Why Tom Hanks Once Said His ‘Biggest Claim To Fame’ Was All Because Of Paula Abdul

Tom Hanks got his Oscar nomination for Big. The 1988 comedy was pivotal in making Hanks a proper movie star. Much of the success of this film, and therefore arguably Hanks’s whole career, comes from the mind of Paula Abdul. Here’s how she helped launch Hanks into superstardom.

Two Stars On The Rise

Before Big, Hanks spent about a decade trying to make it big. He landed a lead role in Bosom Buddies and subsequently got a guest spot on Happy Days. The programs turned the head of Ron Howard, who cast Hanks in Splash in 1984. The mermaid-based comedy became a surprise hit, setting him up to land a few more films over the next few years, like The Money Pit and Dragnet.

Meanwhile, Abdul was also getting her start in Los Angeles. A talented dancer, Abdul was plucked out of college to become one of the vaunted Laker Girls. She soon became the squad’s head choreographer before moving into the music video game. 

Abdul befriended the Jacksons thanks to her Los Angeles Lakers connection and soon began doing choreography for the whole Jackson family. She laid out the dance moves for The Jackson’s huge Victory tour in 1984, and for smash hits like Janet Jackson’s “Nasty” and “Control.”

A Very Famous Scene

Abdul and Hanks’ paths crossed in Big. Abdul was the one responsible for choreographing the legendary giant keyboard dance routine with Hanks and Robert Loggia. Even if you haven’t seen the film, the scene made an indelible mark in popular culture. The likes of…

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