The Transformation Of Tom Hanks From 1 To 64 Years Old

Tom Hanks is one of the most lovable stars in Hollywood, "hanks" to his humble personality (see what we did there?) and incredible acting skills. We'd be lying if we said that Hanks wasn't one of our favorite actors, and he's starred in several films that we could watch over and over again. According to his IMDb profile, Hanks began his career in 1980, playing the role of Elliot in "He Knows You're Alone." From there, he's starred in one blockbuster after another, including "Big," "Forrest Gump," "Saving Private Ryan," and "Cast Away" (more on those later). He's also done work behind the camera, serving as a writer and director — and also proving that there's pretty much nothing that he isn't capable of.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Hanks shared that he fell in love with acting after seeing "2001: A Space Odyssey" in 1968. He's since seen the movie 100 times. "Here's this dawn-of-man sequence and they got the apes to perform this way, which was astounding, and oh, wait, there's a fight over the waterhole and then the most amazing time cut in the history of cinema when the moon walker throws that bone in the air and it becomes this orbiting satellite," he said. "Until then, I just watched anything that was on TV. I was never aware of this collection of only light color and you didn't need even words to explain anything." Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece certainly inspired many, including Hanks' impressive career. 

Tom Hanks had a rough childhood

He might be Hollywood's favorite actor now, but once upon a time, Tom Hanks was just a little boy forced to face the harsh reality of his parents' divorce. "My parents split up ... the first time when I was five," Hanks recalled on the "2 Dope Queens" podcast. Unsurprisingly, the separation took a toll on Hanks and his siblings. During an appearance on "Desert Island Discs," Hanks explained that he and his siblings were too young to understand what was going on — and even worse, no one explained what was happening. "No one said, 'Hey listen, you guys are great. You haven't done anything wrong,'" he added.

Following the divorce, Hanks lived with his father, who was a nomad who never really settled in one place. Sadly, this lack of stability birthed the young actor's struggles with loneliness. To fight this, Hanks sought solace in acting, often going to the American Conservatory Theatre by himself, as he shared on "Desert Island Discs." Hanks described this experience (visiting the theatre alone) as "incredibly important," admitting that he still goes to some shows by himself and that watching live performances piqued his interest in acting. Now, acting is not only an escape from the feeling of loneliness that Hanks once struggled with, but it has also helped him express all of the emotions he can't put into words. "What it was," Hanks said of acting on "Desert Island Discs," "it was the vocabulary of loneliness."

The role that put Tom Hanks on the map

Prior to his breakout role on "Bosom Buddies" in 1980, Tom Hanks married his college sweetheart, Samantha Lewes, and had two children: Colin and Elizabeth. According to IMDb, "Bosom Buddies" ran from 1980-1982, and a young Hanks starred alongside Peter Scolari. As fans of the show know, Hanks and Scolari disguised themselves as women to live in an apartment in New York City that they were actually able to afford. In all, Hanks appeared in 37 episodes of the series. MeTV reported that the legendary actor's salary was modest at the time, with Hanks pulling in about $2,500 a week. The figure wasn't terrible for the '80s, but it was also just a drop in the bucket compared to some of his more recent paychecks, including the $15 million he received for "Toy Story 4" as the voice of Woody.

Another fun fact about Hanks' time on set? It was there that he met his now-wife, Rita Wilson. Wilson appeared in the episode titled "All You Need Is Love." The show was the first time the pair met in person, but Hanks admitted that he first laid eyes on Wilson when she appeared as a cheerleader on "The Brady Bunch" in 1972. "I was actually at a friend of mine's house when it aired, and I remember thinking, 'That girl's cute,'" he told People. (Hanks and Lewes divorced in 1987). More on Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson's romance to come!

1988 was a huge year for Tom Hanks

Tom Hanks has had several memorable years in his life, but 1988 has to be one of the ones that stick out most, both personally and professionally. That year, Hanks starred alongside Elizabeth Perkins in "Big," one of the films that helped launch him to superstardom. Through the years, it's become a classic, and we're not going to lie: We grin from ear-to-ear when we flip through the channels and see it's on. The same year, Hanks married Rita Wilson, and thus, they became one of the most adorable couples in Hollywood. As of this writing, the pair have been together for almost 35 years, and it's a true testament to their commitment, because marriages that last that long don't happen too often in Tinseltown. The couple regularly spills marriage secrets and they beam over one another in interviews and award acceptance speeches. 

When Hanks was presented with the prestigious Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 2020 Golden Globes, he got choked up as he thanked his family within the first two minutes of his speech. "A man is blessed with a family sitting down front like that, a wife who is fantastic in every way, who has taught me what love is ... kids who are braver and stronger and wiser than their old man is." In true Hanks fashion, he rebounded with a joke — saying cold medicine caused his tears and not his emotions. We're not crying ...

The early '90s and a packed year for Hanks

The earlier part of the '90s were huge for Tom Hanks, both personally and professionally. He and Rita Wilson welcomed two sons, Chet and Truman, and Hanks starred in several hits, including "A League of Their Own" and "Apollo 13." The actor enjoyed a particularly packed year in 1993, when one of his most iconic films, "Sleepless in Seattle," came out, making almost everyone in the world want to call in to a radio program to find love. Hanks starred opposite the great Meg Ryan.

The following year, Hanks won his first Oscar for his role in "Philadelphia." The actor played the role of Andrew Beckett, a gay man who was fired by his law firm for having HIV. He took his firm to court, and in the process, Hanks gave the performance of a lifetime. In his acceptance speech, the actor thanked his wife and two men who'd been a great influence on him. "I would not be standing here if it weren't for ... my high school drama teacher, who taught me that 'act well the part, there all the glory lies,' and one of my classmates ... I mention their names because they are two of the finest gay Americans, two wonderful men that I had the good fortune to be associated with, to fall under their inspiration at such a young age." In 1995, he nabbed another Oscar for "Forrest Gump." 

Tom Hanks started voice acting

In 1995, Tom Hanks delved into voice acting, making his debut as the voice of the lead character Woody in "Toy Story." A stellar work of art, the movie left a lasting impact on the film industry, making history as the first-ever feature-length computer-animated film, grossing over $361 million worldwide, per The Independent. The film's success led to the release of more sequels, and Hanks reprised his role in all three subsequent films. And while the "Elvis" star has done a great job bringing the Woody character to life, he admits that the role, like many others, came with its own challenges. "There are times when my diaphragm is sore at the end of a four- or five-hour recording session, just because the challenge is to wring out every possible option for every piece of dialogue," he told The New York Times. "It's every incarnation of outrage and surprise and disappointment and heartache and panic and being plussed [sic] and nonplussed [sic]."

In addition to "Toy Story," Hanks has a few more voice-acting credits under his belt. Per IMDb, the actor has lent his voice to such projects as being a narrator in the 2005 documentary film "Magnificent Desolation: Walking on The Moon 3D," an actor in 2007's "The Simpsons Movie," and many characters in "The Polar Express," to name just a few.

Tom Hanks made his directorial debut

After many years of gracing the big screen, Tom Hanks soon decided he had just as much talent to offer behind the scenes. In 1996, the actor made his directorial debut with "That Thing You Do!" — a comedy flick that chronicled the life of a famous pop rock band. "I was always fascinated by [rock group] Jan and Dean when I was growing up in high school," Hanks told The Ringer of his inspiration for the movie. "The concept of a band that stays together long enough to make it through their first tour and breaks up, I thought it was just so real." At the box office, "The Thing You Do!" did okay, grossing over $25 million in domestic numbers, as listed by Box Office Mojo.

With his impressive entry into the directing scene, Hanks only further cemented the idea that he is a man of many talents. But it was not until many years later that he would wear his directing hat again. In 2011 — nearly two decades after his directorial debut — Hanks found himself behind the camera yet again for "Larry Crowne," a romantic comedy where he starred opposite actors Julia Roberts, Roxana Ortega, and Bryan Cranston, per IMDb. Along with acting in and directing "Larry Crowne," Hanks also served as a writer and producer on the movie. Although his directorial efforts have been few and far between, we hope he'll make a return to behind the camera soon.  

Two completely opposite roles earned Tom Hanks even more success

There were years when Tom Hanks had a few hit movies come out at once, and 1998 was definitely one of them. That year, Hanks showed off his versatility, starring in both "You've Got Mail" and "Saving Private Ryan," which are on totally opposite ends of the spectrum. "You've Got Mail" was special for the actor because it meant a reunion with Meg Ryan. The same year, he starred in one of his most famous movies of all time, the World War II epic, "Saving Private Ryan."

According to NBC News, "Saving Private Ryan" was a box office smash, earning $481.8 million, in addition to five Oscars. Hanks even went through boot camp to star in the film, giving him a taste of what it would be like to be in the conditions that he was put in during the film. "The legend of it now is that we were out in the freezing cold woods for ... weeks and weeks. I think it was really only five days," Hanks recalled. "When a fake ambush happens at three in the morning, and gets you up out of your tent, your adrenaline gets pumping." During the late '90s, he appeared in a few other smashes like "The Green Mile." His role as Paul Edgecomb in that film will forever be one of his most memorable performances.

Tom Hanks remained extremely busy in the early 2000s

The '90s might have been a good era for Tom Hanks, but this, as it now appears, was only the beginning of a rather impressive and successful career. In 2000's "Cast Away," Hanks portrayed the role of Chuck Noland, a FedEx analyst who must go through the hurdle of fending for himself on a deserted island after the plane he was on crashed into the ocean. With the role so excellently delivered, Hanks earned himself a Golden Globe award as well as an Oscar nomination — both in the Best Actor category, per IMDb.  But while this film brought some great rewards, it took a heavy toll on Hanks. "It was a burden," he told Entertainment Weekly of his many solo scenes. "And it was a burden because I knew when the time came there wasn't going to be anyone else to work off of."

In the remaining years of the early aughts, Hanks continued to be cast in more films, including Sam Mendes' "Road to Perdition" and Steven Spielberg's 2002 crime comedy flick "Catch Me If You Can," where he acted alongside "Titanic" star Leonardo DiCaprio. Though he was initially not cast for the latter, Hanks has since revealed to Empire that he reached out to Spielberg after reading the script and asked to play Carl Hanratty, the FBI guy. The rest, as they say, is history.

Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson teamed up

There's Jay Z and Beyonce, there's Victoria Beckham and David Beckham, and then there's Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, a couple that has, through the years, wormed their way into all of our hearts. But when Hanks and Wilson are not serving couple goals, these two are teaming up to bring us some masterpieces. In 2002, Wilson and Hanks teamed up with Gary Goetzman to produce "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" — an independent romantic comedy that would later go on to become the highest-grossing romantic comedy of all time, per Entertainment Weekly. Given how well they worked together as co-producers, it's not surprising to learn that, only a few years later, the couple was at it again, this time co-executive producing the 2008 musical "Mamma Mia," according to Insider. In 2016, Wilson and Hanks also reprised their roles as co-producers for "My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2," a sequel to the 2002 release. 

Despite having very intertwined careers, this golden couple has hacked the secret to keeping their personal and work life separate. "[Movies are] our lives day in and day out. So, we really don't talk about it much," Hanks told ET, adding that, as much as he can, he tries to avoid his responsibilities as a producer. 

He acted out three Dan Brown stories

In 2006, Tom Hanks appeared in "The Da Vinci Code," the film adaptation of Dan Brown's 2003 novel of the same name. In the mystery thriller, Hanks portrayed lead character Robert Langdon. Though it was met with mixed reviews, "The Da Vinci Code" went on to become one of the highest-grossing movies of 2006, according to Box Office Mojo. Nearly three years later, Hanks reprised his role as Langdon in "Angels & Demons" — also adapted from Dan Brown's novel of the same name. But while "Angels & Demons" was not as commercially successful as "The Da Vinci Code," it did enough to warrant a sequel.  

In 2016, Hanks once again reprised his role in "Inferno," the third sequel of the Robert Langdon franchise. Speaking a few months after its release, Hanks shared that his favorite part of playing the fictional symbologist was getting a chance to be smart. "The gift that Dan Brown gave me as an actor is to play a guy who's always curious, who's always opinionated and who's always searching for an answer," he told Reuters. But while there was an upside to acting in the franchise, Hanks was not particularly pleased with the quality of the films. In a June 2022 interview with The New York Times, Hanks described the movies as "hooey," adding that they were really nothing except a commercial enterprise.

He got a diet-changing medical diagnosis

During a 2013 appearance on the "The Late Show with David Letterman," Tom Hanks revealed he had been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes after experiencing high blood sugar for over 20 years. "I went to the doctor, and he said, 'You know those high blood sugar numbers you've been dealing with since you were 36? Well, you've graduated! You've got type 2 diabetes, young man,'" Hanks said. Per medical advice, the star's diagnosis could have been avoided if he went back to what he weighed as a teenager, but this, Hanks concluded, was impossible to achieve.

He would, however, later express regret over his action, noting that he could have indeed benefited from losing some weight. "I was heavy. You've seen me in movies, you know what I looked like. I was a total idiot," he said on Radio Times (via Today). "I thought I could avoid it by removing the buns from my cheeseburgers."

Tom Hanks became a citizen of Greece

American by birth, but Greek by heart, Tom Hanks has proven time and again that Greece holds a special place in his heart, and we can't exactly say we're surprised, According to Billboard, Hank's wife, Rita Wilson, was born in America, but is in fact of Greek descent from her mother's side. Upon their marriage in 1988, Hanks joined the Greek Orthodox Church and has since remained in the faith. Given Wilson's ties to Greece, it is no surprise that she and Hanks have extended their professional and personal lives to the country. For instance, their 2002 movie, "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," and 2008 musical, "Mamma Mia," were both set in Greece, per NBC News. The Daily Mail also reported that the couple owns a villa on the island of Antiparos, where they stay during their annual trip to the country.

When they are not shooting films or vacationing in Greece, Hanks and Wilson use their fame to influence relief efforts for citizens of the country. Per the BBC, following the 2018 wildfire that left dozens dead in a town near Athens, the couple organized a fundraiser for victims. In 2020, as appreciation for their efforts, the Greek government offered the iconic actors and their kids Greek citizenship. Of course, Hanks couldn't be more excited about his new country. "I've been around the world, I've been in the most beautiful places in the world; none of them tops Greece!" Hanks gushed.

His highly publicized COVID-19 diagnosis

In March 2020, while the world was still coming to terms with the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, Tom Hanks revealed he and his wife, Rita Wilson, had been diagnosed with the virus while they were in Australia. "We felt a bit tired like we had colds, and some body aches," he wrote in an Instagram post. "Rita had some chills that came and went. Slight fevers too." According to USA Today, the couple was subsequently admitted to a hospital, where they received treatment before flying back to the United States. "Hey, folks...we're home now and, like the rest of America, we carry on with sheltering in place and social distancing," Hanks tweeted in part at the time, while thanking fans for their well wishes.

Recounting his COVID-19 experience to The Guardian a few months later, the "Forrest Gump" actor explained that he suffered a lot of discomfort, which lasted only about two weeks. "I had crippling body aches, I was very fatigued all the time and I couldn't concentrate on anything for more than about 12 minutes," he said. After testing negatively for the virus, doctors confirmed that Hanks and Wilson were carrying antibodies, leading to the couple donating their blood for research, per NPR. By July, however, Hanks confirmed that the antibodies were fading away.

Saturday Night Live ... and some more

Following a long hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, "Saturday Night Live" returned in April 2020 with a virtual episode that had Tom Hanks hosting from his home. "I have been the celebrity canary in the coal mine for the coronavirus, and ever since being diagnosed I have been more like America's dad than ever before," he joked during his monologue. "No one wants to be around me very long and I make people uncomfortable."

Despite the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, Hanks had a good 2020, with two major acting credits to his name. In July, "Greyhound" — a war flick that saw Hanks in the lead role as Commander Ernest Krause — was released on Apple TV+, per Deadline. Later in December, Paul Greengrass's "News of the World" — a Western drama — was also released, as reported by Variety. Hanks starred as the titular character in 2021's "Finch" and in 2022 came "Elvis" — the much-anticipated biopic of rock & roll legend Elvis Presley, where Hanks portrayed the singer's manager.

With a career spanning several decades, Hanks will always be a great example of what consistency and hard work looks like. And the best part? His career is nowhere near over. Tom Hanks is simply not done yet — in fact, he might just be getting started.