Tom Hanks says his grandfather’s killing ‘ruined’ his father: ‘He was broken by that experience’

Actor said his father’s ordeal had ‘robbed him of a carefree life’

Louis Chilton
Friday 25 September 2020 15:26
Tom Hanks says his grandfather’s killing ‘ruined’ his father: ‘He was broken by that experience’
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Tom Hanks has opened up about the trauma inflicted on his father, Amos Mefford Hanks, by the killing of his grandfather.

Speaking on In Depth with Graham Bensinger, the Forrest Gump star said: “My dad got a raw deal when he was a very young man because he happened to witness the murder of his father in a fight.” 

He continued: “He was 8 or 9 or 10 years old and a hired hand killed his father in the barn of the farm that they were growing up in Willows, California.”

According to Hanks, his father Amos was one of four kids, and was “the only one there” to witness his own father’s killing.

“He was broken by that experience,” Hanks added. “He had to go testify as a kid three times, with the lawyers and a judge and a flag and 'Do you hereby solemnly swear…'

“It was a contentious fight by self-defense — because it was a fight. The man [who killed Amos' father] was acquitted.”

Hanks said that the experience had “ruined” his father, and “robbed him of a carefree life”.

Amos died in 1992, at the age of 67 – three years older than Hanks is now.

“[The incident] robbed him of a sense of fairness in the world,” he explained. “It was a black mark of injustice and unfairness that landed squarely on his young shoulders.

“My dad wanted to write, he had great artistic desires but life didn't deal him the cards in order to pursue them.”

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