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Last Updated: Friday, 5 November, 2004, 10:55 GMT
Hanks' big splash in Hollywood
Tom Hanks in The Terminal
Award recipient Tom Hanks in his latest picture The Terminal
Actor Tom Hanks was honoured with a Bafta Brittania award for film excellence in Los Angeles on Thursday.

He joins an elite of film heavyweights who have won the prestigious trophy, including Steven Spielberg, Anthony Hopkins and Martin Scorsese.

The 48-year-old actor became the toast of the Academy Awards, winning back-to-back best actor Oscars for his roles in Philadelphia (1993) and Forrest Gump (1994).

He became the first actor to achieve such a feat since Spencer Tracy in the 1930s and has three further nominations to his name.

Powerful player

Hanks' work on the small screen has also been rewarded, with wartime drama Band Of Brothers (2001) - a collaboration with Steven Spielberg - scooping two Emmys.

With a run of believeable, ordinary characters and his ability to draw audiences to the box office, it was inevitable that Hanks would become one of the most powerful players in Tinseltown.

Tom Hanks in Saving Private Ryan
Hanks' role in Saving Private Ryan won him an Oscar nomination

But this was not always the case for the California-born actor.

In college during the late 1970s, Hanks' real interest was working behind the scenes in stage production and management, but he was gradually lured into performing.

The initial phase of his acting career was spent appearing in Shakespeare productions in New York, where he was eventually spotted by a TV talent scout.

His small screen debut came in 1980 with the short-lived sitcom Bosom Buddies.

A string of TV bit roles followed - a far cry from the leading man Hanks would eventually become.

A role in Happy Days led Hanks to his film debut in Splash (1984), which turned into a box office hit but earned mermaid Darryl Hannah greater recognition.

What followed was a string of film roles which failed to propel Hanks into the Tinseltown superleague.

1984 Splash
1985 Volunteers
1989 Turner & Hooch
1990 Bonfire Of The Vanities
1993 Sleepless In Seattle
1993 Philadelphia
1994 Forrest Gump
1998 Saving Private Ryan
2001 Band Of Brothers
2004 The Terminal

His breakthrough came with 1988's body swap picture Big, praised by the critics and singled out for an Oscar nod, which Hanks called his "least fake performance".

He has rarely been absent from the screens since, showing his comic side co-starring with a dog in Turner And Hooch, and providing the voice of Woody in animated hit Toy Story.

Hanks' hard-hitting roles have included his breakthrough Oscar win for Philadelphia, in which he played a man stricken by Aids who fights a case for wrongful dismissal.

The Terminal, Hanks' latest release - and another Spielberg collaboration - was met with lukewarm reviews.

But Hanks' output carries on unabated, with a further four projects due to hit cinemas in the coming months.

But while The Terminal is unlikely to win him a third Oscar, the actor is a governor on the board of the Academy - a sign of how much the multi-award winner has become a part of the Hollywood establishment.

Bafta honours actor Hanks in US
05 Nov 04 |  Entertainment
Stars out for Venice film launch
02 Sep 04 |  Entertainment
The Terminal
06 Sep 04 |  Review
High-flying start for Hanks film
07 Sep 04 |  Entertainment


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