Hank Rutherford Hill is a fictional character in the animated series King of the Hill. Hank loves propane and works at the fictional Strickland Propane in Arlen, Texas. Hank's voice is provided by series creator Mike Judge.
According to the episode "Yankee Hankee," Hank believed he was born in Texas to Tillie Mae Hill and Cotton Lyndal Hill but finds (to his disgust) that he was actually born in New York City. His mother told him she gave birth to Hank in the ladies' room at Yankee Stadium due to Cotton's failed attempt to assassinate Fidel Castro during a rare American visit. Hank was devastated to learn of his true birthplace after having thought of himself as a native Texan for over forty years but eventually came to accept his heritage when he realized that many of the Alamo heroes were not from Texas either. In the episode "Hank Gets Dusted," Hank is shown to be the cousin of ZZ Top bassist and vocalist Dusty Hill.
Hank played football in high school. He had a promising career until he snapped his ankle in the state championship game. This incident had a major effect on his character, as he regarded it as "punishment" for over-ebullience, thus explaining his unwillingness to show much emotion. After graduating from high school, he went on to work as a salesman at Jeans West, a clothing retailer, until Buck Strickland finds that he is a good salesman and hires him at Strickland Propane, where Buck teaches him everything about propane.
Hank sells propane and propane accessories as an assistant manager at Strickland Propane. He was promoted to manager when Buck's wife/ex-wife (Miss Liz) took over Strickland Propane. Hank was also promoted to manager by Buck Strickland at the Strickland Propane family picnic. He was then demoted after blurting out "I Love You" to Mr. Strickland. Unlike Strickland's business enemy, M. F. Thatherton, Hank believes that selling propane through honesty and hard work is what life is all about. Hank idolizes Buck Strickland, the owner of Strickland Propane (who calls Hank "Ol' Top") and keeps a somewhat idyllic picture of him even though he often sees his boss's many shortcomings (excessive gambling, alcoholism, womanizing, and general lewdness). He also does not hold a grudge against his boss for trying to frame him for the murder of the co-worker Debbie (but it was later found out she accidentally killed herself). Hill is known for his supreme open, and often naive, honesty but when it comes to Strickland loyalty wins over honesty. In one episode he went as far as covering up Strickland's illegal price fixing agreement with the other local propane providers to get him out of going to jail again.
He only has one child, Bobby Hill, but would have had more if not for his "narrow urethra". Early in the series, he often says of Bobby, "That boy ain't right." However, Hank absolutely loves his son, even though he's reluctant and uncomfortable to say it to his face. He even feigns an interest in Bobby's passions such as cooking and theatre. Hank is relieved when Kahn tells him that he caught Bobby and Connie taking their clothes off, due to the fact he initially thought Bobby was gay due to his strange and sometimes effeminate tendencies. In the first episode of the series, Hank deals with an unruly social worker when he calls Hank's parenting skills into question. But this is laid to rest when Hank speaks with Bobby; when his son thinks he might be a disappointment, Hank immediately rebukes this and tells him how proud he is of him, as he is Bobby's father and by definition is proud of everything he does well.
Hank suffers from a fictional genetic disorder called Diminished Gluteal Syndrome (DGS). His essentially non-existent buttocks cause stress on his spine and force him to wear an "orthogluteal" prosthesis while sitting down.
Hank drives a red pickup truck, likely a Ford Super Duty, which replaced his original truck, a red Ford Ranger (after it was destroyed by a train; the new truck does have the old truck's gear shift knob). Hank was upset when he found out a car dealer he had bought his vehicles from had ripped him off on every deal Hank ever made with him; this led him to put fliers denouncing the salesman as a liar on the dealership's cars, and nearly got him arrested when radical teenagers blew up several of those same cars (the dealer refused to press charges against Hank, not because he believed Hank's truthful statement of innocence, but knowing Hank would fight the case for much longer than he could stand). Both of Hank's trucks had/have a stick shift. He gives great love and affection to his lawn and his elderly dog Ladybird, while also clearly caring greatly about his family. Hank attained the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America. He is sometimes naive and close-minded, but he is generally tolerant of people different from him (intensely disliking being called a redneck or hillbilly) even when they show a complete lack of common sense or manners. Hank's idol is Outlaw Country singer Willie Nelson, and he also plays the Acoustic Guitar with their Bluegrass band.
Hank and Peggy both smoked cigarettes early in their relationship, but both gave up the habit when Peggy became pregnant with Bobby. Twelve years later, Hank started smoking again inadvertently after trying to kick Bobby off of the habit. Peggy soon followed, even though both were against cigarette smoking. All three managed to stop smoking cold turkey, with Luanne's help ("Keeping up with our Joneses").
He is for the most part a staunch conservative (he once said dreamily that he missed voting for Ronald Reagan), though he had some second thoughts about voting for George W. Bush in the 2000 U.S. Presidential election because of the candidate's weak handshake. Like many Texans, he is a Republican but admires old-school Democrats (such as John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson). His dog Ladybird is named after Lady Bird Johnson, the wife of Lyndon B. Johnson. In one episode, Bobby chose to do a school report on his favorite president, Josiah Bartlet of the dramatic TV series The West Wing. When Hank discovered this, he scolded Bobby, who proceeded to do his report on Ronald Reagan. Hank does though have a great amount of respect for former Democratic Governor Ann Richards.
He also considers his wife his best friend and feels physically punishing children is wrong, though he is usually strict verbally, but not directly abusive.
Political parties aside, he is very conservative and old-fashioned, naturally thinking everyone shares his sense of right and wrong and being largely ignorant of new trends and view points; several episodes involve him dealing with things like yoga, boy bands, etc. Hank is portrayed as having traditional family values, and he is shown to be uncomfortable with hiring a woman to work at Strickland even though she was overly qualified; instead, he hired a man for shallowly expressing a fondness for the Dallas Cowboys and a blatantly fraudulent adoration for propane. The man was later revealed to be a completely unreliable drug addict.
He does, however, share a few progressive values. One of them is his fondness for organic food in the episode "Raise the Steaks". He even goes as far as to defend the hippies, something he seemed somewhat ashamed to do but nevertheless found himself agreeing with them when it comes to natural food. Despite his apparent naivety to general things, he has been shown to be very clever in various scenarios. These include tricking a crooked lawyer attempting to sue Strickland into making it appear as though he is the one that injured his plaintiff; forcing a veterinarian who was shaking him down on costly and unnecessary treatments for a soldier's cat to approve the cat's file or Hank would tell the vet's customers about a completely inefficient imaging machine the vet couldn't afford; and getting the see-no-evil parents of a youngster who was bullying him to exert discipline by having Bobby behave exactly like their son towards them.
Hank can be rather gullible, as for the past twenty-five years, he was buying cars at sticker price from Tom Hammond's used cars. When he found out, he was angry. He has also been tricked because of his relative ignorance concerning drugs or subcultures. Hence he once mistakenly bought vials of crack believing they were fishing bait and in a time of stress took a hit of marijuana because he thought it was a cigarette. He also introduced a woman, who later turned out to be a prostitute, to several business associates. This led her former pimp, Alabaster Jones (voiced by Snoop Dogg), to believe he was her new pimp.