Tom Hanks is Mister Rogers' 6th cousin, genealogists find

The actor is playing the legendary Fred Rogers in the upcoming movie “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood."
According to Ancestry.com, Tom Hanks and Fred Rogers are distant cousins.
According to Ancestry.com, Tom Hanks and Fred Rogers are distant cousins.Getty Images/TriStar Pictures

Get the latest from TODAY

Sign up for our newsletter
SUBSCRIBE
/ Source: TODAY
By Samantha Kubota

According to Ancestry.com, actor Tom Hanks is distantly related to the man he is portraying in an upcoming movie: Fred Rogers.

They are sixth cousins, per Ancestry, that share the same 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 in the Revolutionary War.

Fred Rogers’ great-great-great-great grandfather William served in the Navy and was captured by the British in 1782, according to Ancestry. He was held on a prison ship in Barbados and Antigua until he was released 10 months later.

Tom Hanks’ great-great-great-great grandfather apparently fought in a skirmish at Chesapeake Bay.

Trending stories,celebrity news and all the best of TODAY.

“So, Rogers and Hanks not only share the same ancestor, they also descend from two brothers who fought for America’s independence,” Ancestry said in a statement.

"Access Hollywood" asked Hanks about his family tree as he walked the red carpet in New York City Sunday night for the movie premiere.

"No, impossible. No you're pulling our leg!" Hanks' wife, Rita Wilson, said. "This is crazy!"

"It all just comes together, you see," Hanks said. "I'd like to see if Johnny Depp is related to Fred Rogers, can you find out from Ancestry.com?"

Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson walk the red carpet at the premiere of "A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood" on Sunday in New York City.Paul Bruinooge / Patrick McMullan via Getty Image

"A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood" is already showing in some places, and will be released nationwide on Friday.

The film focuses on the beloved children’s show host who fought for public television and advocated for children to be heard.

Tom Hanks stars as Mister Rogers in TriStar Pictures' "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood."TriStar Pictures

Rogers, who died in 2003 at the age of 74, has been praised for his forward-thinking wisdom and gentle nature. “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” ran for 31 seasons and ended in 2001.

Last year, filmmaker Morgan Neville, who directed the Rogers documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”, told TODAY that there was more to the man than just kind platitudes.

"The stereotype of Fred Rogers is he's a two-dimensional milquetoast who spoke in warm bromides, but the reality is he was a man of iron will on a mission to fight for goodness,” Neville said.