What happened to Tom Hanks ex-wife Samantha Lewes?

Before Tom Hanks tied the knot with Rita Wilson and the pair became one of the most influential couples in Hollywood, Tom was married to fellow actor, Samantha Lewes. The pair married young and Samantha became the mother to two of Tom’s eldest children, Colin and Elizabeth Hanks. Even though the pair divorced in 1987, they continued to remain good friends over the years. But unfortunately, Samantha was diagnosed with bone cancer and passed away in 2002. Even though Samantha never revealed a ton about herself, she did have some brief stints here and there. In this article, we will take a closer look at the wiki-bio of Samantha Lewes.

Early Life:

Samantha Lewes was born as Susan Jane Dillingham on the 29th of November 1952, in San Diego, California. She is the daughter of Harriet Hall Dillingham & John Raymond Dillingham. Born and raised in San Diego, little is known about Susan’s early life and the late actress didn’t reveal much. After graduating high school, Samantha enrolled at the Sacramento State University and met Tom Hanks.

Tom Hanks ex-wife Samantha Lewes

Career and Marriage:

Samantha had little joy in her career and only made a handful of appearances. Her first role came in Bosom Buddies in 1980 and was followed by an appearance in the 1984 movie, Mr. Success.

Tom and Samantha began dating during their time at University and had their first child, Colin Hanks in 1977. The pair were not yet married during the time. The following year, a 21-year old Tom tied the knot with Samantha and had a daughter, Elizabeth Hanks in May of 1982. Talking about his first marriage, Tom revealed,

“I had kids very young. My son Colin was born when I was 21 and my daughter Elizabeth was born four and a half years later. By then I thought I was rolling along with the natural order of things.”

While the pair struggled financially, they were determined to make things work. However, as the years rolled down, Tom was not so sure about his marriage to Samantha. So, the pair called things off on the 19th of March, 1987. Talking about his decision, Tom revealed,

“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. The rules were in place. I’m not a cheater. I like to play by the rules. But later on, you’re 27, 28, you’ve learned what to say ‘yes’ to with more judiciousness.”

Bone Cancer and Other Troubles:

Following the pair’s divorce, Samantha erased herself from the media and never made a comeback. She was focused on raising her two children and wanted to make sure they had the life they deserved. However, Samantha was diagnosed with cancer in the early 2000s. After her illness was disclosed, Tom hired a specialist to help her but the cancer had already spread. Samantha passed away on the 12th of March 2002 and Tom was devastated by the news. Even though the pair had gone their separate ways, they had remained good friends over the years.


Although Samantha did not live long enough to see her children as grown-ups, they indeed have established themselves in their respective fields. Among the two, Collin Hanks is the most popular one and followed in his father’s footsteps as an actor. Colin has acted in the movies such as Orange County, King Kong, The House Bunny, The Great Buck Howard, and the Jumanji film series. Collin gives Samantha two grandchildren Olivia Jane Hanks, and Charlotte Bryant Hanks with his wife Samantha Bryant.

The second born of Hanks Children, Elizabeth Ann Hanks has opted for a different career path though not a lack of trying. As a child actor, she appeared in Forrest Gump (1994), That Thing You Do! (1996), starring her father in the lead role. However, the early exposure to show business did little to shape up her acting career. She went on to study at Vassar College and graduate with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Language and Literature. Elizabeth currently works as a writer. She has written for several publications and magazines such as The Awl, Jezebel, The New York Times, The Guardian, Vanity Fair, and Time Magazine.”

Wiki/Bio Facts:

Full NameSamantha Lewes
Birth NameSusan Jane Dillingham
BirthdateNovember 29, 1952
BirthplaceSan Diego, California, United States
DeathdateMarch 12, 2002
ParentsHarriet Hall Dillingham, John Raymond Dillingham
EducationSacramento State University
HusbandTom Hanks (m. 1978–1987)
ChildrenColin Hanks, Elizabeth Ann Hanks
GrandchildrenCharlotte Bryant Hanks, Olivia Jane Hanks

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