Though he'd appeared in various films and television shows, including the short-lived sitcom "Bosom Buddies" and the 1984 surprise hit "Splash," it wasn't until the 1988 blockbuster "Big" that actor Tom Hanks, pictured here just after the film's release, became a household name.
Hanks received his first Oscar in 1994 for his role as an attorney dying of AIDS in "Philadelphia." The previous year, he starred opposite Meg Ryan in the now-classic romantic comedy "Sleepless in Seattle."
Hanks' role as the simple-minded "Forrest Gump" earned him a second Academy Award in 1995, making him the first actor in 50 years to have earned two consecutive Oscars.
Hanks, with John Travolta, Kelly Preston and wife Rita Wilson (second from left) at a 1995 Oscar function. Hanks met Wilson on the set of "Volunteers" in 1985 and married her three years later. The couple has two sons, Chester and Truman. Hanks also has a daughter, Elizabeth, and a son, Colin, from his previous marriage to actress/producer Samantha Lewes.
Hanks played astroinaut Jim Lovell, who headed a troubled moon-bound mission, in the 1995 historical space thriller, "Apollo 13."
Hanks poses with "Apollo 13" director Ron Howard. Howard, whom he met on the set of the TV program "Happy Days," gave Hanks his first big break by casting him opposite Daryl Hannah in "Splash."
Hanks is pictured here at the London premier of his 1997 screenwriting and directorial debut, "That Thing You Do!" He also had a starring role in the film.
Hanks and Matt Damon in Steven Spielberg's 1998 war epic, "Saving Private Ryan." Both Hanks and Spielberg have been honored by veterans groups for their work in "Private Ryan" and in "Band of Brothers," a TV miniseries on World War II.
Hanks and Michael Clark Duncan in "The Green Mile," based on the Stephen King serialized novel. Hanks' performance in it generated a great deal of Oscar buzz in 2000.
Hanks poses with his 2001 Golden Globe award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture, which he won for "Cast Away." In it, he played a Federal Express pilot stranded on a tropical island after a plane crash.
Steven Speilberg presented Hanks with the 30th AFI Life Achievement Award in 2002. Spielberg directed several of the actor's films, including "Forrest Gump" and "Saving Private Ryan." Hanks was the youngest actor ever to recieve the lifetime honors.
Hanks and Wilson (far left) are shown with the cast of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" at the 2003 People's Choice Awards. The couple jointly produced the romantic comedy, which won for best comedic motion picture. It also was a huge hit at the box office.
Hanks with Irma P. Hall in the 2004 remake of the 1955 comedy, "The Ladykillers." Hanks, dubbed a modern-day Jimmy Stewart, is known for his ability to shine in both dramatic and humorous films.
Hanks with Catherine Zeta-Jones, the costar of his latest film, "The Terminal."