Greece’s government is extending its offer of citizenship to Tom Hanks to his wife and their two children, in recognition of the family's help in assisting victims of a deadly wildfire near Athens in 2018.
Last month, Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos signed an honorary naturalization order allowing the 63-year-old actor, who has spent his recent summer vacations at a family home on the Greek island of Antiparos, to claim Greek citizenship.
The decision published in a government gazette Tuesday and co-signed by Greek Interior Minister Takis Theodorikakos, revealed that the order also includes Hanks’ wife, actress and producer Rita Wilson, and their two sons, Chester and Truman.
The wildfire killed more than 100 people in July 2018, sweeping through the coastal town of Mati and other nearby resorts east of Athens.
“The Hanks family gave a signal all over the world for immediate relief actions to help our fire-stricken fellow citizens,” the order signed on Dec. 27 said. It added that in their effort to assist charity efforts they had provided “exceptional services to Greece.”
Honorary naturalization, under Greek law, may be granted to people “who have provided exceptional services to the country or whose naturalization serves the public interest.”
Hanks became an Orthodox Christian before his second marriage in 1988 to Rita Wilson, who is of Greek and Bulgarian descent.
Hanks, Wilson, and Hollywood producer Gary Goetzman co-produced the 2002 romantic comedy, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, which received an Academy Award nomination for best original screenplay.
In a post on Instagram last week, Hanks said: “Starting 2020 as an Honorary citizen of all of Greece! Kronia pola! (more or less, ‘Many years to you!’). Hanx”
The post shows the shadow of Hanks holding up his left arm against an ancient Greek statue. [AP]