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THE POLAR EXPRESS

One of the world's most admired and respected actors, TOM HANKS (Hero Boy, Boy's Father, The Conductor, The Hobo, Santa) also holds the distinction of being the first actor in 50 years to be awarded back-to-back Best Actor Academy Awards. In 1993, he was rewarded for his compelling performance as the AIDS-stricken lawyer in Philadelphia, and the following year won the Oscar for his outstanding performance in Forrest Gump. He also won Golden Globe Awards for both. Throughout the success of Forrest Gump (the fourth largest grossing movie in history), Hanks won a Golden Globe, a Peoples Choice Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a Chicago Film Critics Award, a National Association of Theater Owners Male Star of the Year Award, and the Hollywood Women's Press Club Award. In addition to the many honors he has received, he was named Man of the Year by Harvard's Hasty Pudding Theatricals for his performance as astronaut Jim Lovell in Ron Howard's Apollo 13.

In 1996, Hanks made his feature film writing and directing debut with That Thing You Do! that follows the meteoric rise to fame of a local rock band named The Wonders from Erie, Pennsylvania, in the summer of 1964. The film's signature song, "That Thing You Do!,” not only reached the top 10 on many contemporary music charts, but was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song. Hanks also appeared in the film.

Born and raised in Oakland, CA, Hanks first became interested in acting during high school. While attending California State University in Sacramento, he appeared in The Cherry Orchard and met director Vincent Dowling, the resident director of the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival in Cleveland. Dowling invited Hanks to intern with the company, where he made his professional debut portraying Grumio in The Taming of the Shrew. Hanks appeared in other Great Lakes productions, including Two Gentleman of Verona, for which he received the Cleveland Critics Award for Best Actor. From Cleveland, Hanks went on to New York, where he appeared in his first feature film, He Knows You're Alone, and onstage in The Taming of the Shrew. 

After moving to Los Angeles where he performed in a production of The Dollmaker, Hanks got his big break when cast as the lead in the ABC comedy series Bosom Buddies. This led to starring roles in Bachelor Party, followed by Ron Howard's Splash -- a box office hit that started him on his path to becoming one of Hollywood's busiest and most sought-after actors.

 Hanks' many film credits include Volunteers, Nothing in Common and A League of Their Own. In 1988, with his box office success established, Hanks found himself a critical success with highly acclaimed work in Punchline, and Big, for which he earned his first Academy Award nomination and Golden Globe Award. The same year, the L.A. Film Critics recognized the two performances by bestowing on him their coveted Best Actor Award. In 1993, he received a Golden Globe nomination for his work in Sleepless in Seattle.

Constantly challenging himself, Hanks served as Executive Producer for HBO's From the Earth to the Moon -- an ambitious 12-hour dramatic film anthology that explored America's Apollo space program. Not only did he personally help make this show a reality, he directed the first episode and wrote and appeared in the final episode. 

Hanks starred in Steven Spielberg's 1998 feature Saving Private Ryan, in which he played a soldier who went deep behind enemy lines to save a trapped private during the Allied invasion, and for which he received an Oscar nomination. He also starred in 1999's The Green Mile, written and directed by Frank Darabont and based on the Stephen King novel.

In 2000, Hanks starred in Robert Zemeckis' Cast Away, earning another Oscar nomination for his role as sole survivor of a plane crash on a deserted island. Also in 2000, he served as executive producer (as well as directing one

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