So how does the 62-year-old actor feel now that he’s receiving his own star on the Walk of Fame on April 17? “A little bit surreal,” he admits with a laugh. “But certainly very nice and flattered and honored.”
Though he’s an Oscar nominee who has also accumulated countless awards for his work on stage and the small screen, Sinise is unfailingly modest. He’ll mention he “started a theater company with my pals,” not that it’s the legendary Steppenwolf Theatre Company, which boasts among its alumni John Malkovich and Joan Allen. Or he’ll refer to the success of his previous show “CSI: NY” without saying it was a ratings juggernaut that ran nine seasons. He’ll also constantly credit his success to the people he works with, such as with his latest, “Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders.”
When he’s not in front of the cameras, Sinise dedicates much of his time to the Gary Sinise Foundation, which has created and supported programs to honor and help veterans of the military. Sinise’s commitment goes back to his early days at Steppenwolf, where he sought out the play “Tracers,” written by Vietnam vets, and began The Veterans’ Night Preview Series, which is active to this day and has now expanded to include other theaters including Los Angeles’ Geffen Playhouse. Sinise says it’s important for theater communities to interact with their local veterans. “It’s a great intersection of two things that are important to me,” he notes. “The entertainment part of my life — my career as an actor — and the veteran support part.”
But after the events of Sept. 11, 2001, Sinise says he “was called to a new level of service.” He says: “That attack was devastating and we had a lot of people responding by signing up to join the military and deploying to Afghanistan and Iraq. I wanted to help them and support them and make sure what happened to our Vietnam veterans when they came home from war — they were treated shamefully with our country turning its back on them — I didn’t’ want that to happen to our guys. So I started pitching in whenever I could.”
Sinise is a good guy and deserving of this honor as well as the others he’s received.