Talented actor and director Gary Sinise (1955-) was born on this day in Blue Island, Illinois and became hooked on acting while appearing in a high school production of West Side Story.
"When I think of work, it's mostly about having control over your destiny, as opposed to being at the mercy of what's out there," he once said.
Throughout his career, Sinese has created memorable characters on screen. He won critical acclaim with films as diverse as Of Mice & Men (1992, which he also directed), Apollo 13 (1995, w/Tom Hanks, Ron Howard), and his memorable Oscar nominated performance as Lt. Dan in Forrest Gump (1994, w/Tom Hanks).
Director Gary Fleder described Sinise as "the kind of guy who has to use his intellect to escape the terrible situations he finds himself in... Gary is the kind of actor who infuses credibility and conviction into every role he plays."
The respected star of the television hit CSI: New York explained his ideas on acting: "Every time you get a part that is going to stretch you as an actor, you're going to learn more. You've got to keep taking certain risks, because my priority is in acting. It's not in movie stardom."
In 1974, Sinise co-founded Chicago's highly-regarded Steppenwolf Theatre Company which is actor-oriented and design-savvy. As the Theater's artistic director, Sinise celebrated the power of ensemble collaboration. About his film persona, he said, "I'm no Arnold Schwarzenegger, Harrison Ford, or Tom Cruise. I'm much more an everyman."
A humanitarian and USO advocate, in 2004, Sinise and author Laura Hillenbrand launched Operation Iraqi Children to send school supply kits and necessities to Iraqi children.
Keep working when your head says it can't be done.