Feb 12, 2019
In September 1993 actor Gary Sinise, fresh off of the triumph of directing his film adaptation of Of Mice Men, was being fitted for a long-haired wig to shoot scenes as the disabled veteran Lt. Dan Taylor in the movie Forrest Gump. The film’s runaway success, both at the box office and the Academy Awards of course brought Sinise acclaim as a performer, but he found that when he visited veteran’s groups they naturally identified him with the inspiring figure of the wounded Marine officer. Less than ten years later, in the aftermath of the 9-11 attacks, Sinise cast around for a way to connect to and contribute to the sacrifices of US fighters on the front lines — and the journey into a thoroughgoing commitment to the work of supporting veterans and active duty service people is the through line of Sinise's brand new memoir Grateful American: A Journey from Self to Service. He sat down with us on the eve of publication to talk about the path from founding Chicago’s Legendary Steppenwolf Theater Company to his career in film and television — and his current work helming the many projects of the Gary Sinise Foundation.