Who is Samantha Lewes?

Samantha Lewes was a famous Hollywood actress during the 1980s. Known for her performances in many popular sitcoms, Samantha Lewes was the first wife of film star Tom Hanks. Tragically, she passed away on March 12, 2002, after a long battle with cancer.

Quick facts

Full nameSusan Jane Dillingham
Birthday November 29, 1952
Age69 years old
BirthplaceSan Diego, California, USA
Also known asSamantha Lewes, Samantha Hanks
Father’s nameJohn Raymond Dillingham
Mother’s nameHarriet Hall Dillingham
Height5 feet 4 inches
Weight55 kg
MeasurementsNot Available
Eye colorBrown
Hair colorLight brown
UniversityCalifornia State University
Marital statusDivorced
Name of ex-husbandTom Hanks
Net worthUSD 1 million

Early life, parents, and upbringing

Samantha’s real name is Susan Jane Dillingham. Her father John Raymond Dillingham was a US Marine. He served for the country during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.
John Raymond received many honors and accolades for his service to the country. He was also awarded the prestigious Purple Heart.

Samantha’s mother and Harriet Hall Dillingham was an English teacher. She worked at an elementary school and also spent a year in England as an exchange teacher.

Samantha Lewes with Tom Hanks

As John Raymond was in the military he was often posted to several countries and cities within the United States. The Dillingham family had to often move a lot because of John Raymond’s military background. They lived in many parts of the country including California, North and South Carolina, Hawaii, Florida, and Virginia.

Unfortunately, after spending many years together and raising three wonderful kids, John Raymond and Harriet Hall separated in 1962.

Samantha Lewes also has three siblings with whom she shared a very special bond.

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

Samantha Lewes birthday

Sam Lewes was born on November 29, 1952. She was born in San Diego, California, USA. Since she was born on November 29, her horoscope is Sagittarius. People having this horoscope are known for their intelligent, adventurous, and spiritual nature.

Religion, ethnicity, and nationality

Samantha is Christian. She is a US citizen as she was born in California, USA. Anyone born in the USA is a natural citizen of the country.

Educational background

Since her family moved around a lot, Samantha Lewes did not have a permanent school. It can be exciting because you get to meet new people however it can be depressing too at times as you may have to say goodbye to the ones you have had a friendship with. She and her siblings changed their schools often.

Samantha always dreamt of becoming a popular face on the screen. Soon after she completed high school, Sam decided to gain a degree in acting. It reflects her personality. She seems to be a creative and focused person who adores art and theatre.

She enrolled at California State University, Sacramento in order to obtain an acting degree. During her time at California State University, Samantha acted in many stage 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.

Height, and appearance

Samantha stood 5 feet and 4 inches tall. She weighed a total of 55 kilograms. Apart from this, Samantha was fair-skinned. She had light brown hair and brown-colored eyes.

Relationships and dating history

Samantha met her future husband, Tom Hanks at California State University where both Tom and Samantha were students. Initially, they were only good friends but the relationship between them blossomed and pretty soon, they started dating each other.

In 1977, Samantha became pregnant with her and Tom’s first child. They faced many financial issues during this time and 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.

By 1979, things had started to look a little more positive for the love birds. Hanks and Lewes relocated to New York to focus on their careers. After gaining some recognition as an actor and stand-up comedian, Hank was able to land the main role in the show Bosom Buddies.


Despite the improving finances, Tom and Samantha started experiencing marital troubles. 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, the Greyhound actor recalled his failed marriage and 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 gave birth to her son, Colin Hanks on November 24, 1977. He was born in Sacramento, California. The starlet enjoyed motherhood again when her daughter Elizabeth Hanks took birth on May 17, 1982.

Samantha was quite young when her first child was born. Despite facing monetary troubles, Samantha and her college sweetheart, Tom Hanks did everything to ensure that their kids had a good childhood.

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

In an interview with BBC, Tom Hanks described having children as one of the “greatest things” that could have happened to him. He described his life as a young dad and said, “I didn’t smoke pot. I didn’t do drugs; I was not a party boy. I didn’t drink too much; I went to bed at 10 minutes after 10 p.m.”

In 2019, during an interview with the New York Times, the actor revealed some of the regrets he had while raising his children. The Forrest Gump actor stated, “I start thinking about mistakes I made with my own 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.”

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

Samantha Lewes and Tom Hanks

Legendary Hollywood actor Tom Hanks was married to his college sweetheart, Samantha Lewes from 1978 to 1987. Due to this, the two are often associated with each other.

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.

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.

Samantha Lewes and Colin Hanks

Colin Hanks is Samantha Lewes’ oldest son. He was born on November 24, 1977.

Like his famous parents, Colin is also involved in the world of showbiz. He is known for his portrayal of 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 made an appearance on Dax Shepherd’s Armchair Expert Podcast and revealed some insights into his childhood and the relationship between his parents.

He said that he was about 8 or 9 years old when his parents separated. After their divorce, he moved to Sacramento with his mother. Likewise, he described visiting Tom in Los Angeles “every other weekend,” and during the summers.

According to Colin, his mother Samantha did not date much after her split from Tom Hanks. The That Thing You Do! actor mentioned that his mother had “found God” which caused her to choose a life of singlehood.

Additionally, Colin recalled not having much money in spite of 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.”

Furthermore, he described his stepmother Rita Wilson as the woman his dad was always meant to be with.

Samantha Lewes and Rita Wilson

After a failed marriage with Samantha Lewes, Tom Hanks got married for the second time in 1988 to actress Rita Wilson. In an interview with Esquire in 2006, Tom stated that he fell in love with Rita while he was married to Samantha Lewes.

Tom and Rita began dating each other during the filming of 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 also share two children together, Chester Hanks and Truman Hanks.

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.

Tom Hanks and Samantha

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. The beauty played the role of a customer in an episode of the show. The show revolved around a man who ends all ties with his family in order to be successful. James Coco, Patrick Cochran, and Viveka Davis were the main cast members of the show.

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.


Following her death, Lewes was buried in her hometown of Sacramento, California. 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.


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