Tom Hanks Typewriter Collection Includes One That Belonged to Leonardo DiCaprio

Tom Hanks’ typewriter collection is almost as famous as he is. A noted typewriter enthusiast, Hanks has also written about his collection. himself He even owns one used by Leonardo DiCaprio, his costar in Catch Me If You Can. In an interview with Alan Alda for Alda’s Clear + Vivid podcast, Hanks explains how he kept DiCaprio’s typewriter.

Leonardo DiCaprio stands with Tom Hanks at the Catch Me If You Can press conference
L-r: Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks | Andy Butterton – PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images

Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio shared more than screen time in ‘Catch Me If You Can’

In Catch Me If You Can, DiCaprio played real-life con artist Frank Abagnale while Hanks played the FBI Agent trying to catch him. Abagnale used a typewriter to forge some of his documents, such as government checks. 

“I think the most valuable typewriter I have is, oddly enough, an IBM Selectric that Leo DiCaprio used in the movie Catch Me If You Can,” Hanks told Alda. “It’s funny. I went to the propmaster after we were done shooting the scene and I said, ‘I will give you $25 for that IBM Seletric.’ He said okay and took $25. He said, ‘You know, you could’ve had it for free.’”

Leonardo DiCaprio’s is not the only famous typewriter he has

Among his collectible typewriters, Hanks also owns a famous author’s machine. 

“I have one typewriter I think that was owned by Mickey Spillane,” Hanks said. “I can’t prove he wrote anything on it but there’s a providence that says Mickey Spillane owned the typewriter. All my typewriters are worth about 60 bucks tops, and if I sign them they’re worth 62 bucks tops.”

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Hanks’ typewriter collection is getting out of control, the actor admits.

“At home, I probably have 15 scattered about the house but down at the office I have like 120  or something like that,” Hanks said. “I gotta start getting rid of them because my kids have said, ‘We’re not going to bury you with these things, dad. You’d better start giving them away.’”

The beginning of Tom Hanks’ typewriter collection

Like any superhero story, Hanks’ typewriter collection also has its own origin tale. Hanks shared it with Alda.

“A friend of mine was a year ahead of me in school,” Hanks said. “When he went off the college he gave me his high school typewriter which was a piece of junk. It was like a knockoff 1970s version of a very, very cheaply made, horribly constructed typewriter that you could type on. I had it for a couple of years. I was working in Cleveland as an actor and needed to get it fixed.”

Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio sit at a desk
L-R: Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks | DreamWorks SKG/Getty Images

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Hanks took his first typewriter to Detroit Avenue Business Machines. That’s when he learned what a real typewriter was and his obsession began.

[The owner] had a shop that was just jammed with every kind of 1000 key adding machines. He was also servicing, by that time, printers and copy machines. He said, ‘What can I do for you, young man?’ I said, ‘I need to have this typewriter serviced.’ He said, ‘Let me see the machine.’ He threw his hands up and said, ‘I will not touch it.’ I said, ‘Why? Isn’t it your job to repair business machines?’ He said, ‘Yes, I work on machines, not on toys and this is a toy.’ He lectured me for the better part of 20 minutes about what a true typewriter is. I walked out of there with a Hermes 2000 typewriter.

Tom Hanks, Clear + Vivid with Alan Alda, 2/24/2020

Source: Clear + Vivid with Alan Alda podcast