Tom Hanks Biography


Claim to Fame: Actor
DOB: September 7, 1956
Diabetes Type: 2

Quote: "Yeah! I got type-two diabetes! I'm sure there's going to be some media scandal now, saying I got it because I gained and lost weight for movie parts or something."


Thomas Jeffrey "Tom" Hanks was born in Concord, California on September 7, 1956 to parents Amos and Janet Hanks. Due to an unstable marriage, Amos and Janet divorced, and thus began a whirlwind of new marriages and siblings. Finally, the family, with its newest stepmother, settled in Oakland, California, and Hanks began high school. It was during this time that he found an interest in acting, and even won an award in 1974 honoring his exceptional talents. After high school, Hanks started university at Chabot College, majoring in theatre, but he later transferred to California State University.

Hanks was an ambitious youth, and persevered to find roles in university theatre productions. One director, Vincent Dowling, was taken with Hanks' abilities and invited him to participate in a Shakespearean festival in Cleveland, Ohio. Performing in both "The Taming of the Shrew" and "The Gentleman of Verona", Hanks earned himself an award from the Cleveland Critics Circle.

Early Career

After his success in Cleveland, Hanks and his girlfriend, Samantha Lewes, moved to try his luck in New York City. A short time of struggling led to Hanks' TV debut in a movie entitled "He Knows You're Alone." Subsequently, he landed another role in another TV movie "Mazes and Monsters."

By 1980, Hanks and Lewes had moved back to California, and he was featured on the sitcom "Bosom Buddies." After the show ended, he landed roles on a variety of other shows, most notably "Happy Days," where he met the infamous Ron Howard. Though Howard's role as Richie Cunningham was well received, he began a career as a director shortly thereafter. Howard asked Hanks to audition for a small role in his 1984 film "Splash," but Hanks ended up taking a lead role, alongside Daryl Hannah.

Success Story

Though "Splash" was a hit, his subsequent performances were not successful. After a time of ups and downs and an end to his marriage with Lewes, Hanks married Rita Wilson in 1988 and began his successful journey in the world of film. Some of Hanks most notable films included "A League of the Their Own" (1992), "Sleepless in Seattle" (1993), "Philadelphia" (1993), "Forrest Gump" (1994), "Toy Story" (1995), "Apollo 13" (1995), "You've Got Mail" (1998), and "Saving Private Ryan" (1998). Both "Philadelphia" and "Forrest Gump" earned him two Oscars for Best Actor, which he won consecutively. The success of "Saving Private Ryan," directed by the legendary Stephen Spielberg, led to awards for both Hanks and Spielberg. Hanks was awarded a Distinguished Public Service Award from the United States Navy, and Spielberg took and Oscar for Best Director. The film brought the two together, and led to a partnership in the launch of "Band of Brothers," a pivotal TV series based on the film. The series was an instant success.

Another line of success followed Hanks, with his performances in "The Green Mile" (1999), "Toy Story 2" (1999), "Cast Away" (2000), "Road to Perdition" (2002), "Catch Me If You Can" (2002), "The Terminal" (2004), and "The Polar Express" (2004). "The Da Vinci Code" (2006) was Hanks' next role, which boasted $758 million at the box office.

Hanks' career continued on, as he starred in films such as "Charlie Wilson's War" (2007), "The Great Buck Howard" (2008), and "Angels and Demons" (2009). He also went on to produce and direct a number of films and miniseries.

He recently appeared in "Captain Phillips" (2013) and was nominated for a Golden Globe.


Hanks was a guest on The Late Show with David Letterman on Monday, October 7, 2013, to promote his new film "Captain Phillips." However, it was also a chance for Hanks to reveal his latest diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. Hanks, in all his humorous glory, said to Letterman, "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!" He described his condition as "controllable," and will maintain his health through diet and exercise.

Find more entertainers with diabetes.

Reviewed by dLife staff 5/14.

Last Modified Date: May 02, 2014

All content on is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.
  1. Ehrich Dowd, Kathy. "Tom Hanks Reveals Type 2 Diabetes Diagnosis to David Letterman." . (Accessed 10/8/13)
  2. Ehrich Dowd, Kathy. "Tom Hanks Reveals Type 2 Diabetes Diagnosis to David Letterman." . (Accessed 10/8/13)
  3. "Tom Hanks Biography." The Biography Channel. .(Accessed 10/8/13).

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by Brenda Bell
As I mentioned in an earlier post, one of the benefits that made it cost-effective for me to go with the real healthcare (HSA) plan rather than the phony (HRA) plan is that my company is now covering "preventative" medicines at $0 copay. The formulary for these, as stated by CVS/Caremark (my pharmacy benefits provider), covers all test strips, lancets, and control solutions. I dutifully get my doctor to write up prescriptions for all of my testing needs, submit...
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