Two years ago I wrote an article for the IR Illinois Hall of Fame series about Emmy Award-winning actor and director Gary Sinise. Gary was born in Blue Island and attended Highland Park High School and Illinois State University at Normal. When he was only 19, Gary and Jeff Perry were founders of the Stppenwolf Theater Company in Chicago in 1974. Although he has many directing credits, Gary was first noticed by many people as an acting talent for his role as "Lt. Dan" when he co-starred with Tom Hanks in the 1994 film Forrest Gump. I am writing about Gary again because he continues to bring credit to his native state and country through his avocation to honor men and women who serve in America's armed forces.
Gary is married to Moira Harris from Pontiac, a relative of the late State Sen. Bill Harris (R-Pontiac). I met Gary twice in Washington, DC recently during two back to back trips to honor American military service men and women and veterans. He came to DC in the middle of May to promote the GI Film Festival and came back again on Memorial Day weekend to work once again with Chicago-area native actor Joe Mantegna on the telecast of the national Memorial Day Concert on the Mall. Joe attended Morton East High School in Cicero and The Goodman School at DePaul University which is now called the Theatre School at De Paul University. Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna are two native Illinois artists that we can be proud of both as actors and as patriots. CLICK HERE to see a short video about Gary and the GI Film Festival in May. Another star of the festival was Robert DuVall who graduated from Principia College in Elsah, Illinois.