks’ genes in action.

15. Tom Hanks supports Meat-Free Monday.

Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson champion the cause of Meat Free Monday, a movement initiated by Paul and Stella McCartney in 2009. Advocating for a plant-based diet once a week, Hanks highlights the environmental and animal welfare benefits. 

He says, “It’s good for the planet and the animals we share it with.” Even for those not fully committed to a meatless lifestyle, Hanks suggests trying it out on Mondays as an easy, impactful gesture.

16. The US Navy gave Tom Hanks the highest civilian honor.

Steve Spielberg and Tom Hanks received US Navy’s highest civilian award.

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For his authentic portrayal in “Saving Private Ryan,” Tom Hanks, along with director Steven Spielberg, was honored by the US Navy with its highest civilian award in 1999. The film highlighted the sacrifices during the Battle of Normandy, raising awareness about World War II veterans. 

Hanks, an advocate for a WWII memorial in Washington, admired the young soldiers’ bravery, reminding audiences of the real-life heroes behind the movie scenes.

17. Young Tom Hanks sold snacks at Oakland A’s games.

At just 14, Tom Hanks sold hot dogs and peanuts to Oakland A’s fans. Dreaming of a supportive work environment like in TV shows, young Hanks found reality quite different. Not only did he face challenges from professional vendors who weren’t keen on teens working games, but he also got robbed twice. 

He humorously recalls the need to “hide those wads of cash” from potential thieves. Even before fame, Hanks always had a knack for captivating stories.

18. Tom Hanks has a record label called Playtone.

In 1998, Tom Hanks teamed up with producer Gary Goetzman to create Playtone, a film and television production company. Inspired by Hanks’ film “That Thing You Do!”, the company even adopted the fictional “Play-Tone” logo from the movie. 

With an exclusive TV deal with HBO, Playtone produced acclaimed series like “Band of Brothers” and “John Adams”. This venture showcases Hanks’ passion for storytelling, both in front of and behind the camera.

19. Tom Hanks has also written a novel and short stories.

Tom Hanks, renowned for over 100 films in his 45-year acting career, expanded his artistic horizon by writing. During the pandemic, he penned a novel, “The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece,” inspired by a comic strip turning into a blockbuster film. 

Earlier, he’d unveiled his love for typewriters with “Uncommon Type,” a collection of 17 short stories. Hanks proves his storytelling prowess isn’t confined just to the big screen.

20. Tom Hanks donated a coffee machine to the White House press corps.

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Tom Hanks’s espresso machine to the White House press corps.

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In a thoughtful gesture, Tom Hanks gifted the White House press corps a high-end Pasquini Livia G4 espresso machine in 2017, worth $1,740, to fuel their search for truth. 

This wasn’t a one-off act; Hanks first noticed their need for caffeine back in 2004 and has since made it a tradition to upgrade their machine. Along with this generous gift, Hanks sent an inspiring note, urging journalists to continue their “fight for Truth, Justice, and the American way.”

21. Tom Hanks chose Forrest Gump over Shawshank Redemption.

Tom Hanks chose Forrest Gump over Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption, and it paid off big. Hanks clinched the Best Actor Oscar in 1995 for Gump, which raked in nearly $700 million. 

On the flip side, Shawshank initially flopped, earning just $16 million. However, its greatness wasn’t overlooked for long; over time, it rose to be hailed as one of cinema’s finest, despite its initial box office setback.

22. Tom Hanks wrote and directed That Thing You Do! and Larry Crowne.

Tom Hanks isn’t just a celebrated actor; he’s also ventured into writing and directing. He wrote and directed the 1960s rock band comedy That Thing You Do! in 1996. Later, he wore multiple hats for the 2011 romantic film Larry Crowne, where he directed, co-wrote, and starred alongside Julia Roberts. 

In Larry Crowne, he played a laid-off man who decided to join a community college. These films showcase Hanks’s versatility in the world of cinema.

23. Tom Hanks shed 35 pounds for his role in Philadelphia.

In the movie Philadelphia, Tom Hanks portrayed a gay lawyer diagnosed with AIDS. To authentically play the role, Hanks underwent a dramatic physical transformation. He shed 35 pounds and even altered his hair to genuinely depict someone battling the illness. 

His commitment to the character showcased his dedication to bringing realism and empathy to the screen.


Tom Hanks has won two Academy Awards. He received these Oscars for Best Actor in “Philadelphia” (1993) and “Forrest Gump” (1994), showcasing his exceptional talent in acting.

Tom Hanks stands at a height of 1.83 meters, reflecting an above-average stature that complements his commanding presence in film.

Tom Hanks, an acclaimed American actor, director, writer, and producer, has amassed a net worth of $400 million, marking him as one of the most esteemed figures in Hollywood.

Tom Hanks’ most significant film, which earned him an Oscar, is “Forrest Gump” (1994). His portrayal of the kind-hearted, simple-minded Forrest Gump won over audiences globally.

Tom Hanks has acted in over 100 movies, showcasing his vast experience in the film industry. His deep insights from these roles inspired him to write a novel about the business.

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