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Tom Hanks credits Cleveland native for shaping his career

In a first-person essay for AARP, Tom Hanks credited his time in Cleveland -- and the friends he made -- for shaping his legendary acting career.
Credit: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
Actor Tom Hanks poses at the premiere of the film "Simple Wedding" at the 2018 Los Angeles Film Festival, Friday, Sept. 21, 2018, in Culver City, Calif. Hanks' wife Rita Wilson is a cast member and executive producer of the film. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Tom Hanks says wouldn't have gone on to enjoy one of the most successful careers in entertainment history if not for his time in Cleveland -- and the friends he made during his stay.

Writing a first-person essay for AARP to promote his new Fred Rogers biopic, "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood," the 2-time Academy Award winner recalled his time in Northeast Ohio, where he spent three years working for the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival.

During his time in Cleveland, Hanks met a pair of actors named George Maguire and Michael John McGann, who he said were instrumental in shaping his future career.

"These two actors shared their joyful lives and professional passion with all of us in the company," Hanks wrote. "When I was around them in the dressing room, in the wings, at the bar after the show or taking in the Feast of the Assumption in Cleveland’s Murray Hill, they were the professionals I admired, examples of the kind of actor I wanted to be — and the kind of human being I hoped to become."

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Hanks went on to reveal that it was MichaelJohn -- a Cleveland native -- who not only encouraged him to travel to New York to further his acting career, but made the drive with him to the Tri-State area. There, Hanks said he slept on MichaelJohn's couch as the friends he made in Cleveland showed him not only the ropes of the acting world, but life.

"They were, and are, my friends," Hankes wrote. "You would not be reading these words otherwise."

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