When Tom Hanks was 18 years old he wrote a letter to George Roy Hill, the director of such classics as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Sting. In the letter, which was found by NPR at the Library of the Motion Picture Academy in Beverly Hills, Hanks suggests that Hill be the director to “discover” him because he was going to be a big star.
Hanks foretold his own future in this letter. They guy has the confidence to know without a doubt that he was going to be one of Hollywood’s greatest actors.
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.
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.
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.
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".
Your Pal Forever,
Thomas J. Hanks
How great is that! It all came true. Hanks, now 59, has since been nominated for five Academy Awards for his performances in Big, Saving Private Ryan, Cast Away, Philadelphia, and Forrest Gump, and he won two of them.