Samantha Lewes was the first wife of the accomplished actor and filmmaker, Tom Hanks. During her lifetime, she also was active in the movie industry as she registered some acting credits to her name. Although not popularly known as an actress, she was known for being Tom Hanks’ first love. The two weathered severe storms together. They were young and struggled so much with the responsibilities that come with parenthood.
Having been an up and coming comedian and actor then, Hanks couldn’t handle the emotional and financial stress. This, eventually made his marriage to Samantha acrimonious. Unfortunately, the college sweethearts signed the divorce papers in 1987. Tragically, in 2002, Samantha Lewes succumbed to bone cancer. Though she is dead, her legacy still leaves on in the lives of her children – Colin Lewes Hanks who is a famed actor, producer, and director; and daughter, Elizabeth Hanks, an actress who now works as a writer and editor. Read on, as we unravel more riveting facts about Tom Hanks’ ex-wife.
Samantha Lewes’ Background Details
Born Susan Jane Dillingham, the late actress was the daughter of John Raymond Dillingham and Harriet Hall Dillingham. She made her arrival into the world in San Diego, California on November 29th 1952. Her father was a highly decorated retired US Marine officer who actively served for 26 years, as he witnessed the Korean War, World War II and the Vietnam War. Her mother, on the other hand, worked as an English instructor.
Following the separation of her parents in 1962, Samantha Lewes was brought up together with her three siblings in different cities in the United States including Virginia, California, North and South Carolina, and Florida. Upon completion of her high school education, she enrolled at the California State University located in Sacramento, where she studied Acting.
She then kick-started her career by adopting the professional name, Samantha Lewes. In 1981, she scored her first acting role by guest appearing as a waitress in an episode of the TV show Bosom Buddies alongside Tom Hanks. Three years later, she was featured as a customer in a television movie titled Mr. Success. Asides these two minor roles, Samantha didn’t feature again in any movie or TV show until the time of her demise.
What To Know About Her Marriage and Kids
Samantha Lewes met Tom Hanks while they were both undergraduates of the California State University. In a quest to end the lonely life which he has been used to since childhood following the separation of his parents when he was a kid, Tom Hanks got romantically involved with Samantha Lewes. Afterward, she became pregnant with their first child; a son whom she gave birth to in November 1977, at the age of twenty-five while Hanks was twenty-one.
On January 24th, the following year, the two love birds solemnized the union. Through Samantha Lewes’ advice and support, Tom Hanks relocated his family from Sacramento to New York City in 1979. There, fortune began to smile on him as he landed a main role in Bosom Buddies. The couple further relocated to Los Angeles in 1980 as Hanks continued searching for a career breakthrough.
Things eventually became uptight for the young couple after the arrival of their daughter, Elizabeth Hanks in May 1982. Thus, their marriage became acrimonious as the relationship between them turned sour. Two years later, the two got separated and in 1987, they finalized their marriage annulment procedures. Following the divorce, Samantha Lewes devoted her life to raising her children and so abandoned her acting career.
Thankfully, her efforts didn’t go in vain as the two kids are now making her proud and equally keeping her legacy alive. Her son, Colin Lewes Hanks, has followed in the footsteps of his father and is now a known name in the movie industry. He is known for his works as an actor, producer, and director which has earned him several awards including Spike Video Game Award and San Diego Film Festival Award. His award nominations include Golden Globe Awards, Primetime Emmy Awards, MTV Movie Awards, Satellite Awards, among others.
His notable acting credits are Orange County, King Kong, Fargo, The Great Buck Howard, Roswell and Jumanji. In May 2010, Samantha Lewes’ son tied the knot with former New York Publicist, Samantha Bryant. The couple is proud parents of two daughters, Olivia and Charlotte, born in 2011 and 2013 respectively.
Lewes’ other child, Elizabeth Hanks, is a graduate of Vassar College, where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Language and Literature. She began her career by making appearances in movies such as Forrest Gimp, That Thing You Do! and Anchoraged. Eventually, she pursued a career in her line of study by working as a writer for Huffington Post. More so, her writing works have gained publication in journals like The New York Times and The Guardian. She is currently working as an editor for the Los Angeles Review of Book.
What Was The Cause of Samantha Lewes’ Death?
After her divorce from Tom Hanks, Samantha Lewes stayed on the low key while raising her kids. She was later diagnosed with bone cancer which had spread to her lungs and other body parts. In an attempt to save the life of his ex-wife, Tom Hanks hired medical experts who tried to alleviate her pains, as her health condition had already deteriorated by the time the cancer was diagnosed. Sadly, on the 12th of March 2002, Tom Hanks’ ex-wife succumbed to the chronic disease at the age of forty-nine. She was buried at the East Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery situated in Sacramento.
What is Tom Hanks Doing Now?
Prior to his divorce from Samantha Lewes, Tom Hanks fell in love with Rita Wilson, who is an actress, singer, and film producer. They first got acquainted with each other in the year 1981, on the set of the sitcom Bosom Buddies. Although they were strongly attracted to one another during that time, they didn’t get romantically involved. Then in 1985, on the set of a movie titled Volunteers, the two realized that they share something special which they later fanned into flames in 1987, after Tom Hanks’ divorce.
They made their first appearance as a couple during the Hollywood premiere of Dragnet in 1987. In the following year, the pair sealed their love with a nuptial bond. Obviously, the love has kept them going strong since then, as they have established one of the longest unions in Hollywood, with their marriage of over three decades.
The couple still graces the red carpets together to date, and have equally worked together in the production of some blockbuster movies such as My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Having cited immaturity and financial instability as the cause of his failed marriage to Samantha, Tom Hanks has grown into a man he always wanted to be.
Even though he didn’t want his children to experience the loneliness that comes from a broken home as he did, he couldn’t avoid it at first. But now, he has put up his best effort in building his home together with his best friend, Rita Wilson, with whom he has welcomed two sons; Chester (born in 1990) and Truman (born in 1995).
The movie star is still actively contributing to the film industry to date. His recent acting credits include Henry IV (2018), Toy Story 4 (2019), A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019); and his post-production projects are Greyhound (2020), BIOS (2020) and News of the World (2020). Following his contributions as an actor and filmmaker, Tom Hanks’ career has been adorned with many accolades including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which he received from the former US President, Barrack Obama in 2016.