Golden Globe and Emmy-winning actor and director Gary Sinise will speak to theater arts students and the public at California Lutheran University at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28.
The Calabasas resident will be the featured guest in the next event in the free “Conversations With…” series in Preus-Brandt Forum on the Thousand Oaks campus. Actor, writer and director Markus Flanagan, who teaches at Cal Lutheran, will moderate an informal 60-minute discussion followed by a 30-minute question-and-answer session with the audience.
Born and raised in Illinois, Sinise and some friends auditioned for “West Side Story” on a lark in high school, and he was hooked on acting by closing night. After graduating from high school in 1974, Sinise co-founded the Steppenwolf Theatre Co. in Chicago. In addition to acting, Sinise directed some notable productions by the company, which grew out of a church basement. One of those productions was Sam Shephard’s “True West,” which became the company’s off-Broadway debut starring Sinise and John Malkovich. The company made its Broadway debut in 1990 with “The Grapes of Wrath,” and Sinise was nominated for a Tony Award for his portrayal of Tom Joad.
Sinise started his Hollywood career by directing two episodes of the TV series “Crime Story” in 1986. His first feature film as an actor was the World War II story “A Midnight Clear” in 1992. The same year, he directed and acted in the critically acclaimed “Of Mice and Men.” Two years later, he earned an Oscar nomination and several awards for his portrayal of disabled veteran Lt. Dan alongside Tom Hanks in “Forrest Gump.” In 1995, he reunited with Hanks in “Apollo 13” and earned Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards and an Emmy nomination for the HBO film “Truman.” In 1998, he won an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a miniseries for “George Wallace.”
In 2008, Sinise received the Presidential Citizens Medal, the second highest honor the president can confer upon a citizen, for his work with the USO entertaining troops with his Lt. Dan Band and with Operation Iraqi Children, which he founded in 2004. In 2011, he established the Gary Sinise Foundation to serve and honor the nation’s defenders, veterans, first responders and those in need.
The “Conversations With …” talks provide theater arts students and others with advice from professionals. They take the approach laid out in Flanagan’s book, “One Less Bitter Actor: The Actor’s Survival Guide,” which explains how to make it in the business of acting while staying sane and focused.
Cal Lutheran’s Theatre and Dance Department is presenting the event. There are no reservations, and seating will be open. Preus-Brandt Forum is located at 135 Chapel Lane. For more information, call 805-493-3452.
Preus-Brandt Forum at Cal Lutheran University
135 Chapel Lane
Thousand Oaks, CA