Tom Hanks writes sweet essay thanking friends for helping him early in his career

I love Tom Hanks. I think the first movie I saw him in was probably Splash when I was 8 or 9. I’m really looking forward to A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. I can’t think of anyone else who could come close to embodying a similar ethos to Fred Rogers. Since Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood focused, in large part, on the power of friendships and community, AARP asked Tom to write about the importance of some of the friendships in his life. He wrote about two fellow actors, George Maguire and MichaelJohn McGann, whom he met in 1977 when he was performing with the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival in Cleveland. They convinced him to move to New York when he was deciding where to head next, and he slept on MichaelJohn’s couch for weeks once he got there. Here’s more from Tom:

MichaelJohn typed up my résumé on his battleship of a Royal typewriter (which he has since given me). When I finally found a horridly dark and busted-up fourth-floor walk-up in Hell’s Kitchen, he cosigned the lease for me — a moment of risky generosity I will never, ever forget. The New York City winter was new to me, so cold that a walk outside made my jaw hurt. I did not have winter clothes. George gave me a jacket. He also came by with milk to go with the Entenmann’s blackout cakes that MichaelJohn would bring by. George gave me his old portable black-and-white TV (with coat hanger antenna), a pair of chairs with broken cane seats, and a kitchen-size table that was nuts to have in a fourth-floor walk-up. MichaelJohn showed me the ropes of the Actors’ Equity lounge, with its casting board and credit union. In the depths of February, the three of us met at George’s ground-floor studio apartment, just off Central Park West, the walls covered with the 8-by-10s of so many of his actor friends, and we did our taxes as a snowstorm howled outside. I had never done my taxes before. When these two pros showed me how to file my return so I’d get a refund from the IRS for nearly $600, the first moment of solvency in my adult life, I thought I had won the lottery.

And I had. They were, and are, my friends. You would not be reading these words otherwise.

[From AARP]

Reading this made my day. I love stories about lengthy, close friendships, because I don’t think people often have conversations around the incredibly deep bonds that we form with people who aren’t our partners or our families. I’ve never picked up and moved halfway across the country on the advice of friends I’ve admired, but I am lucky to have a handful of friends who have been in my life for varying lengths of time whom I can always count on and show up for, too. I happened to be chatting with one of them over the weekend and I think I thanked her about 10 times in a row because she’s been a great, compassionate sounding board over the past few weeks. It doesn’t surprise me at all that Tom Hanks has these kind of friends in his life, and if he wants to write another book, I’d read a memoir with more stories like this.

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Well, howdy partner! Where’s Buzz? Hanx

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17 Responses to “Tom Hanks writes sweet essay thanking friends for helping him early in his career”

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  1. Becks1 says:

    Aw what a nice tribute to those men and their friendship.

    Tom Hanks just seems so “real” and nice. Definitely one of the all time greats.

  2. virginfangirls says:

    He was surrounded by some great people. I bet Tom payed it forward. He seems like one of the good ones.

  3. Manda says:

    Years ago, I remember reading about how Tom Hanks got his start w that festival. Makes me proud to be a native Clevelander! (Hometown of Paul Newman and Halle Berry!)

  4. Aang says:

    OG Hanks fan here. I’m old enough to remember Bosom Buddies. Splash, The Man with One Red Shoe, The Burbs, Big, all great 80’s movies. I still cry when I watch Philadelphia. He is treasure.

    • Athyrmose says:

      Bosom Buddies was my jam, as well!


    • lucy2 says:

      I remember Bosom Buddies too! Holland Taylor was on it as well.

      You can tell Tom has not forgotten where he came from.

    • Valerie says:

      lol I love Bosom Buddies, but it would not make it to TV today! I don’t know how I’d feel about it if I watched it now… and I still have some tapes kickin’ around.

    • Lady2Lazy says:

      I fell in love with Tom Hanks when he stared in Bossom Buddies and that show was hilarious!! I also ran to the theater to see Splash, but also in part because I love Ron Howard movies, he is extremely talented.
      I think that Tom Hanks is one of the most gracious, humble, loving and supportive men in Hollywood now, and that is a tough combination to find nowadays no matter what city you refer to. Leave it to Tom Hanks to publicly point out the support and care that his friends showered him with.
      I also remember how some of the older Hollywood greats met up with each other, lived together and have stayed friends for years. Like Robin Williams and Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman and Dustin Hoffman.

    • holly hobby says:

      I remember Bosom Buddies! I like how he is still friends with Peter Scolari in real life. Peter was cast in some of Tom’s movies (the ones he produced) like That Thing You Do! You can tell that if Tom considers you a friend, you’re his friend for life!

    • Juls says:

      Please dont forget Turner and Hooch! A feel-good classic!

  5. janey says:

    pure class.

  6. egot says:

    Tom Hanks’ Bachelor Party movie is crazy funny. The scene with his future father in law by the pool…..i decided to live my life like that when i was a kid

  7. leskat says:

    I think this is what has been missing in celebrity culture- love and appreciation and gratefulness for those who have helped along the way. You hardly ever hear these types of stories and when you do it’s just so refreshing. Tom Hanks is the real deal and I’d love to hear more about his life.

  8. insertpunhere says:

    Every time I read something about Tom Hanks, I just feel a little calmer. He’s the human equivalent of comfort food, and I love him for that.

    Immediately after feeling that warm fuzziness though, I think, “please don’t let him be the next secret asshole who gets outed.” I cannot live in a world where Tom Hanks is not truly this great of a person in real life.

  9. MSOC says:

    I think I’d find this more touching if it weren’t obvious he’s never once put either man in any of the films he’s made. Surely he has enough clout to do so – and in so doing provide them with a tangible thanks.

  10. Green Is Good says:

    Bosom Buddies forever!!