Tom Hanks has been outstanding this year

The actor has had an A1 year.

We already loved Tom Hanks. How couldn’t you? All those classic roles in films like Forrest GumpYou’ve Got MailThe Da Vinci CodeCast Away… the list goes on. This year, though, old Hanks has been more value than ever, and we’re not talking about his role in Sully.

You’re probably aware, unless you’ve been living in an internet-free zone, that there was the small matter of an intriguing photo that went viral. Why? Because the man in it looked like both Hanks and fellow legend Bill Murray, and it was basically impossible to tell which one it actually was. Though the woman in the picture had said “it’s totally Bill” posing with her son, some people online remained convinced that it was definitely Hanks in the picture.

Those people will have been sadly disappointed when Hanks confirmed the truth on Graham Norton’s BBC show, saying: “Well, I’ve been doing a pale imitation of Bill Murray for most of my career, so it actually works out. I know it’s not me because I did not take that picture! Unless I’ve had a cranial plate shift that is medicinal, that’s not me. I believe that’s Bill!”

Luckily, he was game enough to have a go at recreating the photo, just to keep everyone happy. Good old Tom.

There were other, less-publicised instances, though. The most recent comes in the form of the actor helping a fan win a bet by sending her a headshot in the post. Zena Gopal posted on Facebook a story about a competition her and her friends had started to see who could get a headshot from a famous person the fastest. She wrote to the actor explaining the bet and requesting a photo and about a month later she got her response – a typewritten letter on Hanx stationery and a Polaroid of Tom himself holding up the photo she’d sent him. Hero.

Zena Gopal – Over a few drinks one night about a month… | Facebook

Over a few drinks one night about a month ago, some friends and I made a bet to see who could get a headshot from a famous actor the fastest and we…

Then, there was the wedding photo shoot he crashed in New York’s Central Park in September. The couple involved, whose names have only been given as Elisabeth and Ryan, had just married in the city, and were taking a number of wedding photos in the Manhattan park when they were joined by their surprise guest.

As the Daily Telegraph reported at the time, the couple were having their photos taken by New York City photographer Meg Miller when Hanks, who’d been jogging around the park at the time, came over to pass on his congratulations. The actor even offered to ordain their ceremony for them, jokingly saying: “You know, I am an ordained minister. If the guy cancels let me know.” We’d have cancelled any previous bookings on the spot.

Elizabeth and Ryan! Congrats and blessings! Hanx.

A photo posted by Tom Hanks (@tomhanks) on

He also indulged in the Mannequin Challenge at the White House. We normally wouldn’t encourage this sort of behaviour, but if you are going to partake in silly crazes you might as well do them at the White House with Bruce Springsteen, eh?

There was also the time he recreated his rap from the movie Big. Hanks starred as 12-year-old Josh Baskin who is trapped in a 30-year-old man’s body in the film. Set in New York City, Baskin soon begins working at MacMillen Toy Company. Hanks’ true identity is revealed after he performs the rap.

A blurb on the YouTube video explains that filmmakers Wesley Chan and Philip Wang went to Florence, Italy to meet their “boss” Ron Howard. Wang is later seen asking Hanks to perform the Big rap with him, which you can watch below around 3:42. Doesn’t it take you back?

Or how about his episode of Desert Island Discs? Tom’s tracks weren’t particularly cool or leftfield, but his stories, his charm and sheer charisma made it one of the finest 40 minutes of radio we’ve heard since the comedian Kathy Burke went on the same show back in 2010.

From Dusty Springfield stirring his loins, to his love for his wife of 28 years, the actress and Rita Wilson, or his lovely turn of phrase (“I chewed up school like a delicious meal”), Tom’s tales showed off a genuine warmth and humour that made us feel all gooey inside.

The real heartbreaker though was when Tom broke down in tears as he spoke about why he decided to get involved in theatre – to deal with his feelings of loneliness. “What have you done to me!” he said to Kirsty as sobbed gently. “I’ve put far too much thought into this list.”

Tom Hanks, we salute you. You’ve been a constant delight in a year when there hasn’t been all that much to smile about. What a legend.