Hanks Thanks School

04/16/1998 12:00AM

Tom Hanks, Oakland, Calif.'s Skyline High School Class of '74, has donated $125,000 to help restore the lighting system in the school auditorium, reports the Associated Press. That was where the double Oscar winner, 38, performed as a student before he went to Hollywood. Assistant principal Kermit Collins said that the donation from Hanks came in about three weeks ago. In exchange, said Collins, Hanks asked that the theater be named for Rawley Farnsworth, a retired Skyline drama teacher whom the actor thanked during his 1993 Oscar acceptance speech for "Philadelphia," in which he played a gay lawyer. (The speech inspired screenwriter Paul Rudnick to come up with the premise of the 1997 movie comedy "In & Out," in which an actor played by Matt Dillon outs a former -- and in that case closeted -- teacher of his at the Oscars.) Collins said Hanks has also promised to attend the grand opening of the newly wired auditorium in 2002.

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