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Gary Sinise is opening up about how his political beliefs have impacted his career in Hollywood.
The actor, who is best known for his Oscar-nominated role as Lt. Dan in 1994’s Forrest Gump, spoke to Chris Wallace on Friday’s episode of Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace?.
Sinise has been publicly open about his political views, even starting Friends of Abe, a conservative group for Hollywood figures, in 2004. When asked if conservatives in the entertainment industry needed a support group, the Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders actor laughed in response, saying it was formed “during the early days of the Iraq War.”
“I think so much was motivated by…what happened to our Vietnam veterans and the lack of support that they got and the way they were treated, and then we regretted it later on,” he added. “I didn’t want our Iraq War and Afghanistan veterans to fall prey to any of that kind of stuff. I just wanted to get in there and support them. So, I started looking for people that were just in the same camp as me on that subject. And I found other folks in the movie and television business who enjoyed getting together.”
In 1974, after Sinise graduated from high school, he also founded the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Highland Park, Illinois. It’s the same town where a mass shooting happened during an Independence Day parade on July 4, 2022. The actor told Wallace that he lived a few blocks from where it took place and actually walked in the parade as a child.
The actor has been open about his support for the Second Amendment and when addressing gun control, he said, “We need multiple solutions, clearly. There’s no one solution for this terrible problem that we have.”
“I’m not the guy to know exactly what to do about all that.… The one thing I do know is that you can’t get rid of guns,” he added. “Guns are here to stay. They have always been a part of the American story. So, what do we do now that we seem to have this easy access to guns when we shouldn’t? Or people that get guns that shouldn’t have them? What do we do? It’s a complicated situation. I don’t think there’s one solution.”
When asked about if he could have had a bigger Hollywood career if he focused on acting, he said he “had some great opportunities,” and that he “can’t complain about my acting career.”
“I’ve had a blessed career in the movie and television and theater business,” Sinise said. “I’ve done amazing things, I’ve worked with amazing people, and it really played a major role, if not the key element, in what I’m doing today on the service side.”
The Apollo 13 actor founded the Gary Sinise Foundation in 2011, which has programs like Relief & Resiliency Outreach that provides support for people in need recovering from injury, loss or trauma. The nonprofit also has a program called RISE that creates smart homes for injured U.S. veterans.
Sinise explained that during his career, he eventually started choosing projects that served his greater mission, saying, “There were a few projects I took because it kind of fit right into what I was doing on the service side. For example…I had done nine seasons of CSI: NY. Now, I had this public platform on television every week. I’m playing a character who is not only a police officer, but he was a veteran and he was a 9/11 family member. That gave me an opportunity in a public way to honor the men and women who we lost on Sept. 11 and the firefighter we lost.”
“And then, along came Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders.… I did that because it fits into the mission,” he continued. “I can pick and choose very specifically based on what life is about, and now life is so much more about giving back and trying to serve our veteran community and our first responder community.”
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