(written from a Production point of view)
Hankin previously portrayed the wind dancer in the Star Trek: The Next Generation fifth season episode "Cost of Living". For his TNG part Hankin received no credit and was identified by the call sheet for the episode. He was not part of the principal photography for this episode and filmed his scene on second unit on Friday 28 February 1992 during the production of the episode "Imaginary Friend". For "The Cloud" he filmed his scenes on Tuesday 6 December 1994, for "Jetrel" on Wednesday 22 March 1995, and for "Twisted" between Monday 24 April 1995 and Friday 28 April 1995 on Paramount Stage 16.
Hankin was born in New York City. He studied acting at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York, where he was in the same class as Star Trek: Deep Space Nine guest star Frank Langella. Along with fellow VOY guest star Hamilton Camp, Hankin was a founding member of The Committee, a San Francisco-based improvisational comedy group. He was also a member of the improv comedy troupe, The Second City.
Hankin has been acting in television and film since the late 1960s. Outside of Star Trek, he is perhaps best known for his role as Charley Butts in the 1979 Paramount Pictures film Escape from Alcatraz (composed by Jerry Fielding) and for his recurring role as Mr. Heckles on NBC's television comedy series Friends. In one Friends episode – "The One Where Heckles Dies" – Hankin co-starred with TNG guest actor Michael G. Hagerty.
In addition to his recurring role on Friends, Hankin is well-remembered for his appearance on the comedy series Seinfeld, playing an actor who played Kramer in the fourth season episode, "The Pilot" (1993). In addition to series regular Jason Alexander, this episode featured Tony Amendola, Erick Avari, Lanei Chapman, Peter Crombie, Elizabeth Dennehy, Bill Erwin, Teri Hatcher, Gina Hecht, and Heidi Swedberg.
Hankin has made guest appearances on such situation comedy series as Laverne & Shirley (starring David L. Lander and Michael McKean), WKRP in Cincinnati, Eight Is Enough, Family Ties, Newhart, ALF, Married with Children, Home Improvement, My Name Is Earl, and The Sarah Silverman Program. In the 1981 episode of the Barney Miller entitled "The Psychic", Hankin shared the screen with two other VOY guest stars, Ron Glass and Kenneth Tigar. Later, Hankin worked with DS9 guest actor Kenneth Mars on episodes of the comedy series Weird Science and Malcolm in the Middle (the latter with Jonathan Schmock, Mark L. Taylor, and Tom Towles); Hankin and Mars had previously worked together in the 1969 film, Viva Max.
Hankin has guest-starred on a number of dramatic series. In 1977, he was seen in two episodes of the CBS drama series Lou Grant: "Cophouse", with James Whitmore, Jr. and Jason Wingreen; and "Psych-Out", directed by Alexander Singer and featuring Phillip Richard Allen, Bill Quinn, Harry Townes, and Michael Zaslow. In 1985, Hankin appeared on Hill Street Blues, the NBC police drama which, at the time, starred Barbara Bosson and James B. Sikking. That same year, Hankin co-starred with Michael Ansara in a two-part episode of NBC's police action series Hunter.
He later made guest appearances on such series as Matlock (with Barry Jenner), L.A. Law (with Corbin Bernsen, Earl Boen, Larry Drake, Michael Ensign, Bennet Guillory, Aaron Lustig, and Robert Picardo), Picket Fences (with Ray Walston), Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (starring K Callan and Teri Hatcher), ER (with Jeff Kober), and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (with Zach Grenier and series regular Wallace Langham). He also recurred on the drama series Joan of Arcadia, playing "Homeless Man God" and working with Patrick Fabian, April Grace, Mike Starr, Becky Wahlstrom, and Michael Welch.
His many feature film credits, in addition to those mentioned above, include Yours, Mine & Ours (1968), The Phynx (1970, with Michael Ansara and Lou Antonio), American Hot Wax (1978, with Hamilton Camp), Annie (1982), The Star Chamber (1983, with Robin Gammell, Michael Ensign, and James B. Sikking), Running Scared (1986), Fatal Beauty (starring Whoopi Goldberg, Michael Champion, Brad Dourif, and Harris Yulin), and Pretty Woman (1990, with Jason Alexander, Norman Large, and Dey Young). He also appeared in three films for writer/director John Hughes: Planes, Trains & Automobiles (co-starring Bill Erwin, Richard Herd, Michael McKean, and William Windom), She's Having a Baby (1988, also featuring Bill Erwin and William Windom, as well as Kirstie Alley and Wil Wheaton), and Home Alone (1990, again with Bill Erwin).
Some of Hankin's more recent film acting credits include The Shadow (1994, co-starring Ethan Phillips), It's Pat (1994, starring Charles Rocket), Vegas Vacation (1997, with Miriam Flynn and Wallace Shawn), Nobody Knows Anything! (2003, co-starring Paul Dooley, Charles Esten, Ed Lauter, Virginia Madsen, and Scott Thompson), and Nobel Son (2007, with Tracey Walter and Matt Winston). He also had major roles in the 1995 comedy Billy Madison and in the 1997 action comedy Money Talks. The latter film co-starred Daniel Roebuck, Paul Sorvino, and David Warner.
In 1979, Hankin wrote, directed, produced, co-edited, and starred in the short film Solly's Diner. This film was nominated for the 1979 Academy Award for Best Short Film, Live Action; as a producer, Hankin shared the nomination.
One of the actors Hankin cast in Solly's Diner was fellow Voyager guest actor Paul Willson. Hankin and Willson have since worked together, as actors, on the 1980 television movie Gridlock (co-starring James Gregory, Charles Napier, and Vic Tayback) and the 1983 film The Sting II (starring Terri Garr and Bert Remsen). The two most recently appeared together in a 1998 episode of Party of Five.