Tom Hanks: 9 Surprising Facts About the Actor

Tom Hanks facts

Launching to fame in 1984’s Splash, Tom Hanks has been a much-loved leading man for four decades – scoring two Oscars and appearing in over 90 movies. 

1) Hanks is distantly related to Abraham Lincoln 

Surprisingly, Hanks is distantly related to one of the most celebrated presidents in history – none other than Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln’s great great grandfather was John Hanks – the great great great great great grandfather of Tom Hanks. 

2) As a teen, Hanks worked as  peanut vendor

When Hanks was a teenager, he got himself a job selling peanuts and soft drinks at baseball games. He told Jimmy Kimmel about the experience – ‘I thought it would be like on a TV show, but I got robbed twice.’ The professional vendors also frowned on the fact that teens were working the games, and would become quite confrontational. 

3) ‘Wilson’ is the line that follows Hanks the most 

Whilst there are several memorable lines from Hanks’ numerous films throughout the years, such as ‘Houston, we have a problem,’ and ‘run, Forest, run,’ Hanks revealed that the line people shout at him the most – no matter where he is in the world – actually comes from 2000’s Castaway. The line is, ‘Wilsonnnnnnnn!’

4) Tom Hanks funded some of Forrest Gump 

Paramount Pictures, the studio behind Forrest Gump, didn’t want to cough up the money for the scenes where Forrest runs across the country. Tom Hanks and director Robert Zemeckis decided that they didn’t want to lose the scene, so they would split the extra cost between them, for a bigger share of the profits. 

5) Typewriter collector

After being gifted a typewriter by a friend, Tom Hanks developed a bit of an obsession with the contraptions. He explained in an interview that he likes how they have one purpose – to translate your thoughts to paper – and that they do it perfectly. Hanks went on to grow a huge collection – amassing over 250 models!

6) NASA named an asteroid after the actor

When it came to naming a new asteroid they’d identified in the skies, NASA turned their inspiration to movie stars, and settled on 12818 Tomhanks. 

7) Happy Days helped Tom Hanks get his big break 

Hanks scored a small part in hit show Happy Days. Although the part wasn’t very big, Hanks made an impression on star of the show Ron Howard. When Howard was directing Splash a few years later, he reached out to Hanks for the lead role, and his movie career was launched. 

8) That Thing You Do features his wife and two children

Tom Hanks wrote and directed 1996’s That Thing You Do. He included his wife, Rita Wilson, in the movie as a waitress, and he also gave small cameo roles to his two children, Colin Hanks and Elizabeth Hanks. It’s the only film to contain all four actors. 

9) The US Navy gave him the highest civilian honour

For his work on Saving Private Ryan, which is seen as one of the truest depictions of the Normandy landings, the US Navy granted the highest civilian honour to not only Tom Hanks, but to the film’s director Steven Spielberg too. 

There you have it – 9 facts about Tom Hanks!