Hartford Courant

Hanks to address Harvard graduates


Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks was named the principal speaker at Harvard’s commenceme­nt May 25, the Ivy League university announced Tuesday.

Hanks, 66, has appeared in almost 100 films. Nominated for an Academy Award six times, he won best actor for “Philadelph­ia” in 1993 and “Forrest Gump” the following year.

Harvard President Lawrence Bacow called Hanks “a true master of his craft.”

“In addition to his brilliance as an actor, Tom has demonstrat­ed both an innate empathy and a deep understand­ing of the human condition,” Bacow said in a statement. “He has contribute­d to our national culture and expanded our ability to appreciate stories and histories that have been previously unexamined.”

Hanks is also known for his philanthro­pic work and advocacy, such as raising support for the national World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. Following his performanc­e in “Philadelph­ia” as a lawyer with AIDS, Hanks became an advocate for AIDS awareness and a supporter of the Foundation for AIDS Research.

Nelson honored with educationa­l endowment:

Willie Nelson, who in the 1980s helped launch the Farm Aid benefit concerts, is the namesake of the new Willie Nelson Endowment for Uplifting Rural Communitie­s at the University of Texas’ LBJ School of Public Affairs, the school announced Wednesday.

The endowment will fund research and student fellowship­s benefiting rural and farm communitie­s. The country music icon, 89, has raised more than $70 million for family

farm owners through Farm Aid, according to the school, which also plans to honor the Texas native at a May gala.

Nelson will receive the LBJ Foundation’s Liberty and Justice for All award.

Musician Stone memoir to be released:

Questlove has his own book imprint and is launching it with a memoir by one of the world’s most influentia­l and enigmatic musicians, Sly Stone, leader of Sly and the Family Stone.

“Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin),” named for the Sly and the Family Stone hit, will be released Oct. 17 through Questlove’s AUWA Books imprint, part of Macmillan Publishers. The memoir is co-written by Ben Greenman and will track Stone’s rise to the heights of stardom in the late 1960s to his long decline and virtual disappeara­nce from the music scene.

“For as long as I can remember folks have been asking me to tell my story,” said Stone, 80 who was born Sylvester Stewart, in a statement Wednesday. “I wasn’t ready. I had to be in a new frame of mind to become Sylvester Stewart again to tell the true story of Sly Stone. It’s been a wild ride and hopefully my fans enjoy it too.”

A Grammy-winning musician and creator of the Oscar-winning documentar­y “Summer of Soul,” Questlove is also planning a film about Stone.

March 23 birthdays:

Singer Chaka Khan is 70. Actor Hope Davis is 59. Actor Marin Hinkle is 57. Musician Damon Albarn is 55. Actor Kelly Perine is 54. Comedian Reggie Watts is 51. Actor Randall Park is 49. Actor Michelle Monaghan is 47. Actor Keri Russell is 47. Actor Nicholle Tom is 45. Singer Brett Young is 42.

 ?? ANDY KROPA/INVISION ?? Tom Hanks, seen Jan. 9, will be the principal speaker at Harvard’s commenceme­nt.
ANDY KROPA/INVISION Tom Hanks, seen Jan. 9, will be the principal speaker at Harvard’s commenceme­nt.

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