Gary Sinise was born in Blue Island, Illinois, to a family who supported his artistic endeavors, and encouraged his drive to create. At the age of 10 his parents bought him his first guitar and he played actively in bands into his 20s. Gary began acting during his sophomore year in high school in Highland Park. After graduating, at the age of 18, he co-founded Steppenwolf Theatre Company of Chicago along with friends Terry Kinney and Jeff Perry. He served as the company's Artistic Director for seven years.
He has since starred in over a dozen productions at the renowned theatre including the role of Tom Joad in The Grapes Of Wrath, for which he earned a Tony Award nomination and a Drama Desk Award; True West, Balm In Gilead, Streamers and The Caretaker. He received a Joseph Jefferson Award for Marsha Norman’s Getting Out at Chicago’s Wisdom Bridge Theatre. He starred as Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire, and Randle Patrick McMurphy in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest at Steppenwolf, the Barbican Theatre in London, and then on Broadway, earning him another Tony nomination for Best Actor.
Sinise Directed and co-starred with John Malkovich in the landmark production of Sam Shepard’s True West at Steppenwolf and off Broadway, where he received an Obie Award for Best Director. He also directed Sam Shepard’s Buried Child which kicked off Steppenwolf’s 20th Anniversary and continued with a successful run on Broadway where it was nominated for five Tony Awards, including one for Sinise for Best Director. His other Stage Directing credits include Tracers, Frank’s Wild Years, The Miss Firecracker Contest, Waiting for Parade, Action, Road To Nirvana and Landscape Of The Body. He received a Joseph Jefferson Award for his direction of Lyle Kessler’s Orphans, which also played off-Broadway and in London with Albert Finney.
In 1994, Sinise's portrayal of Lt. Dan, in the Academy Award winning film Forrest Gump, brought him mainstream attention and earned him nominations for an Oscar, a Golden Globe and the Screen Actors Guild Award. He received the Best Supporting Actor Award from the National Board of Review, and the Commander’s Award from the Disabled American Veterans for the role as well. He then went on to take starring roles in the acclaimed Apollo 13 opposite Tom Hanks; the thriller Ransom with Mel Gibson and Rene Russo; and Brian DePalma’s psychological thriller Snake Eyes with Nicholas Cage.
He was last seen on the big screen in Columbia Pictures’ The Forgotten with Julianne Moore, and The Human Stain opposite Anthony Hopkins, Nicole Kidman and Ed Harris. He also provided the voice of Shaw in Sony’s animated feature Open Season.
Sinise also made his mark as a feature film Director with Of Mice And Men, which he co-produced and co-starred in with John Malkovich, as well as Miles From Home starring Richard Gere and Kevin Anderson. Both were screened in competition at the Cannes Film Festival.
His other film credits include A Midnight Clear, Jack The Bear, The Quick And The Dead, It's The Rage, The Big Bounce, Gary Fleder’s sci-fi thriller Imposter, John Frankenheimer’s Reindeer Games, Brian DePalma’s Mission To Mars, Frank Darabont’s The Green Mile and Kevin Spacey’s Directorial debut Albino Alligator.
Gary also executive produced the documentary film Brothers At War, a rare look at the bonds and service of our soldiers on the frontlines, and the profound effects their service has on the loved ones they leave behind.
A four-time SAG Award nominee, on television, he acted in Path To War Directed by John Frankenheimer on HBO, Showtime’s adaptation of Jason Miller’s Pulitzer Prize winning play That Championship Season Directed by Paul Sorvino and gave award-winning performances in Truman (Golden Globe, CableACE and Screen Actors Guild) and John Frankenheimer’s George Wallace (Screen Actors Guild, Emmy and CableACE). He also starred in My Name Is Bill W with James Woods, in Stephen King’s The Stand, and in CBS/Hallmark’s Fallen Angel. Gary recently completed a nine season run as Detective Mac Taylor in the hit CBS series CSI NY.
He was the subject of the Fox News documentary, On The Road In Iraq With Our Troops And Gary Sinise, which highlighted his 4th USO tour to Kuwait and Iraq. He is also the subject of the feature length documentary, Lt. Dan Band For The Common Good, a film that follows Gary and his band and is dedicated to remembering those who serve, those who are willing to lay down their lives for others, and those who are left behind. Sinise has also narrated several documentaries for television including When We Left Earth, World War 2 in HD, Game of Honor and Missions That Changed The War.
Beginning in 2003, he has traveled the world performing for the men and women of the Armed Forces with his band, Gary Sinise and The LT Dan Band.