355. Tom Hanks: A Great American Actor

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One of the most well-respected actors in Hollywood today is Tom Hanks. He is one of the most popular actors among American film, and television viewers. He has gained great success as a film actor, having starred in some of the greatest movies of his generation. He starred in films such as Splash, Forrest Gump, Philadelphia, Apollo 13, Cast Away, The Green Mile, Saving Private Ryan, and Big.

Born in Concord, California in 1956, Hanks began his career in television in the popular TV show Bosom Buddies, where he plays a man living in a women's dormitory. In order to live among the women, he and his roommate must dress in women's clothing during the evening hours after arriving from work. This series ran for three years and made Hanks a legitimate star.

Hanks reached film stardom in Splash, which was a very popular love story involving Hanks as a frustrated bachelor, and a mermaid. The movie launched his film career that featured Hanks in mostly comedic roles. Hanks would probably always be known as a comedic actor if he did not star in his share of dramatic roles. He played a former baseball star in A League of their Own, and a romantic lead in the popular Sleepless in Seattle. In 1993, Hanks won an Academy Award for his portrayal as a displaced worker who gets fired from his job because he contracts AIDS in the film Philadelphia. He lost 35 lbs. for his role as the gay lawyer because he wanted to look sickly. Hanks followed his Oscar-winning performance in Philadelphia with a second Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in Forrest Gump. He became only the second actor to win the award in consecutive years.

Tom Hanks has used his celebrity status to address several causes, such as same-sex marriage, environmental issues, and the development of alternative fuels.

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