Tom Hanks is in theaters this Thanksgiving weekend with A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, in which the beloved actor plays the beloved children’s entertaining, Mr. Rogers. The casting is almost too perfect: They got the nicest guy in Hollywood to play arguably one of the nicest guys in the history of the entertainment biz. In fact, Taffy Brodesser-Akner wrote for the NYTimes that Hanks may even have a problem come Oscar time because there is a “notion that Tom Hanks isn’t acting when he was playing Mister Rogers”; he’s just playing his nice-guy self.
Whether he wins his first Oscar in 18 years or not is moot. He’s still admired and loved by millions of fans throughout the world. However, despite a career that spans around 40 years, there are still things that fans of actor don’t know about Hanks, or the man that Sally Field calls “Once in a lifetime Tom.”
1. It’s kismet that Tom Hanks is playing Mr. Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, because not only are the two distant cousins, but Tom Hanks was Fred Rogers’ favorite actor. According to Rogers’ wife, he watched Forrest Gump over 40 times.
2. Tom Hanks was paid $800 to act in his feature debut, the low-budget slasher, He Knows You’re Alone. He was supposed to be killed off in the film, but the director liked Hanks so much that he let the character live.
3. Hanks reportedly only earned $50,000 for doing voice work on Toy Story, although there was some risk involved, since it was Pixar’s very first feature film. He reportedly earned significantly more in the sequels. Hanks biggest pay day, however, was Forrest Gump. After the film ran over budget, Hanks gave up his salary in exchange for a percentage of the box office. It worked out for him to the tune of $60 million. He also earned around $40 million after taking a percentage on Saving Private Ryan.
4. Tom Hanks has always remained grounded, but the significant jump in earnings certainly changed the lives of his children. In a podcast last year, Tom’s son, Colin, noted that “there is a very definitive line in my father’s career where things just became stratospheric, and very different,” and that was after Forrest Gump. Colin was already 17 years old at the time (and living with his father only part time after the divorce of his mother and Hanks), so he and his older sister, Elizabeth, had a very different experience growing up as the son of Tom Hanks than his younger siblings, Chet Hanks and Truman Hanks.
5. Speaking of family members, Tom Hanks has a younger brother named Jim Hanks. Jim does the voice work for Sheriff Woody in all the Toy Story spin-offs and video games. He was also the voice of Geoffrey the Giraffe in the Toys “R” Us commercials back in 2001. The best thing about Jim Hanks, however, is that he played Dr. Turner on Scrubs and he was paired with Dr. Hooch, i.e., Turner and Hooch.
6. And speaking of Turner & Hooch, everyone seems to love Tom Hanks! That is, except for Henry Winkler, who is apparently in a long-running feud with Hanks, dating back to Turner & Hooch. Henry Winkler was brought in to direct Turner & Hooch, but he was fired from the film 13 days into the shoot. Winkler won’t comment on his relationship with Hanks, but he did note that he “loved the dog.”
7. In addition to Jim, Tom Hanks has two other siblings, as well. Larry Hanks is an entomology professor at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He also has a sister named Sandra.
8. Tom Hanks was briefly attached to play Luigi in the box-office bomb, Super Mario Bros. Ironically, Hanks was dropped from the movie after a string of box-office disappointments (The Bonfire of the Vanities, Joe vs. the Volcano). The year that Super Mario Bros. was released, Hanks did Sleepless in Seattle and A League of Their Own, instead. It worked out well for Hanks.
9. Every other year, Tom Hanks gets together with Martin Short and Steve Martin for a “colonoscopy party,” where the three play poker, watch a movie, and evacuate their bowels ahead of the procedure.
10. In 1987, Tom Hanks made a moderately successful movie version of Dragnet with Dan Aykroyd. Honestly, the movie is mostly forgettable. What is not forgettable is the music video that Hanks and Aykroyd made to promote their film, which was choreographed by Paula Abdul. It’s insane, but Hanks does not hold back.
Nearly 30 years later, Graham Norton resurfaced the video. Hanks says it haunts him. However, he actually managed to reproduce parts of the rap nearly 30 years later, noting that his kids torture him with the video occasionally.