Gary Sinise is not nomal actor. This Golden Globe-winning philanthropist has devoted his life not only to acting and his family, but also to helping others in any way he can.
Gary Sinise and his wife Moira Harris have been together for 40 years, which is rare for celebrity marriages. They have raised three children together and now Gary is sharing the secret behind their wonderful and long-lasting marriage with his fans.
Gary Sinise’s career has been atypical compared to many other actors. While it’s common for actors and actresses to achieve success with a breakthrough role at a young age, Sinise’s career trajectory has been differnet from the start.
Gary Sinise’s career trajectory differed from many other actors in the industry. While he did have some success early on, it wasn’t until his iconic role in the 1994 film Forrest Gump that he achieved major recognition and stardom.
Gary Sinise has devoted most of his career to acting, but he has also prioritized his personal life by being a loving husband and father, as well as dedicating himself to assisting veterans.
Fell in love with theater
According to reports, Gary’s passion for acting began during his high school years.
Gary was born on March 17, 1955, in Blue Island, Illinois, and grew up in Highland Park. During his high school years, he was known to be a bit of a rebel and also played in bands.
“Well, my dad was working all the time,” Sinise told Ability Magazine. “My mom had her hands full. I was kind of free to do what I wanted. And I wasn’t good in school.”
Gary Sinise’s passion for music started at a young age when he got his first guitar in fourth grade. He played guitar throughout his school years and joined several bands as a kid, continuing into his early twenties. However, while studying in high school, his interest in theater grew and he became hooked on acting.
“I was playing in bands, doing plays, and started a theater company after high school, but I kept playing as a way to make a living while doing the theater until I was 22,” he said. “Then, the theater just took over everything, and all I did was focus on building our theater company.”
As previously mentioned, Gary Sinise did not achieve his breakthrough in acting at a young age. Instead, he spent most of his time behind the camera before eventually venturing into acting.
Gary Sinise – work as director
Gary Sinise discovered his love for acting during his high school days when he auditioned for the musical “West Side Story” on a whim. However, by the end of the show, he realized that acting was his calling and he wanted to pursue it for the rest of his life. He attributes his passion for the craft to his drama teacher, Barbara Patterson.
At the age of 21, in 1974, Gary Sinise co-founded the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago with his friends Terry Kinney and Jeff Perry. They started off by performing in a church basement, but as their business grew, they gained more influence in the Chicago area.
Gary Sinise became the artistic director of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in 1981 and had a vision to expand the company’s influence beyond Chicago by taking their plays to New York City.
“It was challenging at the time, not everybody agreed with that,” Sinise explained.
“We were trying to open a new theater at the same time here in Chicago, so there was some disagreement back then about how we should do that and whether we should do it at all. I thought it would be good and we just pushed for it. And once we got things open there in New York, we started taking plays there every year after that.”
Gary Sinise directed some of Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s most successful productions, including Sam Shepherd’s True West, which marked the company’s off-Broadway debut and starred both Sinise and John Malkovich.
Gary Sinise – Forrest Gump
In 1990, while Steppenwolf made their Broadway debut at the Cort Theatre with The Grapes of Wrath, Gary also began to make his move towards Hollywood by directing two episodes of the television series Crime Story and the movie Miles from Home, which starred Richard Gere.
Gary had primarily worked behind the camera until 1992 when he made his debut as an actor in the World War II film A Midnight Clear.
Gary Sinise became a household name in 1994, despite having achieved numerous successes as a director before. It was then that he finally got his big break and entered the public eye.
In 1994, Gary Sinise’s career took off with his prominent roles in two major productions. He starred as Stu Redman in the popular miniseries The Stand and also played the role of Lieutenant Dan in the blockbuster movie Forrest Gump, alongside Tom Hanks.
Gary Sinise’s portrayal of Lt. Dan in Forrest Gump finally brought him the recognition he deserved. His moving performance as a disabled and emotionally tormented veteran earned him numerous accolades, including a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture, and even an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.
Sinise’s life had been transformed from that of a young theater enthusiast in Chicago, but he was not yet aware of the extent of the change.
Dedicated to help veterans
“We didn’t know that the movie would be as big a hit as it was. I knew I very much wanted to play that part, I had Vietnam veterans in my family. I had supported Vietnam veterans in the ’80s, ’70s and ’80s, trying to help them in various ways in Chicago,” Sinise said.
“And then along comes this opportunity very early in my movie career—I’d only done a few things—to audition to play a wounded Vietnam veteran. I very much wanted to do it, I was lucky to get the part.”
Gary Sinise was always interested in helping veterans and had a personal connection to the military, as several of his family members had served in different wars. His grandfather served in World War I, his uncles in World War II, and his father served in Korea.
Despite this, Gary had never really discussed their experiences with them, as he was too young at the time. Therefore, getting the chance to play a veteran in Forrest Gump was a great honor for him.
According to Gary Sinise, his portrayal of Lt. Dan in Forrest Gump helped not only his own family, but also many other veteran families and the community as a whole.
“They recognize some of the things Lieutenant Dan goes through — some of the understandable confusion, despair, anger, frustration, and loneliness — as an isolated Vietnam veteran,” Sinise told the Military Officers Association of America.
“But also … Lieutenant Dan is okay at the end of the film. We hadn’t seen that kind of story about a Vietnam veteran before. If you look back at movies on the Vietnam experience, you always had a question as to whether the veteran was going to be okay.”
Gary Sinise – family
However, he has always made sure to prioritize helping others while pursuing his career. His family is also very important to him.
In Hollywood, it’s common to hear about celebrities getting married and divorced within a short period of time. But Gary Sinise’s story is different.
He has been married to his wife, Moira Harris, for 40 years. They met long before Gary’s rise to fame, back when they both attended Illinois State University.
Gary and Moira crossed paths when they were both pursuing their careers. Moira, who was also an aspiring actress, had appeared in several TV series during the 1980s and was establishing herself in the film industry.
Gary first came across Moira when she played the character of Laura in a production of Cat On A Hot Tin Roof in the mid-1970s.
”It’s a good way to first see your future wife, in a negligee,” Gary told The Guardian in 2000.
At a party, Moira caught sight of her future husband, Gary.
”It was at some party in a friend’s house after the show. I loved him because he was very quiet and sweet and shy. And of course, I thought he was awfully handsome, like a young Paul Newman. And he took me home and that was it”.
According to Amomama, in his book “Grateful American: A Journey from Self to Service,” Sinise shared that he and Moira had called off their first wedding. The couple had everything planned, from the date to the invitations, but a few days before the wedding, they realized that they were too young to make such a lifelong commitment. Fortunately, they later had another ceremony, and since then, the couple has been happily married. They tied the knot in 1981 and have three children together.
Funny meeting with father-in-law
When it was time for Gary to meet Moira’s parents for the first time, things didn’t go as smoothly as he had hoped.
Gary Sinise, who was then working in the theater, had planned to meet his future wife and her father at the prestigious Union League Club for men in New York.
Gary Sinise was supposed to meet his future father-in-law at a distinguished men’s club in New York, but he was running late because he was working at the theater. When he arrived, he was wearing torn jeans and a shirt, and he was denied entry because he didn’t have a suit.
Gary broke down in tears as he tried to explain to the doorman that he was there to meet his girlfriend and her father. However, he was still not allowed in due to his inappropriate attire.
After pleading with the people at the door to let him in, Gary started crying. Eventually, they took pity on him and handed him a suit coat. They snuck him into the club through the service elevator, and he finally met his father-in-law.
Years later, after becoming a celebrity, Gary returned to the Club, but this time it was a completely different experience.
“I’m now in the movie business, successful,” he said. “I show up in a suit, they put me in the presidential suite. I make a speech. It was a totally different trip to the Union League Club after that.”
Gary and Moira have been together since they got married in 1981. They have raised three children: Sophie (born in 1988), McCanna Anthony (born in 1990), and Ella (born in 1992).
Secret to long-lasting marriage
Moira and Gary’s enduring marriage is a rarity, especially in the entertainment industry, but they have demonstrated that it is achievable.
What is the key to their enduring relationship?
“A sense of humor,” Gary told Parade. “My wife’s a loving, funny, Irish-spirited person, and I’m still surprised at some of the things she says. She makes me laugh every day.”
In 2017, Gary Sinise took a break from acting after appearing on Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders. It was during this time that he and his wife Moira announced that they were going to become first-time grandparents, as their daughter was expecting a child.
Gary Sinise has had an impressive career, but what makes him truly admirable is his dedication to serving the community, especially the veterans. His contributions to various organizations and foundations supporting the military and their families are remarkable and inspiring.