‘NCIS’ Star Gary Cole’s Favorite Childhood Movie Is a Jack Lemmon Classic

by Taylor Cunningham

When we were kids, we all had a few special movies that we could watch over and over. Certain films were made so well that we would wear out the old VHS tapes and ask our parents to buy another. And NCIS star Gary Cole remembers the very first time he watched his favorite childhood movie, which is an absolute classic.

Gary Cole loved The Fortune Cookie, and he saw the 1966 comedy in theaters when he was only 10-years-old. The movie was the first time that Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau paired up on the big screen. So, if you haven’t seen the flick, watch it when you have a chance. Because as most of you know, Matthau and Lemmon went on to be two of the funniest duos in Hollywood.

In a Q&A with Entertainment Weekly, Cole talked about watching the movie with his parents. The plot confused him at first. And for some reason, he thinks The Fortune Cookie is “an odd choice” for a favorite childhood movie. But we disagree, there is nothing odd about loving the film. And he admitted that the movie “stuck with [him] for a long time.”

“I remember going to see it with my parents when I was 10,” he said. “I had a lot of questions about it, ’cause at the heart, it was about insurance fraud. I kept asking, ‘Why is he in a wheelchair? Why are people spying on him?’ They were saying, ‘Just be quiet. Watch the movie.'”

But the movie that finally inspired him to act was a completely different genre. It was Al Pacino’s Dog Day Afternoon. After watching it in college, he had a “revelation” that took him right to the silver screen.

‘NCIS’ Star Gary Cole Reveals the Moment He Knew He Could Act

Gary Cole has had a pretty successful career in tinsel town. The actor has been in a few blockbuster hits like Office Space and Talladega Nights. And this year, he found a new home on “TV’s most-watched drama,” NCIS.

To headline in films and series of those calibers, Cole has to have some serious acting chops. And to even audition, he had to know that he had what it takes. So in an interview, Entertainment Weekly asked Cole if he remembers the moment he realized that he could be a star.

And Cole does remember “that moment.” It was when he was just a kid in junior high. He landed a part in a school play, and the audience loved him.

“I got some laughs in a play,” he said. “So I figured I was doing something right. I had to do this counting twice and got the same [positive] result. So at least it proved it wasn’t an accident.”