Thomas Jeffrey "Tom" Hanks (born July 9, 1956) is an American actor, producer, writer, and director. Hanks is known for his roles in Apollo 13, Big, That Thing You Do!, The Green Mile, You've Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle, Charlie Wilson's War, Catch Me If You Can, Forrest Gump, Cast Away, A League of Their Own, The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons, as well as animated films like the Toy Story film series, The Polar Express, and The Simpsons Movie.
Clip from Forrest Gump
In 1979, Hanks moved to New York City, where he made his film debut in the low-budget slasher film He Knows You're Alone (1980) and got a part in the television movie Mazes and Monsters. Early in 1979, Hanks was cast in the lead role of Callimaco in the Riverside Shakespeare Company's production of Niccolò Machiavelli's The Mandrake, directed by Daniel Southern. As a high profile Off Off Broadway showcase, the production helped Tom land an agent, Joe Ohla with the J. Michael Bloom Agency. The next year, Hanks landed a lead role on the ABC television pilot of Bosom Buddies, playing the role of Kip Wilson. Hanks moved to Los Angeles, where he and Peter Scolari played a pair of young advertising men forced to dress as women so they could live in an inexpensive all-female hotel. Hanks had previously partnered with Scolari in the 1970s game show Make Me Laugh. Bosom Buddies ran for two seasons, and, although the ratings were never strong, television critics gave the program high marks. "The first day I saw him on the set," co-producer Ian Praiser told Rolling Stone, "I thought, 'Too bad he won't be in television for long.' I knew he'd be a movie star in two years." But if Praiser knew it, he was not able to convince Hanks. "The television show had come out of nowhere," best friend Tom Lizzio told Rolling Stone. "Then out of nowhere it got canceled. He figured he'd be back to pulling ropes and hanging lights in a theater."
Bosom Buddies and a guest appearance on a 1982 episode of Happy Days ("A Case of Revenge," where he played a disgruntled former classmate of The Fonz) prompted director Ron Howard to contact Hanks. Howard was working on Splash (1984), a romantic comedy fantasy about a mermaid who falls in love with a human. At first, Howard considered Hanks for the role of the main character's wisecracking brother, a role that eventually went to John Candy. Instead, Hanks got the lead role and a career boost from Splash, which went on to become a box office hit, grossing more than US$69 million. He also had a sizable hit with the sex comedy Bachelor Party, also in 1984.
In 1983–84, Hanks made three guest appearances on Family Ties as Elyse Keaton's alcoholic brother, Ned Donnelly.