Tom Hanks

This beloved star was born July 9, 1956, in Concord, Calif. Acting helped Hanks deal with a disruptive family life; eventually, a talent scout spotted him onstage and cast him in the 1980s TV sitcom "Bosom Buddies."

That same year, his film debut in the slasher flick He Knows You're Alone went unnoticed, but 4 years later, the success of Splash established his likeable, easygoing style. An Oscar-nominated performance in Big (1988) displayed the emotional resonance that would distinguish Hanks's later work.

His career soared in the '90s with back-to-back Oscars for Philadelphia and Forrest Gump, plus later nominations for Saving Private Ryan and Cast Away. Three teamings with Meg Ryan include the romantic hit Sleepless in Seattle; he's also ventured into directing with That Thing You Do! (1996). The Road to Perdition and The Ladykillers continued to demonstrate Hanks's amazing versatility.