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Desert Island Discs

Tom Hanks

Hanks with his second wife, Rita Wilson. Mike Windle/Getty Images

Tom Hanks, who turns 65 today, realised he wanted to be an actor when he saw 2001: A Space Odyssey as a boy in the cinema. “That was the wow moment of my life,” he told Kirsty Young on Desert Island Discs in 2016. Hanks had a chaotic upbringing. His parents got divorced when he was five, and by the age of 10 he had lived with his father in 10 houses and five cities. His dad, a chef, would uproot the kids whenever a new job turned up – even in the middle of the night.

Hanks was a lonely young man who took refuge in theatre and history books. To quell his loneliness, he married Samantha Lewes at 21 and had two children. “Having a kid at 21 was the greatest thing that ever happened to me… I was never a party boy. I was in bed at 10 past 10 every night.” But he and Lewes divorced, and Hanks remarried in 1988 – the same year he starred in Big, which earned him his first Oscar nomination. On meeting his second wife, Rita Wilson, he knew he’d “never be lonely any more”.

🎵 Relax-Ay-Voo, Dean Martin and Line Renaud

🎵 There’s a Place, the Beatles

🎵 Doodlin’, Dusty Springfield

🎵 Also sprach Zarathustra, Richard Strauss

🎵 How the West Was Won, Alfred Newman

🎵 Once in a Lifetime, Talking Heads

🎵 Mama Said Knock You Out, LL Cool J

🎵 Layla, Derek and the Dominos

📕 A World Lit Only by Fire, William Manchester

🎁 A Hermes 3000 manual typewriter and paper

Listen to the episode here.