LOS ANGELES, April 18, (Agencies): Oscar-nominated actor and longtime armed forces champion Gary Sinise was honored on Monday with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in a markedly military ceremony.
The 62-year-old, who has advocated for service personnel and veterans for almost 40 years, was given an honor guard by troops on Hollywood Boulevard, with the national anthem sung by singer-songwriter Steve Amerson.
“I’m grateful for these heroes and all who continue to defend us,” Sinise said as he was presented with the Walk’s 2,606th star for his work in television.
“It is a gift to be able to use some of the success that I’ve had in the movie and television business to try to do some good for those who serve and sacrifice each day for our precious freedom.”
Sinise received a best supporting actor Oscar nomination in 1995 for his portrayal of disabled, emotionally tortured platoon leader Lt. Dan Taylor in “Forrest Gump,” opposite Tom Hanks, who would also be his co-star in “Apollo 13” and “The Green Mile.”
His big screen resume includes roles in Sam Raimi’s “The Quick and the Dead” (1995), Kevin Spacey’s 1997 directorial debut “Albino Alligator,” and Brian de Palma films “Snake Eyes” (1998) and “Mission to Mars” (2000).
On television he is best known as Detective Mac Taylor in all 197 episodes of the 2004-13 CBS police procedural “CSI: NY” and currently stars in the network’s “Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders.”
He won a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award for his role as US President Harry S. Truman HBO movie “Truman” and an Emmy two years later for TNT’s “George Wallace,” a biopic of the segregationist Alabama governor.
Born March 17, 1955 in Chicago, Sinise was just 18 when he co-founded the Steppenwolf Theatre Company of Chicago with Jeff Perry, who plays former White House chief of staff Cyrus Beene on the ABC drama “Scandal” and was at the ceremony.
Patricia Heaton, best known for her Emmy-award winning performances in “Everybody Loves Raymond,” praised his “selflessness, courage, good cheer, hard work and humility.”
The father-of-three has spent his entire career making time between shoots to support armed forces members and veterans, building homes for wounded soldiers, visiting them in hospital, running outreach programs and touring military bases with his “Lt. Dan Band.”
Robin Rand, a four-star general with the US Air Force who has known Sinise since 2004, described his friend as a “tiger in battle” who is always “just there for us, quietly and without fanfare.”
“To those of us who wear our nation’s cloth, Gary earned his star rank a long time ago,” Rand said.
The first time Gary Sinise came to Los Angeles to visit his family, his mother insisted on taking him to Hollywood Boulevard. “She wanted me to see the stars on the Walk of Fame and Grauman’s Theater,” recalls Sinise, whose father, a film editor, left Chicago in the mid-’70s for California. “I remember walking down there and seeing the names on the Walk of Fame and the handprints at Grauman’s. It had a dreamlike quality.”
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 you’re working with good people, it’s just so nice,” he says of the CBS show, which is now in its second season. “The folks I work with on that show are just lovely.” He sings the praises of each cast member and adds that audiences will be learning more about his character, Jack Garrett, unit chief of the Intl Response Team. “I love Sherry Stringfield, who plays my wife on the show. You’ll be seeing more of her and my family on the show this season. My son is also an agent, so we’ll explore that dynamic.”
“I’m just trying to do what I can to make sure they know they’re appreciated and what they do is not taken for granted.”
Sinise himself has received military honors from the Navy and Marines, and been named an honorary battalion chief by the New York City Fire Department for his work, but again he downplays the attention and focuses it back on the veterans.