Samantha Lewes

Samantha Lewes: Death, Net Worth, Husband and Biography & More

In the entertainment sector, actress Samantha Lewes rose to prominence as the lead in the television series “Bosom Buddies” (1981) on ABC and the film Mr. Success (1984). Being Tom Hanks’ first wife, she had a closer contact with Hollywood than most people think. While they were in college, they were a young couple when their story started. Samantha was twenty-five and Tom was twenty-one when they tied the knot.

The couple’s life wasn’t all glamour and shine, though. They experienced their fair share of financial hardships, at times barely making ends meet. In late 1977, their son Colin was born, and four and a half years later, Elizabeth. In 1979, the family moved to New York City in search of better opportunities. Tom pursued his performing and comedic goals there, gradually becoming well-known.

Next came “Splash,” the 1984 movie that made Tom a household name and changed the course of his career. However, his union with Samantha was collapsing behind closed doors. His personal life remained chaotic despite his job stabilizing. The pair ultimately called it quits in 1987.

After the divorce, Samantha went into withdrawal and led a quiet life. In 2002, she sadly lost her battle with bone cancer. Samantha Lewes was an actress, a loving wife, and a mother who left a lasting legacy despite her brief life.

Samantha Lewes Childhood & Early Life

On November 29, 1952, Samantha Lewes—originally called Susan Jane Dillingham—was born in sunny San Diego, California. Her family had a long tradition of study and service. In the US Marine Corps during three major conflicts—the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and World War II—her father, John Raymond Dillingham, gave his all. He received multiple military decorations for his valor, including the esteemed Purple Heart. As an English teacher, Samantha’s mother, Harriet Hall Dillingham, shared her passion of learning at home. She even went on a year-long teaching exchange to England.

Growing up, Samantha and her three siblings experienced the nomadic life typical of military families. Their parents parted ways in 1962, and they found themselves under the nurturing care of their mother. Their childhood was a patchwork of experiences across various states, from California to North and South Carolina, Hawaii to Florida, and even Virginia. Eventually, their mother made the decision to settle the family in northern California, where they could be closer to her brother, David.

Amidst the constant change, Samantha’s upbringing was shaped by resilience, adaptability, and the bond of family.

Samantha Lewes Education & Career

Early on in life, Samantha Lewes developed a strong passion for acting, which motivated her to follow her goals of being an actress after high school. She studied performing art at California State University, Sacramento, where she refined her skills. She entered a realm where she could bring characters to life at this time and took on the stage name Samantha Lewes.

Her big break came in 1981 when she made a cameo on the popular sitcom “Bosom Buddies.” She played a waitress in the “Cahoots” episode, bringing her particular flare to the colorful characters’ hilarious antics. Chris Thompson, Thomas L. Miller, and Robert L. Boyett created the sitcom “Bosom Buddies,” which won over fans over throughout its two seasons on ABC. It starred Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari, with Samantha’s future husband, Hanks, meeting his second wife, Rita Wilson, on set.

In 1984, Samantha landed another role, this time in Jack Shea’s telefilm ‘Mr. Success’. The storyline delved into the sacrifices one makes for success, with Samantha portraying a customer amidst a talented cast that included James Coco, Patrick Cochran, and Viveka Davis.

Despite Samantha Lewes’s short career in show business, her gifts to the audience—including those who enjoyed seeing her talents on screen—left a lasting impression.

Samantha Lewes Relationship with Tom Hanks And Children

While attending California State University, Sacramento, Susan Dillingham and Tom Hanks met paths. This led to a romantic relationship that resulted in the birth of their family in early 1977. Notwithstanding the difficulties, on November 24, 1977, Susan gave birth to her son Colin Hanks in Sacramento. On January 24, Susan and Tom exchanged vows, determined to honor their commitment.

The family chose to look for new prospects in the fast-paced city of New York in 1979. Tom moved again in the 1980s, this time to Los Angeles for a leading role in “Bosom Buddies,” after his acting and comedic skills gained notice.

Their family continued to flourish with the arrival of their daughter Elizabeth on May 17, 1982. Tom’s career rose to new heights with his performance in ‘Splash’ in 1984, establishing him as Hollywood’s finest talent one of each of these.

Despite traveling together, Susan and Tom encountered difficulties in their marriage, which led to their separation in 1984 after six years together. Their divorce was finalized on March 19, 1987. Tom later found love again, marrying Rita Wilson on April 30, 1988 and expanding his family to two sons, Chester and Truman

Their story reflects the unpredictability of love, life and relationships in light.

Samantha Lewes Death

Samantha Lewes made the decision to live away from the glamour and sparkle of Hollywood after splitting from Tom Hanks. After moving to Sacramento to raise her two kids, Colin and Elizabeth, she found comfort there. Taking up their parents’ love of theater, the two brothers made the decision to become actors in their own right.

Samantha’s life was brutally altered when she received a bone cancer diagnosis at a routine checkup. There was little chance of a cure because the cancer had already spread far despite the efforts of experts coordinated by Tom Hanks. Samantha’s suffering could only be managed as she battled her illness, which was a hard reality that the family had to embrace.

When Samantha Lewes, 49, went away on March 12, 2002, she left behind a legacy of love and fidelity to her family. At Sacramento’s East Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery, he finally found peace, knowing that the people whose lives he touched would always remember him.


  • Samantha Lewes, originally named Susan Jane Dillingham, was born on November 29, 1952, in San Diego, California.
  • She rose to prominence as an actress with roles in the television series “Bosom Buddies” and the film “Mr. Success”.
  • Samantha was Tom Hanks’ first wife, and they met while attending California State University, Sacramento.
  • The couple faced financial challenges early in their marriage but welcomed two children, Colin and Elizabeth.
  • Samantha’s battle with bone cancer ultimately led to her passing on March 12, 2002, at the age of 49.


Samantha Lewes, born Susan Jane Dillingham, was an actress best known for her roles in “Bosom Buddies” and “Mr. Success”. She met Tom Hanks while they were both students at California State University, Sacramento, and they married in 1978. Despite facing financial struggles, they welcomed two children, Colin and Elizabeth. After their divorce in 1987, Samantha lived a quiet life in Sacramento, where she tragically lost her battle with bone cancer in 2002.


What was Samantha Lewes’ birth name?

Samantha Lewes was born Susan Jane Dillingham on November 29, 1952.

When did Samantha Lewes marry Tom Hanks?

Samantha Lewes and Tom Hanks exchanged vows on January 24, 1978.

How many children did Samantha Lewes and Tom Hanks have?

They had two children together: Colin Hanks, born in 1977, and Elizabeth, born in 1982.

When did Samantha Lewes pass away?

Samantha Lewes passed away on March 12, 2002, after battling bone cancer.

Where is Samantha Lewes buried?

Samantha Lewes is interred at East Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Sacramento.

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