This letter from an 18-year-old Tom Hanks will make you love him even more
In 1974, an 18-year-old (and not-yet-famous) Thomas J. Hanks wrote a fan letter to George Roy Hill shortly after he won the Academy Award for Best Director — and the letter is just as glorious as you’d expect.
“Dear Mr. Hill,” the letter begins. “Seeing that. . . I have seen your fantastically entertaining and award-winning film ‘The Sting,’ starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford, and enjoyed it very much, it is all together fitting and proper that you should ‘discover’ me.”
The letter currently resides in the Library of the Motion Picture Academy in Beverly Hills, California, but was plucked from the museum’s Margaret Herrick Library and brought to the Internet’s attention thanks to a piece by Susan Stamberg for NPR last weekend. In the letter, Hanks goes on to address any concerns Hill might have at his proposition, and makes his case for why he should be the one to discover him. Hanks even offers a couple ways they could pull it off — and the whole thing has sufficiently charmed us to pieces.
“Now, right away I know what you are thinking (‘who is this kid?’), and I can understand your apprehensions,” he continues. “I am a nobody. No one outside of Skyline High School has heard of me. . . My looks are not stunning. I am not built like a Greek God, and I can’t even grow a mustache, but I figure if people will pay to see certain films . . . they will pay to see me.”
If only he knew! And it only gets better from there. Not only do we get to enjoy a young Hanks’ gutsy move, but we also learn that he was particularly fond of a peculiar exclamation at the time.
“Let’s work out the details of my discovery,” he writes. “We can do it the way Lana Turner was discovered, me sitting on a soda shop stool, you walk in and notice me and — BANGO — I am a star.”
“Or maybe we can do it this way,” he continues. “I stumble into your office one day and beg for a job. To get rid of me, you give me a stand-in part in your next film. While shooting the film, the star breaks his leg in the dressing room, and, because you are behind schedule already, you arbitrarily place me in his part and — BANGO — I am a star.”
While Hill ultimately wasn’t the person to discover him, Hanks would eventually drop out of college to pursue acting in New York City, where — BANGO — he became quite the star, indeed. Many years later, Hanks would win the Academy Award for Best Actor for both Philadelphia and Forrest Gump, and become one of the most notable and beloved celebrities of all time. If his letter to Hill reveals anything, however, it’s without doubt the fact that Tom Hanks was always destined for greatness.
“[Let’s] get one thing straight. Mr. Hill, I do not want to be some bigtime, Hollywood superstar with girls crawling all over me,” he writes, “just a hometown American boy who has hit the big-time, owns a Porsche, and calls Robert Redford ‘Bob.'”
Allegedly, Hanks now drives a Toyota Prius, and we aren’t sure if he’s gotten nickname-close with Redford — but at least we know for sure that one of his teenage dreams came true.
(Image via Facebook.)