Photo by John Bauld
When you think about A-list actors, only a few names come to mind. But no matter who you ask, the legendary Tom Hanks will surely be mentioned. He has been prolific in his time in Hollywood, winning two Oscars, several Primetime Emmys, and a handful of Golden Globes.
While Hanks is a generational talent on screenonscreen, his hairline has experienced some ups and downs along the way. Sources reveal that Hanks did indeed have a hair transplant at least once in his career, but what can we gather about this story from visual cues and other insights?
Let’s dive into Tom Hank’s hair transplant story and determine exactly when, where, and how he transformed his hairline at the most pivotal points in his career. We hope to give today’s hair transplant patients some guidance that can make their own experiences that much better.
Tom Hanks hit the big screen in the 1980s with lighthearted comedies like Splash and Bachelor Party. Who knew at the time that this fun-loving fellow with a bouncy head of hair would be one of the greatest screen actors of the century?
Audiences loved Hanks’ breezy demeanor in these early movies, which was on full display in Big and Turner & Hooch. It also helped that the young Hanks sported some long, curly hair that sat on his head with considerable volume and height.
This hair was common among men at the time, with a permed look that still maintained a natural appearance. Considering Hanks was in his early 30s at the time, he was fairly lucky to fend off any form of balding, at least to public knowledge.
It may have been a mix of hair products and 80s movie magic, but it seemed like Hanks’ hairline went strong for the first leg of his career with no major setbacks.
It didn’t take long for the Hollywood kingmakers to catch onto Hanks’ talents and start casting him in major roles once the 90s rolled around. He made a splash in A League of Their Own and Sleepless in Seattle, but his big dramatic breakthrough was 1993’s Philadelphia, which won Hanks the Academy Award for best actor that year.
His career was heating up, but his hairline was not in great shape by the time he was cast in his biggest role yet, Forrest Gump, in 1994. Now in his late 30s, Hanks was showing some signs of male pattern balding, including thinning and receding on the hairline to the temples and perhaps the vertex of the scalp.
While Hanks knocked it out of the park with his performance, fans and critics were questioning whether his hairline would be a limiting factor in his career moving forward. Around this time, newer actors with youthful hairlines – think DiCaprio and Depp – were on the scene and making waves.
Thankfully, Hanks was able to power through the next several years with sheer talent and will, proving that you don’t need a flawless hairline to make a name for yourself as a serious Hollywood actor.
In fact, this stage of Hanks’ career is widely considered his most definitive, with incredible roles in Apollo 13, Saving Private Ryan, and The Green Mile. Critics point out that Hanks’ minor alopecia brought more humanity to his onscreen persona and helped viewers to look beyond his physical appearance to observe his craft at its best.
Hanks has made it known that he underwent at least one hair transplant procedure in his career, but it’s not totally clear when the first surgery occurred. Based on films and photos from the late 90s, our best guess is that Hanks had his initial procedure sometime between 1997 and 1998, since he appears to have far more coverage in The Green Mile than in Apollo 13.
Compare side-by-side shots of Hanks in these two films, and the differences should be clear. In his astronaut role, Hanks was showing major thinning and distinctive M-shaped Norwood Scale balding on either side of his head.
However, most of that hair seems to be restored in the latter Stephen King adaptation, even though Hanks still has a mature hairline in Mile. It seems that his first procedure was not major but rather filled in some key gaps in his hairline to achieve more coverage.
We can fairly suspect that Hanks had a minor FUT procedure at this time, since this was the predominant methodology at the time. There’s also a chance that Hanks was one of the first celebrities to try FUE hair transplant, since the technology was only just introduced.
The transplant was clearly successful, and it didn’t draw too much controversy at the time. Hanks was smart to undergo a smaller procedure to solidify a mature hairline rather than going all-out to restore a youthful hairline that didn’t make sense with his age and stature.
Since his first hair transplant, Hanks has been hard at work doing what he does: making movies and winning awards. However, his hairline did have some difficulties throughout the middle part of his career in the 2000s until today.
We can see some further receding in his Da Vinci Code films, and it’s clear that he sported a faux buzz cut in films like Cloud Atlas. Today, fans are just happy to see Hanks onscreen and aren’t overly critical of his hair.
However, Hanks did reveal that he “topped up” his hairline with an FUE procedure around 2014, which shows his long-term vision and discipline. This approach keeps his hairline strong without overharvesting from the donor area.
What can we learn from Tom Hanks’ hair saga? There are a few takeaways worth noting for those seeking their first hair transplant today.
Hanks clearly had some balding in the 90s, but he didn’t let that stop him from furthering his career. Rather than rushing a hair transplant and risking a bad outcome, he took the time to research and do it right.
That shows restraint and long-term thinking, which are rewarded in the hair restoration field.
Hanks might have been one of the first to try FUE hair transplant methods, which means you should also look into the latest, cutting-edge tech available to you.
Industry leaders like Dr. Jae Pak are always setting the bar higher for technology, technique, and artistry, so use these to your advantage as a client.
Just one hair transplant procedure can last you many years, but there’s always more to be done to keep your hairline looking great. This means following up with your physician and clinic to get the latest treatments and consider follow-up procedures if necessary.
As far as celebrity hair transplants go, Tom Hanks seems to have done everything right, despite facing some technological and medical limitations at the time of his original procedure. This proves that expertise, planning, and proper recovery go a long way in ensuring you get the most from your hair transplant, whether you’re a Hollywood A-Lister or not.
As we look back on Tom Hanks’ career, his achievements are nothing less than astounding. His work and his hairline should be an inspiration to you as well, showing that anything is possible with the right approach and commitment to the craft.
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