Samantha Lewes biography- First wife of Tom Hanks

Who is Samantha Lewes?

Samantha Lewes was a Hollywood actress and film producer, but people seldomly know that she was the first wife of Tom Hanks.

Lewes appeared in an episode of the ABC sitcom Bosom Buddies in 1981 and the TV movie Mr. Success in 1984.

After a lengthy marriage to Tom, she eventually divorced him in 1987. Despite not reaching the same level of fame as her ex-husband, Samantha Lewes was still an important part of Tom’s life, as she was the one who helped shape him into the man he is today.

She passed away on March 12, 2002, after a long battle with cancer.

Samantha Lewes biography

Quick facts

Full nameSusan Jane Dillingham
Commonly known as Samantha Hanks (nee Lewes)
BirthdayNovember 29, 1952
DeathMarch 12, 2002
Age49 years old
Sun signSagittarius
TraitsPositive: Intelligent, adventurous, and spiritual nature
Negative: Very blunt, inconsistent, short-tempered and over-confident
BirthplaceSan Diego, California, USA
Last residenceSacramento, California, USA
ParentsJohn Raymond Dillingham,
Harriet Hall Dillingham
SiblingsMichael Dillingham,
Bruce Dillingham,
Eric Dillingham
Marital statusDivorced
SpouseThomas Jeffrey Hanks (m. 1978–1987)
ChildrenColin Hanks, 
Elizabeth Ann Hanks
EducationCalifornia State University
Net worthUSD 1 million
Social mediaNone
Height5 feet 4 inches
MeasurementsNot Available
Eye colorBrown
Hair ColorLight brown

Early life

Samantha Lewes with Tom Hanks

Samantha Lewes’ real name is Susan Jane Dillingham. She was born on November 29, 1952, in San Diego, California, USA, to John Raymond Dillingham and Harriet Hall Dillingham.

Her sun sign is Sagittarius. People having this horoscope are known for their intelligent, adventurous, and spiritual nature.

Since her family moved around because of the nature of his father’s job, Lewes did not have a permanent school. It can be exciting because you get to meet new people; however, it can also be depressing at times, as you may have to say goodbye to the ones you have become friends with.

She and her siblings changed schools often. Samantha always dreamt of becoming a popular face on the screen. Soon after she completed high school, Sam decided to earn an acting degree.

She is a creative and focused person who adores art and theatre.

She enrolled at California State University, Sacramento, to obtain an acting degree. While at California State University, Samantha acted in many stages plays. Her experience taught her the ins and outs of what it took to be a great actress.

It was, in fact, during this time that she adopted the stage name Samantha Lewes and met Tom Hanks.

Samantha stood 5 feet and 4 inches tall. Apart from this, Samantha was fair-skinned. She had light brown hair and brown-colored eyes.


Samantha Lewes Parents
Samantha Lewes Parents

Samantha Lewes’ father, John Raymond Dillingham, was a US Marine. He served the country during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Additionally, her father was awarded the Purple Heart. 

As her father was in the military, they moved and lived in many parts of the country, including California, North and South Carolina, Hawaii, Florida, and Virginia.

Samantha’s mother, Harriet Hall Dillingham, was an English teacher. She worked at an elementary school and spent a year in England as an exchange teacher. Unfortunately, after spending many years together and raising three wonderful kids, John Raymond and Harriet Hall separated in 1962. 

After their divorce, Samantha’s mother moved to northern California to remain closer to her brother, David, and her daughter.

Samantha Lewes has three siblings- Michael, Bruce, and Eric Dillingham.


Samantha Lewes met Tom Hanks at California State University, where both Tom and Samantha were students. Initially, they were only good friends, but their relationship blossomed, and pretty soon, they started dating each other.

In 1977, Lewes became pregnant with Tom’s first child. Unfortunately, both were young and didn’t have sufficient finances. The couple struggled to provide properly for their child. Samantha and Tom finally tied the knot on January 24, 1978, a year after the birth of their son.

In 1979, things started to look a little more positive for the Hank couple. They relocated to New York to focus on their careers. After gaining some recognition as an actor and stand-up comedian, Hank landed the main role in Bosom Buddies.

Even though finances improved, Tom and Samantha started experiencing marital troubles. Finally, after six years of marriage, the couple split up and started living separately in 1984. Their divorce was finalized on March 19, 1987.

In an interview with Express, Tom said, “A broken marriage meant I was sentencing my own kids to the sort of feelings I had at their age. I was just too young and insecure for marriage. I was 23 and my son Colin was already 2 when I married for the first time. I was not really ready to take on those responsibilities.”

Samantha Lewes’ older son, Colin Hank, confirmed in an interview that after Hanks divorced Lewes, she did not date anyone. Additionally, he recalled not having much money despite being the son of a Hollywood superstar. He recalled his mother saying, “We don’t have the money. … Your dad has that. We don’t have that.”

Tom Hanks

Tom Hanks

Tom Hanks was born on July 9, 1956. He is an actor and filmmaker. Likewise, Tom’s films have grossed more than USD 4.9 billion in North America and more than USD 9.96 billion worldwide.

He was married to his college sweetheart, Samantha Lewes, from 1978 to 1987. Due to this, the two are often associated with each other.

Tom is the winner of two consecutive Academy Awards. The actor won the Best Actor award for his performance as a gay lawyer suffering from AIDS in Philadelphia and for his role in Forrest Gump. Similarly, he has also won 7 Primetime Emmy Awards for his work as a producer of various limited series and television movies.

After divorcing Samantha Lewes, Hanks married actress Rita Wilson in 1988. In an interview with Esquire in 2006, Tom stated that he fell in love with Rita while married to Samantha Lewes.

Tom and Rita began dating each other while filming their film Volunteers. The couple has been happily married for 43 years, and their togetherness proves that not all Hollywood marriages are destined to fail. Likewise, Hanks and Wilson share two children, Chester Hanks, and Truman Hanks.

Samantha Lewes children

Tom Hanks with wife Rita Wilson, son Colin Hanks, and daughter Elizabeth Hanks

Samantha Lewes gave birth to her first child Colin Hanks, on November 24, 1977, in Sacramento, California. She was relatively young when her first child was born. 

But, despite facing monetary troubles, Samantha and her college sweetheart, Tom Hanks, did everything to ensure their kids had a good childhood. Colin is also involved in the world of showbiz. He is known for portraying Shaun Brumder in the film Orange County, Preston in King Kong, and Gus Grimly in the TV series Fargo.

Colin Hanks was deeply affected by his mother’s death. The actor appeared on Dax Shepherd’s Armchair Expert Podcast and revealed some insights into his childhood and the relationship between his parents.

The starlet enjoyed motherhood again when her daughter Elizabeth Hanks took birth on May 17, 1982.

In 2019, during an interview with the New York Times, the actor revealed his regrets while raising his children. The Forrest Gump actor stated, “I start thinking about mistakes I made with my kids and not explaining things or not being there for them. Or being so preoccupied with other things that are going on in our adult world.”

Besides her children, Samantha Lewes had two step-sons, born from Hanks’ second marriage to Rita Wilson. Their names are Chester Hanks and Truman Hanks.

Related: Truman Hanks biography

Samantha Lewes career

After graduating from California State University, Lewes made her television debut in the ABC sitcom Bosom Buddies in 1981. The actress appeared in the show’s first season in an episode named Cahoots. Samantha played the role of a waitress in the episode.

Including Samantha, Bosom Buddies also starred other notable actors and actresses such as Donna Dixon, Holland Taylor, Peter Scolari, and Telma Hopkins. Her then-boyfriend Tom Hanks was also a part of the show’s cast. Coincidentally, Tom’s second wife, Rita Wilson, was also a cast member, and the two of them met for the first time during the sitcom’s filming.

After a short appearance in Bosom Buddies, Samantha Lewes was cast in Jack Shea’s telefilm Mr. Success. Beauty played the role of a customer in an episode of the show. The show revolves around a man who ends all ties with his family to be successful. James Coco, Patrick Cochran, and Viveka Davis were the show’s main cast members.

Samantha Lewes death

During a routine checkup, the doctors discovered that Samantha Lewes was suffering from bone cancer. Unfortunately, Samantha’s cancer had already spread to her brain and lungs due to which the doctors declared that the Mr. Success actress only had a few months to live.

Her ex-husband, Tom Hanks, was devastated after hearing the news about her cancer diagnosis. Despite their divorce, Samantha and Tom had remained friends. Thus, Tom offered to help his ex-wife and hired a specialist to treat Samantha’s illness.

However, it was too late, and after a long battle with cancer, Samantha Lewes succumbed to her illness at the age of 50. The actress left for heavenly abode on March 12, 2002. She was surrounded by her loved ones at the time of her death.

Lewes was buried in her hometown of Sacramento, California after her death. The actress’s site of burial is in East Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery. Her funeral was attended by many notable Hollywood celebrities, including her ex-husband, Tom Hanks.

net worth

At the time of her death, the TV actress was estimated to have a net worth of USD 1 million. Owing to her impressive net worth, Lewes led a pretty comfortable lifestyle. However, the actress did struggle financially after her divorce from Tom Hanks.


When did Samantha Lewes die?

Samantha passed away on March 12, 2002, due to bone cancer.

Does Tom Hanks have a child?

Tom Hanks has four children. His children Colin and Elizabeth were born from Tom’s marriage to the late actress Samantha Lewes. Moreover, his children Chester and Truman were born during his marriage to Rita Wilson.

What movies did Samantha Lewes play in?

Samantha Lewes was a TV star. She appeared in shows like Mr. Success and Bosom Buddies.

Who was Tom Hanks’ first wife?

Samantha Lewes was a TV star. She appeared in shows like Mr. Success and Bosom Buddies.

Has Tom Hanks been married before?

Before his 43-year-long marriage to Rita Wilson, Hanks married Samantha Lewes for six years. The couple divorced in 1987.

Similar Posts