The asteroid "12818 tomhanks" was named after him.
He is a third cousin, four generations removed, of former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln. Their common ancestor is John Hanks (1680 - 1740), who was the great-great-grandfather of Lincoln, and the great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather of Tom Hanks. It is commonly (albeit incorrectly) reported that they are fourth cousins, four times removed, but Thomas Hanks (b. 1819) and Abraham Lincoln were both great-great-grandchildren of John Hanks, making them third cousins. Tom Hanks was Thomas Hanks' great-great-grandson, making his relation to Abraham Lincolns four generations removed.
Born to Amos Mefford Hanks, a chef, and his wife Janet Marylyn Frager, a hospital worker, his parents divorced in 1960.
Is a fan of "Doctor Who" (1963).
Stepson of the former Frances Wong, whom his father married in 1965.
His top five all-time favorite films are 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), The Godfather (1972), Fargo (1996), Elephant (2003) and Boogie Nights (1997), with Stanley Kubrick's film holding the top ranking.
After a one-shot guest appearance on "Happy Days" (1974), producer Ron Howard asked him to read for a secondary part in Splash (1984), and he got the lead instead.
Is a frequent guest host on "Saturday Night Live" (1975).
Father, with first wife Samantha Lewes, of Colin Hanks (born on 24 November 1977) and Elizabeth Hanks (born on 17 May 1982).
Has also credited Joe Spano, former co-star of the TV series "Hill Street Blues" (1981), as being another of his most important early inspirations.
Auditioned for the role of Joel in Risky Business (1983), which eventually went to Tom Cruise.
In three of his movies, he has had a scene where he is stranded at sea: Splash (1984), Joe Versus the Volcano (1990), and Cast Away (2000).
His performance as Josh Baskin in Big (1988) is ranked #15 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).
Father, with Rita Wilson, of Chet Hanks (born on 4 August 1990) and Truman Theodore (born on 26 December 1995).
Was considered for the role of Peter Banning (Peter Pan) in Hook (1991).
Hanks cited the help of a nearby ice cream shop which helped him gain 30 pounds for his role in A League of Their Own (1992).
Biography in: "Who's Who in Comedy" by Ronald L. Smith, pg. 205-206. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387
Returned to his old high school, Skyline High School in Oakland, California, to dedicate a renovated theater named for Rawley T. Farnsworth, the retired drama teacher he thanked in his Philadelphia (1993) Oscar speech. Oakland Tribune reports Hanks donated about 1/4 of the $465,000 cost of the project. Then he led the audience of some 1000 people in a chorus of "There's No Business Like Show Business" (6 March 2002).
Has worked with two actors who played Howard Hughes. In Philadelphia (1993), he worked with Jason Robards, who played Hughes in Melvin and Howard (1980) for director Jonathan Demme. His cast mate in Catch Me If You Can (2002) was Leonardo DiCaprio, who played Hughes in The Aviator (2004) for Martin Scorsese.
He and actress Meg Ryan have been co-stars in three movies as love interests: Sleepless in Seattle (1993), Joe Versus the Volcano (1990) and You've Got Mail (1998).
Second actor to win back-to-back Best Actor Oscars, for his work in Philadelphia (1993) and Forrest Gump (1994). The first was Spencer Tracy, for Captains Courageous (1937) and Boys Town (1938).
His Oscar acceptance speech for 1993's Philadelphia (1993) led to the plot of the movie In & Out (1997). Hanks thanked a gay teacher in his speech.
Lost 30 lbs. for his role in Philadelphia (1993).
His heroic Oscar-winning gay character Andrew Beckett in the 1993 film Philadelphia (1993) was ranked #49 on the Amerian Film Institute's heroes list of the 100 years of The Greatest Screen Heroes and Villians.
Between 1994 and 2004, he was the performer nominated for the most Academy Awards (four times, along with Sean Penn, Meryl Streep, Judi Dench and Ed Harris) and won the most (twice).
His performance as Forrest Gump in Forrest Gump (1994) is ranked #43 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.
Is the third most-represented actor (behind Sidney Poitier and Gary Cooper) on the American Film Institute's 100 Most Inspiring Movies of All Time, with four of his films making the list. They are: Forrest Gump (1994) at #37, Philadelphia (1993) at #20, Apollo 13 (1995) at #12, and Saving Private Ryan (1998) at #10.
Jim Lovell, whom Hanks played in Apollo 13 (1995), is actually left-handed, but Hanks refused to write with his left hand for the movie.
Voted best actor by the readers of "Us" magazine (1995).
Was asked to play the title role in Jerry Maguire (1996).
Ranked #17 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list (October 1997).
Received the Distinguished Public Service Award, the U. S. Navy's highest civilian honor, on Veterans Day 1999 for his work in the movie Saving Private Ryan (1998).
Had made three films with director Steven Spielberg, all of which are tied to Europe. Saving Private Ryan (1998) revolved around his character and his infantry unit seeking out a missing private in Europe during WW II. Catch Me If You Can (2002) involved his character tracking down Frank Abagnale Jr. in France and in The Terminal (2004), his character was from the fictional eastern European country of Krakohzia.
Received emergency treatment for serious staph infection in leg after returning from overseas location shoot (1999).
Forbes magazine estimated his 1999 earnings at $71.5 million.
Is a fan of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (1999), and has expressed desire to one day guest star on the show.
Gained and later lost 50 lbs. for his role in Cast Away (2000).
His performance as Chuck Noland in Cast Away (2000) is ranked #46 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).
Has been Member of the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Actors Branch) since 2001.
Dislocated his shoulder when he fell through a rotting floor in a building in Germany while scouting locations with Steven Spielberg for the HBO series "Band of Brothers" (2001) (1999).
Shortly before the release of Columbia Pictures' Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001), he was one of several actors speaking out against the use of "synthespians" (computer-generated actors) in the place of flesh-and-blood humans. Nevertheless, he took the lead role in the computer-animated film The Polar Express (2004), a film highly-publicized for its use of new (and expensive) technique of digital actors.
Received American Film Institute's Life Achievement Award, presented by fellow Oscar winner Steven Spielberg, the youngest ever to receive that award (12 June 2002).
Cited as America's Favorite Movie Star in Harris Polls conducted in 2002, 2004, 2005, a record number of times as the #1 favorite. Harrison Ford and Clint Eastwood are the only other actors to have achieved that feat.
Was originally cast in the dual role of "Charlie Kaufman/Donald Kaufman" in Adaptation. (2002), but later dropped out. Nicolas Cage, who went on to receive a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his performance, was cast instead.
Ranked #1 on Star TV's Top Ten Box Office stars of the 1990s (2003)
Ranked #13 in Premiere's 2003 annual Power 100 List. Had ranked #15 in 2002.
Is a die hard Oakland Raiders fan. Featured in the documentary Rebels of Oakland: The A's, the Raiders, the '70s (2003) (TV).
Was listed as a potential nominee on both the 2005 and 2007 Razzie Award nominating ballots. He was suggested in the Worst Actor category on the 2005 ballot for his roles in the films The Polar Express (2004) (referred to as "Bi-Polar Express" on the ballot), The Ladykillers (2004) and The Terminal (2004). He was suggested again in the Worst Actor category two years later, for his performance in The Da Vinci Code (2006). He failed receive either nomination.
Premiere Magazine ranked him as #28 on a list of the Greatest Movie Stars of All Time in their Stars in Our Constellation feature (2005).
Ranked #16 on Premiere's 2006 "Power 50" list. Had ranked #16 in 2005 as well.
Biography/bibliography in: "Contemporary Authors". Volume 244, pages 199-202. Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale, 2006.
In 2007, Forbes Magazine reported that his earnings were estimated to be $74 million the previous year.
He once shared a record (with Tom Cruise and Will Smith) as the actor to star in the most consecutive $100 million-grossing movies (7). As of 2008, Smith holds the record alone with 8 movies.
Publicly endorsed Senator Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election.
When he appeared on "The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien" (2009), Conan's last NBC show in L.A. (Jan. 22, 2010), the Tonight Show Band played The Beatles' "Lovely Rita" as Hanks made his entry, undoubtedly a nod to the lovely Rita Wilson, Tom's beloved wife.
Has one granddaughter, Olivia Jane Hanks (b. 1 February 2011), via his son Colin Hanks.