Tom Hanks is one of Hollywood’s most famous actors, but not many are aware of the fact that Tom has two brothers, one of whom is an actor like himself. Jim Hanks, who has been living in the shadow of his older brother’s fame, looks like a carbon copy of Tom, and has actually appeared as a body double and voice substitute for his brother in numerous productions. Besides being an actor, Jim is also a recognised producer, director and cinematographer. Here follows every untold truth we could dig up on the younger sibling of Tom Hanks, who is often called Jimmy.
Early life and family
James Matthew Hanks, best known as Jim or Jimmy, was born on 15 June 1961, eight years after his oldest brother Larry, and five years later than Tom. His father Amos Mefford Hanks worked as a cook, and his mother, hospital employee Janet Marylyn Hanks, relocated many times during the years that their children were born, which meant that they were born in different places, Tom was born in Concord, California, and Jim in Shasta County of California. Their mother is of Portuguese descent, and father has English ancestry. In 1960 shortly before Jim was born, Amos and Janet divorced.
Amos had taken the oldest siblings with him, including Sandra, Larry and Tom.
Of course Jim stayed with his mother, who later moved to Red Bluff, California. Amos passed away in 1992, but not before marrying Frances Wong, a San Francisco native of Chinese ancestry, who had three children. Although few secrets are kept about Tom’s childhood, it is not the same for his brother Jimmy, as nothing else is known about his early life, apparently a well-kept secret.
Little information can be found on Jim’s educational background; it’s not known where he attended high school, but it’s stated that he graduated from college, but it’s not known from where, nor in what he majored.
After college, Jim moved to Sacramento, where he worked as a waiter. His wife’s employer, an agent, encouraged Jim to take-up a career in acting, which led to Jim taking acting classes, and to pursue a career in show business.
Jim’s acting career began in 1993 when he made his debut in the film “Buford’s Beach Bunnies” as the lead character Jeeter Buford. In an attempt to gain the role by his own abilities, and not being recognised as Tom’s brother, he initially auditioned as Jim Matthews.
his true identity was revealed only by the time the final paperwork was completed. Although the producers noted his resemblance to Tom, Jim gained the role due to his performance.
In 1994, Jim starred in the film “Forrest Gump”, acting as a running double for his brother. Following this, Jim mostly starred in minor roles and B-grade films throughout the nineties, including in “Xtro 3: Watch The Skies”, “Baby Geniuses” and “Inferno”. He also starred in the 1999 film “Blood Type” as Stew, a role for which he was rewarded with the Angel Film Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Other than starring in motion pictures, Jim also appeared in several episodes of television shows, including “Homefront”, “Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman”, “Sabrina The Teenage Witch”, “JAG”, and his latest appearances in “Scrubs” and “Dexter”.
Jim also did plenty of voice acting throughout his career, some of which was for the famous Tom Hanks character Sheriff Woody in “Toy Story” spin-offs. Other voice credits include the 1988 soap opera “Sunset Beach”, also “Robot Chicken”, and “Milo Murphy’s Law”.
Jim also did many voices for video games that depicted famous Disney films, including “The Polar Express” and the “Disney Infinity” video game series.
Jim has worked as a cinematographer on several films too, and produced and directed several short films, including “Wish”, “The Floor” and “Hazelnut”, to name a few. He’s also directed episodes of a few television series, which include the TV film “I Married Who?”.
Hobbies, favourite things and interesting facts
Jim first worked as an infomercial actor while trying to make his mark in Hollywood – in fact his appearance in a Volvo ad had people suspecting that Tom Hanks might have fallen on hard times!
— Jake with the Ob (@mnralphie) June 15, 2020
However, if there is any doubt about Jim’s acting talent, it should be noted that Forrest Gump’s mannerisms and famous way of running are derived from the characteristic behaviour of Jim’s first casting role Jeeter. For this reason, Jim was asked to play most of the scenes in “Forrest Gump” that involved Gump running.
Jim is married to actress Karen E Praxel, who starred in the Tom Hanks directorial debut film “That Thing You Do!”. They took their vows long before either one of them had any success in Hollywood, on 26 May 1986, and have seemingly lived happily together since. They have one child together, a son by the name Gage Hanks.
- Date of Birth: 15 June 1961
- Hair colour: Brown, Bald
- Eye colour: Light Blue
- Height: 5ft 8in (1.76m)
- Weight: 165lbs (75kgs)
- Shoe Size: 8 (US)
- Star Sign: Gemini
- Nationality: American
- Ethnicity: Caucasian
Due to all the work Jim has done in Hollywood, he has able to rake in an estimated net worth of over $2 million, as of mid-2020.