According to Ancestry.com, actor Tom Hanks is distantly related to the man he is portraying in an upcoming movie: Mister Fred Rogers.
They are sixth cousins, per Ancestry, that share the same great-great-great-great-great grandfather, Johannes Mefford. He immigrated from Germany to America in the 18th century, Ancestry reports, and three of Mefford’s sons served as American patriots 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.
“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.
Trending stories,celebrity news and all the best of TODAY.
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?”
“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” is already showing in some places, and the nationwide release date is Thanksgiving Day.
The film focuses on the beloved children’s show host who fought for public television and advocated for children to be heard.
Rogers, who passed away in 2003 at the age of 74, has been praised for his forward-thinking wisdom and gentle nature.
His show, “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” ran for 31 seasons and ended in 2001.
Last year, filmmaker Morgan Neville — who created a documentary on the TV legend, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” — told TODAY it was more than just kind platitudes we should remember Rogers for.
“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.