26 Jan Gary Sinise ~ Hollywood Humanitarian
Gary Alan Sinise (born March 17, 1955) is an American actor, director, musician, producer and philanthropist. Among other awards, he has won a Primetime Emmy Award, a Golden Globe Award, received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was nominated for multiple Tony Awards and an Academy Award
Sinise first starred in a film when he directed, produced, and starred in the film adaptation of John Steinbeck‘s classic novel Of Mice and Men. Sinise played George Milton alongside John Malkovich who played Lennie. Subsequent roles include Lieutenant Dan Taylor in Forrest Gump (1994), for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, Harry S. Truman in Truman (1995), for which he won a Golden Globe, Ken Mattingly in Apollo 13 (1995) and Detective Jimmy Shaker in Ransom (1996).
Sinise has appeared in other films including The Green Mile (1999) and Impostor (2002). On television, he has played Detective Mac Taylor in the CBS series CSI: NY (2004–13), and George C. Wallace in the television film George Wallace (for which he won an Emmy). From 2016 to 2017, Sinise starred as Special Agent Jack Garrett in Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders. He is a supporter of various veteran organizations and founded the Lt. Dan Band; they play at military bases around the world.
Sinise was born in Blue Island, Illinois, son of Robert L. Sinise, a film editor, and Mylles (Alsip) Sinise. His paternal grandfather was of Italian descent, Sinise’s great-grandfather Vito Sinisi having immigrated from Ripacandida, in the Italian region of Basilicata. Sinise briefly attended Glenbard West High School in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, and later graduated from Highland Park High School in Highland Park, Illinois.
In 1974, Sinise and two friends, Terry Kinney and Jeff Perry, founded the Steppenwolf Theatre Company. Since then, Steppenwolf has showcased the talents of notable actors such as Joan Allen, Kevin Anderson, Gary Cole, Ethan Hawke, Glenne Headly, John Mahoney, John Malkovich, Laurie Metcalf, Martha Plimpton, Jim True-Frost, and William Petersen. Sinise honed his acting and directing skills at Steppenwolf, and received a Joseph Jefferson Award for his direction of Lyle Kessler‘s play Orphans. That took him from Chicago to New York City, and then to London‘s West End, where he worked on more than thirty of the company’s productions. The Steppenwolf Theatre Company remains one of Chicago’s most beloved theaters today.
In 1982, Sinise’s career began to take off when he directed and starred in Steppenwolf’s production of True West. In 1983, he earned an Obie Award for his direction, and a year later appeared with John Malkovich in the PBS‘ American Playhouse production of the play. In 1988, Sinise directed Miles from Home, a film starring Richard Gere, about two brothers’ fight against the foreclosure of the family farm. Sinise collaborated with fellow actor Tom Hanks three times, including Forrest Gump, Apollo 13, and The Green Mile. Other noteworthy films in which Sinise has appeared include Of Mice and Men (which he directed), Reindeer Games, Snake Eyes, Ransom, Mission to Mars, The Stand and Impostor. He narrated the audiobooks for John Steinbeck‘s Travels with Charley.
In 2004, he began his first regular television series, in the crime drama CSI: New York, in which he plays Detective Mac Taylor. He was credited as a producer from season two onwards and wrote the storyline of an episode. Several episodes have allowed Sinise to demonstrate his musical prowess, including a season-two episode where Mac Taylor plays the bass guitar in a jazz club with musicians Kimo and Carol Williams and Danny Gottlieb, members of the Lt. Dan Band, which Sinise and Kimo Williams co-founded in 2003. The band is named for Sinise’s character in Forrest Gump.
Apart from his television and movie work, Sinise is the host in the video for the Epcot ride Mission: SPACE, at Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida, and a model for Baume & Mercier watches. He co-founded Operation Iraqi Children. Sinise said, “Iraq is in the news every day, and most of it is bad. But there are some positive stories. And how our soldiers are rebuilding schools and helping kids is one of them.”
Sinise was the narrator for the Discovery Channel‘s miniseries When We Left Earth in 2008. He was awarded the Presidential Citizen Medal by George W. Bush for work he did supporting the U.S. military and humanitarian work supporting Iraqi children. He narrated Army and Army Reserve Army Strong recruitment ads in late 2008. He is also the national spokesperson for the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial.
Sinise is the executive producer—along with David Scantling—of the Iraq War documentary Brothers at War. The film features an American military family and the experiences of three brothers: Jake Rademacher, Isaac Rademacher, and Joseph Rademacher.
In November 2009, Sinise narrated the highly acclaimed World War II in HD on the History Channel. In 2010, he narrated the World War II documentary Missions That Changed The War on the Military Channel. In late 2002, he started the Cadillac commercials starting with the 2002–2003 Season’s Best commercial and has been with the Break Through campaign since it started the campaign in the 2002 Super Bowl with Led Zeppelin‘s “Rock and Roll” then ended in late 2006. In 2009, Sinise lent his voice talents in the Thomas Nelson audio Bible production known as The Word of Promise, playing the character of David.
On April 17, 2017, Sinise received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his work in the television industry, located at 6664 Hollywood Boulevard. Sinise created the Gary Sinise Foundation to support veterans and their families. The actor is extremely active in the world of the military and veteran charities and continues to give time and money generously. From 2011 – 2021, the foundation raised over 282 million dollars for a variety of projects in support of veterans and their families.