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Born on July 9, 1956, in Concord, California, actor Tom Hanks began performing with the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival in 1977, later moving to New York City. He starred in the television sitcom Bosom Buddies, but became far more known when he starred in the Ron Howard film Splash. He went on to star in many more popular and acclaimed movies, including Big, Forrest Gump and Cast Away, and is now arguably one of the most powerful and well-respected actors in Hollywood.
Early Life and Career
Actor Thomas Jeffrey Hanks was born on July 9, 1956, in Concord, California. Hanks’s parents divorced when he was 5 years old, and he was raised, along with his older brother and sister, by his father, a chef named Amos. The family moved frequently, finally settling in Oakland, California, where Hanks attended high school. After graduating in 1974, Hanks attended junior college in Hayward, California. He decided to pursue acting after reading and watching a performance of Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh (1946), and transferred into the theater program at California State University in Sacramento.
In 1977, Hanks was recruited to take part in the summer session of the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival in Lakewood, Ohio. Over the next three years, Hanks spent his summers acting in various productions of Shakespeare’s plays and his winters working backstage at a community theater company in Sacramento. He won the Cleveland Critics Circle Award for Best Actor in 1978, for his portrayal of Proteus in The Two Gentlemen of Verona.
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