About this Famous Person
American actor, producer, writer and director
Source : Tim DOWLING
Hanks was born in Concord, California. His father, Amos Mefford Hanks (born in Glenn County, California, on March 9, 1924 – died in Alameda, California, on January 31, 1992), was a distant relative of President Abraham Lincoln, through Lincoln's mother, Nancy Hanks. His mother, Janet Marylyn (née Frager; born in Alameda County, California, on January 18, 1932), was a hospital worker; she is of Portuguese ancestry. Hanks's parents divorced in 1960. The family's three oldest children, Sandra (now Sandra Hanks Benoiton, a writer), Larry (now Lawrence M. Hanks, PhD, an entomology professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) and Tom, went with their father, while the youngest, Jim, now an actor and film maker, remained with his mother in Red Bluff, California. Afterwards, both parents remarried. Hanks's first stepmother came to the marriage with five children of her own. Hanks once told Rolling Stone: "Everybody in my family likes each other. But there were always about 50 people at the house. I didn't exactly feel like an outsider, but I was sort of outside it." That marriage ended in divorce after two years.
Amos Hanks became a single parent, working long hours and often leaving the children to fend for themselves, an exercise in self-reliance that served the siblings well. In addition to having a family history of Catholicism and Mormonism, Hanks was a "Bible-toting evangelical teenager" for several years. In school, Hanks was unpopular with students and teachers alike, later telling Rolling Stone magazine: "I was a geek, a spaz. I was horribly, painfully, terribly shy. At the same time, I was the guy who'd yell out funny captions during filmstrips. But I didn't get into trouble. I was always a real good kid and pretty responsible." In 1965, Amos Hanks married Frances Wong, a San Francisco native of Chinese descent. Frances had three children, two of whom lived with Tom during his high years. Tom acted in school plays, including South Pacific, while attending Skyline High School in Oakland, California.
Hanks studied theater at Chabot College in Hayward, California, and after two years, transferred to California State University, Sacramento. Hanks told The New York Times: "Acting classes looked like the best place for a guy who liked to make a lot of noise and be rather flamboyant. I spent a lot of time going to plays. I wouldn't take dates with me. I'd just drive to a theater, buy myself a ticket, sit in the seat, and read the program, and then get into the play completely. I spent a lot of time like that, seeing Bertolt Brecht, Tennessee Williams, Henrik Ibsen, and all that, and now look at me, acting is my job. I wouldn't have it any other way."
During his years studying theater, Hanks met Vincent Dowling, head of the Great Lakes Theater Festival in Cleveland, Ohio. At Dowling's suggestion, Hanks became an intern at the Festival. His internship stretched into a three-year experience that covered most aspects of theater production, including lighting, set design, and stage management, all of which caused Hanks to drop out of college. During the same time, Hanks won the Cleveland Critics Circle Award for Best Actor for his 1978 performance as Proteus in Shakespeare's The Two Gentlemen of Verona, one of the few times he played a villain.