10 Things You Might Not Know About Tom Hanks

Here are 10 facts about Hanks proving that his life really is like a box of chocolates.

Christopher Polk/Getty Images for People's Choice Awards

Videos by Rare

Videos by Rare

From Forrest Gump to Mr. Rogers, from Sully to Colonel Tom Parker, Tom Hanks (a.k.a. “America’s Dad”) is practically synonymous with cinema.

Some of Tom Hanks’ most unforgettable moments onscreen include him yelling at an inanimate object he calls “Wilson,” sitting on a park bench and offering candies from a box in his lap, and trying to have scored with a mermaid.

But all kidding aside, there’s actually a lot about the ubiquitous Tom Hanks that you probably don’t know. With that in mind, here are 10 facts about Hanks proving that his life really is like a box of chocolates.

Think you know everything about Tom Hanks? Not too fast …

1. He Likes Trivia Games So Much That He’s in One

The actor launched a trivia game on Apple Arcade two weeks ago. “Play, learn, compete and become a trivia master with ‘Hanx 101 Trivia,’ created and developed in partnership with actor and filmmaker Tom Hanks,” Apple said in a statement about the game.

2. Tom Hanks’ Favorite Sandwich Is …

In January 2021, Hanks appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert after he shaved his head for the role of Colonel Tom Parker in Elvis. He also participated on the Late Show segment The Colbert Questionnaire. During the exchange, Hanks revealed that his favorite sandwich is ham on Swiss with lettuce and mustard — but no tomato.

3. Rita Wilson Isn’t the Only Woman with Whom Tom Hanks Exchanged Vows.

In 1978, Hanks and his then-wife Samantha Lewes tied the knot. They had two children together: Colin, born in 1977; and Elizabeth, born in 1982. Hanks and Lewes divorced in 1987. The following year, he married actress Rita Wilson — but, before doing so, converted to her faith: Greek Orthodox. They have two children together as well.

4. There’s No Crying in Baseball — But There’s Tons of It in Philadelphia 

There might be no crying in baseball, as Manager Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks) scolds his female players in A League of Their Own. But there’s plenty of crying in Hanks movies. The most obvious example is Philadelphia, one of most heartbreaking films of all time. It’s actually such a sobfest, pointing to just one … or two … or three scenes is futile.

5. He Only Has Two Oscars Under His Belt

Binge-watching Tom Hanks movies that had Oscar potential would take weeks. But astonishingly, his awards collection only includes two trophies for best actor. His work in 1993’s Philadelphia earned him the prize, as did 1994’s Forrest Gump. However, Hanks did manage to break a record with the two honors. Only one other actor — Spencer Tracy — received the best actor prize in consecutive years.

6. He Accidentally Spilled at the Oscars, and It Wasn’t Liquid

Even the most beloved American actor can make mistakes like the rest of us. But an error Tom Hanks made after winning one of his Oscars is hard to top. During his acceptance speech, he thanks “two of the finest gay Americans” — his high school drama teacher and an old classmate. Hanks either forgot or didn’t know they were still in the closet.

7. He Could Have Played Doctor Who. Well, Maybe, at Least

Scottish actor Peter Capaldi — best known as the 12th incarnation of Doctor Who — supposedly petitioned for Tom Hanks to come onboard the show. Hanks, however, wasn’t into the idea. “That would’ve been a blast, but that’s all, that’s all scheduling I guess,” Hanks said on a movie podcast. “Can’t do every job. And honestly, me as Doctor Who — can you imagine? Can you imagine the outrage? I’m an American, and I’m gonna go over, and I’m gonna jump in that you know, red telephone box, and you know, and either wear a scarf and whatever it is.”

8. He Used to Be a Bellhop — Not Onscreen, but in Real Life.

Tom Hanks was the featured unannounced guest on the podcast SmartLess almost a year ago. Hanks and the program’s hosts — actors Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, and Sean Hayes — teased and grilled each other to delightful results. Hanks also opened up about his time working as a bellhop at Oakland, California airport. It’s safe to assume that he and Tom Cruise, who also as “bellhop” on his résumé, swapped stories at least once.

9. He Has Many Secrets — Including Some Very Dark Ones

In a Late Night With Conan O’Brien bit called Hanks Secrets, in which Hanks stares into the camera with a jail-like cement wall behind him and a bottle of Jack Daniel’s within arm’s reach.

“The 1998 Oscars, I found myself in the bathroom in a stall next to Tom Selleck, Hanks “confessed. “So I leaned over, and I said, ‘It looks like we’re a couple of peeing Toms!’ His angry silence is something I’ll never forget.”

10. Tom Hanks Got Hoodwinked Into Starring in Apollo 13.

In another Hanks Secrets segment, the actor said he wanted to play the best rival/ best friend of Rocky Balboa.

“When I agreed to make Apollo 13, I was under the impression that I would be playing Apollo Creed from Rocky!” Hanks shouts.

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