The Thalians Honors Actor & Humanitarian, Gary Sinise
With the 2023 Mr. Wonderful Award at Annual Winter Gala
“While we can never do enough for our defenders and their loved ones, we can always do a little more.” — Gary Sinise
On December 2, 2023, The Thalians will host their annual star-studded Winter Gala, with proceeds benefitting the charity. The 2023 gala will honor actor and humanitarian, Gary Sinise, with their highest honor, the Mr. Wonderful Award, for his efforts on behalf of our service men and women through the Gary Sinise Foundation. To date, The Thalians have raised over $50 million for mental health-related causes over the past 68 years. They are now devoted to UCLA’s Operation Mend helping brave military men and women heal the wounds of war. “Not only in fractured body but in fragmented mind and spirit as well,” says Ruta Lee.
Join Ruta Lee (Board Chairwoman/Emeritus), Frank Sheftel (Thalian’s President), and gala Producer/Emcee, Joely Fisher, as they welcome numerous celebrated supporters, including (additional names TBA), with special entertainment by legendary impressionist, Rich Little, as well as Tricia Leigh Fisher and Bryon Thames (aka Fisher & Thames) who will be the musical entertainment for the evening.
TICKETS: $450 – Visit http://www.thalians.org/
ABOUT THE HONOREE – GARY SINISE:
Gary Sinise’s stage, film, and television career has spanned more than four decades. In 1974, at 18 years of age, he co-founded Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company. 20 years later, for his performance as Lt Dan Taylor in Forrest Gump, he received nominations for Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, and Academy Awards, and earned the Best Supporting Actor Award from the National Board of Review and the Commander’s Award from the Disabled American Veterans. Other film credits include Apollo 13, Ransom, Snake Eyes, Impostor, The Green Mile, Mission to Mars, and The Human Stain.
His most recent film and television work include, I Still Believe, Good Joe Bell, and the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why. Gary has starred as Jack Garrett on the series Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, and for nine seasons as Detective “Mac” Taylor on the hit series CSI: NY, both of which aired on CBS. Sinise is an Emmy, Golden Globe, and two-time SAG Award winner for his roles in Truman and George Wallace. He also received a SAG Award nomination for his role in The Stand.
For nearly 40 years, Gary has stood as an advocate on behalf of America’s service members. It began in the early ‘80s, supporting local Vietnam veterans groups in the Chicago area, and into the ‘90s, when his portrayal of Lt. Dan formed an enduring connection with service members throughout the military community, and as he worked on behalf of the Disabled American Veterans organization, which he continues to actively support today. Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, Sinise’s dedication to our nation’s active duty defenders, veterans, first responders, and their families has become a tireless crusade of support, service, and gratitude for all those who protect our freedom and serve our country.
In 2003, after several USO handshake tours, he formed the “Lt. Dan Band” and began entertaining troops serving at home and abroad. Over the years, the 13-piece cover band has performed hundreds of shows for charities and fundraisers supporting wounded heroes, Gold Star families, veterans, and troops around the world. Sinise served as the national spokesperson for the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial and raised funds for the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial in Washington, D.C. and the Brooklyn Wall of Remembrance in NYC. He serves on the President’s Advisory Group for the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation, the Community Council for Hope for the Warriors, and as an honorary board member of the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS).
In 2011, to expand upon his efforts, he established the Gary Sinise Foundation with the mission to serve and honor America’s defenders, veterans, first responders, Gold Star families, and those in need. The foundation remains committed to finding new and exciting ways to give back to those who sacrifice for our nation and encouraging others to do the same has become his quest and what he hopes will endure as a legacy of service to others. In 2019, his autobiography, Grateful American: A Journey from Self to Service, was released and immediately became a New York Times Bestseller. It is the inspiring, entertaining, and profound story of how a young “rough around the edges” kid from Chicago eventually, through his very personal and unique journey, found his calling: to ensure that our nation’s defenders, who serve this country and its freedoms, are never forgotten.
In recognition of his humanitarian work, Sinise has earned many distinguished honors including two awards from the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, the Bob Hope Award for Excellence in Entertainment, and their highest honor, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s Patriot Award. Other awards include the Spirit of the USO Award, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, the Spirit of Hope Award by the Department of Defense, the Sylvanus Thayer Award from the West Point Association of Graduates, and the George Catlett Marshall Medal from the Association of the United States Army (AUSA). In 2008, he was given the Presidential Citizens Medal, the second-highest civilian honor awarded to citizens for exemplary deeds performed in service of the nation. He is only the third actor ever to receive this honor. He was also named an honorary Chief Petty Officer by the United States Navy, an Honorary Marine by the United States Marine Corps, and an Honorary Battalion Chief of the Fire Department of New York. On April 17, 2017, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame from the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. Gary’s first book, Grateful American: A Journey from Self to Service, is now available for sale.
ABOUT THE GARY SINISE FOUNDATION (https://www.garysinisefoundation.org/
Gary Sinise is an award-winning actor and humanitarian, best known for his roles in CSI:NY, Apollo 13, and his Oscar-nominated performance in the film Forrest Gump as the wounded Vietnam veteran Lt. Dan Taylor. An advocate for our nation’s defenders since the 1980s, after 9/11 Sinise began a tireless crusade to support America’s military and first responders around the world with handshake tours and concerts with his band, the Lt. Dan Band. In 2011, he established the Gary Sinise Foundation as an extension of those efforts. Today, the Foundation is building custom homes for severely wounded heroes, honoring and supporting the families of our fallen, providing essential equipment and training for first responders, improving the mental wellness of our defenders, and so much more.
ABOUT THE THALIANS (http://www.thalians.org/
The Thalian’s mission is to raise the funds to educate and enlighten the world about mental illness thereby eliminating the stigma attached to it. The Thalian’s pledge to take mental illness out of the dark closet of ignorance and despair, bringing it into the light of healing. The Thalians support UCLA Operation Mend, which was established in 2007 as a groundbreaking partnership among UCLA Health, the United States Military, and the Department of Veterans Affairs to help heal the wounds of war, by providing comprehensive psychological-health support for service members, veterans, and their families at no cost. Now, celebrating nearly 70 years of presenting the annual Mr/Ms Wonderful Award, a statue designed by Walt Disney, past recipients have included Frank Sinatra, Mary Martin, Lana Turner, Ed Sullivan, Shirley MacLaine, Gene Kelly, Sammy Davis Jr, Lucille Ball, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, James Stewart, Rita Hayworth, Count Basie, Liza Minelli, Carol Channing, Carol Burnett, Sally Field, Mary Tyler Moore, Whoopi Goldberg, Red Buttons, Clint Eastwood, Mickey Rooney, Kenny Rogers, Hugh Hefner, Smokey Robinson, Phyllis Diller, Dr Phil and Robin McGraw.