Tom Hanks is related to his latest movie portrayal: Mr. Rogers
This image released by Sony Pictures shows Tom Hanks as Mister Rogers in a scene from "A Beautiful Day In the Neighborhood," in theaters on Nov. 22. (Lacey Terrell/Sony-Tristar Pictures via AP)
As it turns out, actor Tom Hanks is a distant relative to his latest big-screen character.
According to Ancestry.com, Hanks is the sixth cousin of Fred Rogers, better known as Mr. Rogers, the children’s television personality he plays in his latest film: “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.”
Hanks and Rogers share the same fifth-great-grandfather, Johannes Mefford, who was born in Germany back in 1732 and who eventually immigrated to the United States.
“Ancestry has helped millions of people discover the story of what led to them, including the remarkable connection between Fred Rogers and Tom Hanks,” Jennifer Utley, the research director at Ancestry, said in a news release. “It’s no surprise they are related as the similarities between the two are uncanny.”
Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, were told about Hanks’ familial connection to Rogers on Tuesday, during a screening of his latest flick in New York City.
“You’re pulling our leg,” Wilson said in an interview with Access Hollywood from the red carpet. “This is crazy.”
Hanks offered a much more subdued reaction, joking: “I would like to see if Johnny Depp is related to Fred Rogers. Can you find out from Ancestry.com?”
Ancestry also notes Rogers and Hanks are descendants of brothers who served in the Revolutionary War. Rogers’ fourth-great-grandfather, William Mefford, was captured by the British in 1782 and spent 10 months on a prison ship in Barbados and Antigua before he was released.
Hanks’ fourth-great-grandfather, Jacob Mefford, joined the war as a private and fought at Chesapeake Bay, an estuary shared with Maryland and Virginia that served as a battleground in the war.
“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” is scheduled for theatrical release this weekend.