Tom Hanks: An American hero straight out of a picture book

He is known worldwide – as the prototype of the picture book American: Actor Tom Hanks is now celebrating his 65th birthday.

Decent, fair, warm-hearted, in short: personable. Tom Hanks is the prototype of the picture-perfect American who loves the whole world as it loves him back. This is not at all easy after the bitter experiences during the Trump years.

But after decades of success in Hollywood, Tom Hanks is a man for difficult cases. The older he gets, the more serene, tolerant and believable he appears to his audience. He will be 65 years old on July 9th.

Political commitment

Tom Hanks had his last major public appearance in January at the inauguration of the new US President Joe Biden (78). Despite the freezing cold, Hanks only wore “the Showmaster’s black suit”, as the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” noted. Tom Hanks then spoke of his country, there were “state-supporting words about the even more perfect unity that should be striven for, about the validity and strength of ideals, especially in times of need and controversy and pandemics, and about the American’s eternal striving for a better one To become a version of himself “.

Other actors and Hollywood stars also show political commitment, but nobody is as credible as Tom Hanks. This may also be due to his roots, because he is actually related to the American national saint Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865). The great, great, great grandparents of the 16th US President were Sarah and William Hanks, from whom the family of Tom Hanks descended.

Two Oscars in the closet

In his career as an actor, he has often embodied heroes of everyday American life, very carefully, very humanly and therefore also very realistically. In “Purgatory of the Vanities” (1990) it was the deep fall of a New York stockbroker, in “Sleepless in Seattle” (1993) the enchanting love story of an architect.

In “Philadelphia” (1993) he plays a homosexual lawyer who dies of prejudice and AIDS. And in “Forrest Gump” (1994) Tom Hanks tells the incredible life story of a very special American. For both main roles he received the Oscar for “best leading actor” in 1994 and 1995.

Also successful as an author

Since then, Tom Hanks, incidentally a passionate supporter of the English football club Aston Villa, has made at least one film every year and is confidently in the front row of Hollywood male stars. He has also made a name for himself as a director, screenwriter and film producer.

His debut as a writer is also noteworthy. In 2017 he published his own short stories under the title “Weird Types”, which also deal with his typewriter collection. The newspaper “Die Welt” judged: “Hanks attaches great importance to good style like a good American to good manners (no longer a matter of course, as we know), and the mood in most of the stories is as casual as it was in America when the Cadillacs were Had shark fins and the clatter of authentic typewriters came from the Manhattan offices. ” In any case, the reading is highly recommended, “after that you will love America again. Because everyone has done that Tom Hanks”.

Fight against Corona

Last year, Hanks and his wife, actress Rita Wilson (64), like millions of their compatriots, fell ill with corona, while then US President Donald Trump (75) tried to downplay the pandemic. After recovering, Hanks reported on a radio show, “Rita had to go through harder times than me.” While she had a “significantly higher fever” and “lost her sense of taste and smell”, he was mainly tormented by “bad body aches”. In addition, he was “very tired”.

In contrast to his president, Hanks appealed urgently to the sense of responsibility of the Americans. “The official, but also the individual behavior only left me with question marks. There are really only three things that everyone has to do: wear a mask, keep your distance and wash your hands”, Hanks told The Guardian newspaper. He doesn’t understand people who think they don’t have to contribute. Americans who refused to wear a mask should “be ashamed”.

Fan of Greece

Tom Hanks, it seems, embodies the good sides of the original American myth like no other. He also took root in Europe, in Greece, the ancient cradle of democracy. Hanks’ wife, Rita Wilson, has a Greek mother. Before the wedding in 1988, her husband converted to the Greek Orthodox faith. The couple owns a house on the island of Antiparos and has produced several films with a Greek background, such as “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” or “Mamma Mia!”.

For their commitment during the conflagration of Mati, the couple received honorary citizenship of Greece from the Greek Interior Minister in 2019. A year later, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson also officially became Greek citizens.

The Hollywood star has made a name for herself even in the vast expanses of space. In 1996 Spacewatch (University of Arizona) discovered an asteroid in the asteroid belt that has been named “(12818) Tomhanks” since 2003.