The young Tom agreed, and his internship stretched into a three-year experience that covered most aspects of theater production, including lighting, set design, and stage management, prompting him to drop out of college.
During the same time, Tom won the Cleveland Critics Circle Award for Best Actor for his 1978 performance as “Proteus” in Shakespeare’s The Two Gentlemen of Verona — one of the few times Tom Hanks would ever play the part of a villain.
In 1979, he took a leap of faith and moved to New York City. Two years later, he received his ‘big break’ when he landed one of the lead roles as “Kip Wilson,” on the ABC television pilot of Bosom Buddies.
He and Peter Scolari played a pair of young advertising men forced to dress as women so they could live in an inexpensive all-female hotel.
Though a bit corny at times, Bosom Buddies was genuinely hilarious and Tom’s humor did not disappoint.
Sadly, the show was cancelled after two seasons, but it gave Tom the exposure he needed to land several guest roles on popular shows like Happy Days (1974-84), Taxi (1978-83), The Love Boat (1977-87) and Family Ties (1982-89).
In 1988, Tom was finally cast in the movie that would forever change his career: Big. In the movie, he played a 13-year-old boy transplanted overnight into the body of a 35-year-old man.
Tom Hanks’ performance charmed both critics and audiences alike, and Big earned him his first Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.
In 1993, Tom emerged with two huge hits: Sleepless in Seattle, and Philadelphia
Image via Ap Photo 1993
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