According to Ancestry.com, actor Tom Hanks is far from the man he plays in a next film: Fred Rogers.
They are first cousins, by descent, who share the same great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather, Johannes Mefford. Mefford came to America in the 18th century, Ancestry reports, and three of his sons served as American soldiers during the Revolutionary War.
Fred Rogers’ great-great-great-great-great-grandfather, William, served in the Navy and was captured by the British in 1782, according to Ancestry. He was detained on a prison boat in Barbados and Antigua until his release 10 months later.
Tom Hanks’ great-great-great-great-grandfather apparently fought in a skirmish at Chesapeake Bay.
“So Rogers and Hanks not only share the same ancestor, they also descend from two brothers who fought for American independence,” Ancestry said in a statement.
“Access Hollywood” asked Hanks about his family tree as he walked the red carpet in New York on Sunday evening for the film’s premiere.
“No, impossible. No, you’re pulling our leg!” Hanks’ wife Rita Wilson said. “It’s crazy!”
“Everything comes together, you see,” said Hanks. “I would like to see if Johnny Depp is related to Fred Rogers, can you find him on Ancestry.com?”
“A beautiful day in the neighborhood” is already broadcast in some places and will be broadcast throughout the country on Friday.
The film focuses on the host of the beloved children’s show who fought for public television and advocated for children to be heard.
Rogers, who died in 2003 at the age of 74, was praised for his avant-garde wisdom and gentle nature. “Mister Rogers’s Neighborhood” lasted 31 seasons and ended in 2001.
Last year, filmmaker Morgan Neville, who directed Rogers’ documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”, Said TODAY that there was more to mankind than mere platitudes.
“The stereotype of Fred Rogers is that he is a two-dimensional milquetoast who spoke in hot bromides, but the reality is that he was an iron will man on a mission to fight for good,” said Neville.