Here to talk about the Gary Sinise Foundation and its mission to help and support active-duty military, veterans, first responders, and their families as well as discuss my New York Times Bestseller Grateful American: A Journey From Self To Service… and of course Lt Dan and other film and TV-related stuff. 😉


Comments: 2811 • Responses: 37  • Date: 

Estre11a3592 karma

When filming Of Mice and Men, did you then realize that you would be watched in high schools for an eternity? Were you aware of the sorta 'type' of movie that would become?

GarySiniseOfficial4670 karma

Well I am so grateful for that because far more people have seen it over the years in high schools than ever saw it in when it was released in the theaters in 1992. I am grateful for that.

GarySiniseOfficial3356 karma

Folks, I wish I had more time. As said earlier I have to head down to Camp Pendelton to play a concert for the Marines with my Lt. Dan Band. I encourage you to check out the program pages, our Facebook page, our YouTube channel to see more of the good things that are going at the Gary Sinise Foundation. Thank you to all of you for tuning in, thank you to all our veterans and first responders for serving our country and have a great day!

GarySiniseOfficial1915 karma

Hey I am really enjoying this everybody! Thank so much for coming on, just wanted to mention that we are currently having a fundraiser on the Gary Sinise Foundation Facebook page linked above. Check it out if you get a chance.

TWBush1840 karma

Hi, Gary! I’ve always enjoyed your work, going as far back as your portrayal of Stu Redman in The Stand. My question is, I have a daughter who’s just a fantastic actor, but she gets very discouraged when she doesn’t get parts she tried out for. How do you stay positive in the face of rejection for parts?

GarySiniseOfficial2398 karma

Rejection is part of the business. I was rejected more times than I care to remember, but if you love what you're doing you just put your amour back on and go out and do it again. Eventually, something will click.

Rpizza985 karma

My husband is now in the reserves but has been active duty over the years for about 8 years and did a tour of iraq 10 years ago. Luckily, we are doing well. But how can military families help other military families through your organization?

GarySiniseOfficial1049 karma

Creating awareness for helpful services is one of the best things people can do. There are multiple veterans service organizations out there that are doing good work. If you haven't been to the Gary Sinise Foundation website please check out our program pages and our YouTube channel and help get the word out. For supporting our work and the services we provide.

futureslave952 karma

One thing you don’t list is what an important figure you have been to independent theater for many decades. Your contributions at Steppenwolf and so many other places are very much appreciated. How would you describe the landscape for small and independent American theater these days? And do you have any current projects we should know about?

GarySiniseOfficial846 karma

Well, thank you very much. It's hard for me to say anything about the landscape of small theater these days as I've been focused on so many other things these past several years. But,it was very interesting to trace our own personal history at Steppenwolf, and how it all came to be, in my book. A lot of early Steppenwolf history in there.

Buckaroo_Banzai_872 karma

While filming the hurricane scene in "Forest Gump" how long did you have to hang on to that pole?

GarySiniseOfficial1663 karma

Hello Everybody! I was up there for quite a while. It was a night of filming, they had giant fans blowing at me a DC9 jet engine blowing at me and a huge water cannons spraying water at me. So, of course, I was strapped in with a harness up on that mast because during all that they were also rocking the boat up and down. So it was fun a tiring night, but a great scene.

two_fish690 karma

What does Tom Hanks smell like?

GarySiniseOfficial1163 karma

I don't remember, perhaps it was the sweet smell of jasmine.. or peaches. :)

Fochinell554 karma

What was your first car?

Love this guy

GarySiniseOfficial915 karma

1969 Camaro convertible

DuncanStrohnd461 karma

How did you come up with the name for your foundation?

GarySiniseOfficial748 karma

Oh I don't know... it just sounded good. :)

RandomLeavings459 karma

Hi Gary! From a vet: thanks so much for all of your work in supporting the military and veterans.

What would you say was the catalyst behind you choosing the cause you did? Was it your role as Lt. Dan in Forrest Gump or some other event?

GarySiniseOfficial523 karma

Multiple things that all added up over the years. I was able to document many of the important moments, family connections to the military, Vietnam veterans support work in the 80's etc, in my book Grateful American.

Timbo_007423 karma

Is life really like a box of chocolates?

GarySiniseOfficial787 karma

Of course, you never know what you're gonna get!

pipelineporter385 karma

Hi Gary, thanks for all that you do for the veterans. One question for you: have you ever actually eaten at a Bubba Gump chain restaurant?

GarySiniseOfficial669 karma

Yes indeed! Lt. Dan's drunken shrimp is crunchy.

ballthyrm230 karma

How long did it take you to write the book ? Did you enjoy the process ?

GarySiniseOfficial324 karma

It was about 14 months total. I wanted to do it now while I can remember things. :) It was a very interesting process to search the memory bank and try to create a vivid picture of some of the things I've experienced over the years.

dobie1kenobi219 karma

Mr. Sinise, do you think you'll be renewing your role at next year's National Memorial Day Concert?

GarySiniseOfficial319 karma

I have every intention of being there in 2020.

theOgMonster206 karma

Hey Mr. Sinise, thanks for doing this!

Do you have any favorite movies?

What would you say is your proudest accomplishment?

GarySiniseOfficial506 karma

Well, I am proudest of my long marriage and my great kids. Very fortunate to have a great family.

Favorite movies... Godfather I and II always at the top of the list. Its A Wonderful Life Jimmy Stewart is a classic, one of the greats.... I have too many I could go on and on

MinnesotaNicesu179 karma

Hey Gary,

Hope your Friday is going well. I got to meet you at a recording session several years ago in the Chicago area and wanted to say thanks for being a patient, kind, and approachable person during what I can only imagine is a stressful day in the studio.

My question - if you had to choose between being an actor or a musician, which would you pick and why?

GarySiniseOfficial311 karma

Well it would be very hard for me to choose to do one one and not the other. I love both. I make my living as an actor. And I play for free for the service mission to boost morale and bring some joy to our veterans and first responders. In fact when I finish up here with Reddit I'm heading down to Camp Pendleton to play a concert for our Marines tonight.

vampirewknd175 karma

Gary, you do a lot of great work for veterans and I just wanted to take the chance to thank you for that.

Do you have any book recommendations?

GarySiniseOfficial360 karma

Grateful American: A journey from self to service... I know the guy who wrote it. :)

thatguyoverthere345162 karma

Hi Mr.Sinise, you came and visited my unit in Alaska back in 2012. It was a medical unit, for soldiers that had been injured in Afghanistan, and I just wanted to say thank you for the time you spent with us. It was truly an honor.

Just one question, How is your day goin?

GarySiniseOfficial183 karma

My day is going fine and I truly hope yours is going great as well. A big thank you to you and all you serve with for defending our country.

captainjack120144 karma

In preparing for Apollo 13, did you ever talk with Ken Mattingly?

GarySiniseOfficial207 karma

Yes I did. Not when we were filming but we screened the film at the space center in Houston before it opened and TK Mattingly was there.

ConcreteFox127 karma

Hey Gary, big fan. Where would you say you rank with other famous Garys? Certainly above Busey, Johnson, and Coleman. Maybe on par with Oldman?

GarySiniseOfficial451 karma

On the bottom. They are all standing on my shoulders. :)

DrBaldnutzPHD101 karma

Hi Gary,

Which episode(s) from CSI:NY is/are your favourite?

Also, I really appreciate all the work and your dedication to supporting members (past and present) in the armed forces. In addition, naming your band "Lt Dan Band" was a stroke of pure genius.

GarySiniseOfficial224 karma

On September 11th a few days ago we watched the special CSI NY season 8 premiere called Indelible. It premiered two weeks after the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and features the Brooklyn Wall of Remembrance. I had the great privilege in real life of helping to raise money to build it. It honors 417 first responders killed at the World Trade Center. While there are several episodes that stand out for me Indelible will always be one of the most special.

Suivoh90 karma

How did you manage to get your legs to grow back?

GarySiniseOfficial180 karma

Hollywood magic

tvp20481 karma

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced after starting an organization like this?

GarySiniseOfficial144 karma

I've been involved in several non-profits over the years and it takes getting into the trenches and getting your hands dirty early on, devoting all your time , to ensure that it gets off to a good start. As time goes on and you learn from your mistakes and improve on those you get stronger and better and you earn the trust of the people you are asking to support you. Because they see you taking action and that can make a world of difference.

Johnnydeep42081 karma

Hi Mr. Sinise, my father was in the same class as you at HP. Your mom made pancakes for you all very late in the night in 8th grade while at Elm Place. Are you still involved with Steppenwolf?

I want to extend a congratulations for receiving the positive press from your work with veterans. You’re a genuine human!

GarySiniseOfficial111 karma

My mom makes some outstanding pancakes still till this day! :) I'm still connected with Steppenwolf, but my veterans work is taking up the majority of my time. Say hello to your dad and check out my book for some interesting things about my days in Highland Park.

UsedGamertag62 karma

Hi Mr. Sinise!

I got a chance to hear you narrate the Candlelight Processional in Epcot last December and I've got to say you were fantastic! What's it like to read through the Nativity Story with the full choir and music? Thank you much and I hope you have a great day!

GarySiniseOfficial127 karma

I started narrating that show in 2000 and have loved doing it many times over the years. I'm scheduled to be back there again this December right after our Snowball Express program takes over 1,000 Gold Star children to Disney World.

eljefe5650 karma

Hi Gary, as someone that has been in big movies as well as long running TV shows how do the two compare and which did you prefer working on?

GarySiniseOfficial100 karma

I just like being employed. I've enjoyed both and had some great opportunities in both mediums

themaskedhippoofdoom49 karma

Can you adopt me?

GarySiniseOfficial98 karma

Oh, so sorry my house is full up! :)

Martinblade47 karma

Hey Gary,

Your work in the entertainment industry has led to a long and varied career. Obviously your charity work is very important to you, so I'm going to exclude that from this question.

Of all the projects that you've worked on which are you most proud of, which has lead to the most growth for you, and which has been the most challenging for you?

Keep up the good work.

GarySiniseOfficial114 karma

Of Mice and Men will always be one of my favorites. It was a personal project that I produced, directed and got to act in with my buddy John. Of course, working on Forrest Gump was fun and great. I love Lt. Dan. Probably the two most challenging roles I've had were Harry Truman and George Wallace. Both television movies, check em out!

XXSeaBeeXX47 karma

Nice basses. Which is your favorite bass?

GarySiniseOfficial91 karma

I play a Fender Jazz bass.

youbetchamom40 karma

I live in a city with TONS of both active and not active military. What are some ways I can support the families waiting here for their loved ones who are serving?

GarySiniseOfficial57 karma

One of the things I like to tell people who are looking to support veterans is that you don't necessarily need to get involved with nationwide organizations to do it. While I of course encourage people to take a look at my Foundation and what we're doing its important to note that there are veterans in every community in this country and it quite easy to reach out locally to extend a hand of support.

ItsMeSatan39 karma

Want some ice cream?

GarySiniseOfficial71 karma

No :)

Owwmysoul37 karma

What was it like flying in a U-2? What 's your favorite piece of military hardware you've ridden in?

GarySiniseOfficial72 karma

There is an awesome video on the merchandise page of the Gary Sinise Foundation website called High Flight. It documents that amazing U-2 flight back in 2012 at Beale Air Force Base. It was incredible. I've had the chance to do some amazing things during all this time visiting military bases around the world. Landing on the deck of a carrier of an F-18 super hornet was pretty amazing as well.

JamGrooveSoul32 karma

I always love seeing your picture backstage at music venues I’m performing at. Do you have any tips for someone learning bass guitar?

GarySiniseOfficial45 karma

Practice and get a good teacher.

deker027 karma

Thank you so much for taking the time to do this AMA. What was it like working with Mel Gibson in Ransom? Were there any signs of his temper or alcoholism that have plagued him in recent years? What is your overall impression of the movie and the plot?

GarySiniseOfficial58 karma

I loved working on Ransom. Ron Howard and Mel and the entire cast and crew were just awesome on the set. At first, I wasn't sure I wanted to play the role but I'm glad I did. I wrote about shooting this movie in my book. ;) I got to Liev Schrieber a heck of a throat chop!! He sold it like a champ.

1992WasAGoodYear26 karma

Are you Gary Sinise?

GarySiniseOfficial43 karma

Well, yes I am the last I checked! :)

IckyToes22 karma

Hi Gary! Any stories from your foundation that stand out from another?

GarySiniseOfficial32 karma

There are some incredible stories on video on the Gary Sinise Foundation YouTube channel. Too many to name here but I encourage you to take a look.