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H Entries
Earl Hamner, Jr.
Tom Hanks
Jonathan Harris
George Harrison
Ray Harryhausen
Byron Haskin
Howard Hawks
Ben Hecht
David Hedison
Robert A. Heinlein
Charlton Heston
Sir Alfred Hitchcock
Inoshiro Honda
Ron Howard
Rock Hudson
Gale Anne Hurd
Martha Hyer
 
HANKS, TOM
(Thomas Jeffrey Hanks 1956– ). American actor, director, and producer.

SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY, AND HORROR FILM CREDITS
Acted in: Mazes and Monsters (Steven Hillard Stern 1982); Splash (Ron HOWARD 1984); Big (Penny Marshall 1988); Radio Flyer (Richard DONNER 1992); "None but the Lonely Heart" (and directed) (1992), episode of Tales from the Crypt; Forrest Gump (Robert ZEMECKIS 1994); Apollo 13 (Howard 1995); The Green Mile (Frank Darabont 1999); The Da Vinci Code (Howard 2006); The Great Buck Howard (and produced) (Sean McGinly 2008); Angels & Demons (Howard 2009);  Cloud Atlas (Andy WACHOWSKI, Tom Tykwer, and Lana WACHOWSKI 2012).

Provided voice for animation: Toy Story (John Lasseter 1995); Toy Story Activity Center (video game) (Colin Brady 1995); Toy Story II (Lasseter 1999); The Polar Express (and produced) (Zemeckis 2005); Cars (Lasseter and Joe Ranft 2006); Toy Story 3 (Lee Unkrich 2010); Hawaiian Vacation (short) (Gary Rydstrom 2011); Small Fry (short) (Angus  MacLane 2011); Partysaurus Rex (short) (Mark A. Walsh 2012).

Narrated: Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D (and co-wrote with Mark Cowen and Christopher G. Cowen) (and produced) (documentary short) (Mark Cowen 2005).

Co-wrote, co-directed, produced, and appeared in: From the Earth to the Moon (tv miniseries) (1997).

Produced: The Ant Bully (animated) (John A. Davis 2006); Evan Almighty (Tom Shadyac 2007); Where the Wild Things Are (Spike Jonze 2009).

 
Upon hearing that beloved film icon Tom Hanks will soon be starring as beloved film icon Walt DISNEY, one has to wonder: is it possible for audiences to overdose on sheer likability? Surely, Hanks stands with Disney and only a few others, like Jimmy Stewart and Jack NICHOLSON, as the film performers who have singularly garnered the almost unlimited affection of audiences everywhere, and Hanks may exceed them all with his astounding power to communicate via his performances that he is, really, a really nice guy. True, Hanks is willing to occasionally play against his image, and even volunteered to portray two despicable scoundrels in Cloud Atlas, but filmgoers knew that he was only play-acting as the sinister Henry Goose and brutal Dermot Higgins, while his genuine benevolence was shining through when performing as nerdish scientist Isaac Sachs and righteous goatherd Jachry. Of course, none of us actually know Tom Hanks, who may be a duplicitous bastard in real life, but his genius consists in persuading us otherwise every time he strides on to a soundstage.

Hanks became a star by repeatedly demonstrating that he was single-handedly capable of transforming sure-fire flops into popular successes by the sheer force of his personality; for inept, ill-conceived farces like the television series Bosom Buddies (1980-1982), Splash, Big, and Forrest Gump would have instantly collapsed with any other actor in the leading role. Even his voice alone was powerful enough to turn Toy Story into one of the most durable and profitable franchises in the history of animation. Here, then, is an actor who actually earns every single one of the millions of dollars he is paid for each film. True, even Hanks's remarkable appeal could not rescue follies like The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990) or Robert ZEMECKIS's The Polar Express, but Hollywood happily forgives such lapses, confident that his next project will again attract audiences as long as he receives even a minimal bit of assistance from the script.

Since one aspect of his appeal is a self-effacing modesty, it is only appropriate that Hanks has not attempted to aggressively control the direction of his career, content to adapt himself to the visions of other directors and only rarely sitting in the director's chair himself. The only cause he has visibly embraced is wholesome and thoroughly unobjectionable: the American space program, which this self-described space buff has celebrated as an actor, director, and/or producer in Apollo 13 (wherein nobody objected to the fact that he looked nothing at all like astronaut Jim Lovell), the miniseries From the Earth to the Moon, and the documentary Magnificent Desolation. One guesses that he is a Democrat, but it is hard to find this doggedly non-confrontational figure expressing political views on the record—which in a way is a shame, because one doesn't have to watch him in Charlie Wilson's War (2007) to recognize that he could be an unusually effective candidate. The only problem is that, while running for office, Hanks might feel pressured to say something bad about his opponent, and we all know that he never, ever wants to do anything nasty.

If you are looking for an objective appraisal of Hanks's skills as an actor, or as an occasional writer, director, and producer, you will have to look elsewhere, since I am as much enthralled by his charisma as anyone else. All one can say is that his career convincingly proves, as I have observed before, that projecting a likable personality is far more than important than acting skills in achieving success in Hollywood. And so, Philip Seymour Hoffman labors on toward obscurity while Tom Hanks continues to bask in the world's adulation. For gifted individuals like Hanks, life truly is a box of chocolates.

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