How Tom Hanks’ Letter To Be ‘Discovered’ To Director Mr. Hill Was Genius

Tom Hanks letter

Actor Tom Hanks is considered one of the greatest actors within the last 2 centuries, and he’s acted in almost every genre, from drama’s, romantic films to comedy and high action packed thrillers.

But how did he get there? It wasn’t overnight success, that’s forsure. It was a lot of passion, dedication and relentless effort. One clue was from this ambitious letter that he sent to Director George Roy Hill where he discusses himself as not being the best looking nor the typical Hollywood look. In fact he admitted that he couldn’t even grow a moustache. It’s actually quite astonishing how bold and determined he was, and that kind of behaviour would certainly solidify some sort of dot connecting to why he became so grand, he believed he was great! He was pretty much begging to be discovered and he was as hungry as they come.

Hey, anyone who has this kind of driving force and comfort zone exiting mentality should be given a shot, shouldn’t they? It’s not so much the fact that the letter actually didn’t get him discovered, however it was more so, the message he put out there, into the universe, that indicated how darn serious he was. This allowed other opportunities to come knocking towards him. It also plays into effect, that the more shots you take, the more chances of winning. And this was just one of the many forms of “putting himself out there” that tom Hanks took. Is it fair to say, he attracted his destiny while taking proactive steps to guaranteeing his success? We think so, but of course, all is up for interpretation…

“Dear Mr. Hill,

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.

Let’s work out the details of my discovery. 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.

Now, right away I know what you are thinking (“who is this kid?”), and I can understand your apprehensions. 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.

Or maybe we can do it this way. 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.

All of these plans are fine with me, or we could do it any way you would like, it makes no difference to me! But let’s get one thing straight. Mr. Hill, I do not want to be some bigtime, Hollywood superstar with girls crawling all over me, just a hometown American boy who has hit the big-time, owns a Porsche, and calls Robert Redford “Bob”.

Respectfully submitted,

Your Pal Forever,

Thomas J. Hanks

Alameda, California”


Powerful stuff, this is what legends are made of. Like the pioneer of personal computers, Steve Jobs was trying to refer to, “Stay hungry, Stay Foolish.”


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