Updated: Sat, 19 Oct 2013 17:15:00 GMT | By Emma Jones
Hanks for the memories: Tom's onscreen accomplishments

He discovered mermaids

He discovered mermaids (© Rex Features)
  • Captain Phillips (© Rex Features)
  • He discovered mermaids (© Rex Features)
  • He aged overnight (© Rex Features)
  • He jumped into a volcano (© Rex Features)
  • He ran across America (© Rex Features)
  • He went to space (© Rex Features)
  • He saved Private Ryan (© Rex Features)
  • He popularized AOL (© Rex Features)
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In one of his earliest onscreen incarnations, Tom Hanks played Allen Bauer, a fruit and veg wholesaler who discovers that mermaids are more than just mythical lady-beasts with scaly stems. They were in fact real beings, with no concept of underwear, a good grasp of beachy hairstyling and an insatiable taste for freshly caught shellfish (sorry Sebastian). The discovery made in Ron Howard’s Splash turned Hanks into an overnight sensation, giving him his first big box office success and opening the door to all kinds of wild exploits.