Chris Kyle: The 'American Sniper's' Reality TV Past

by Raphael Chestang 5:58 PM PST, January 20, 2015
Playing Chris Kyle: The 'American Sniper's' Reality TV Past

American Sniper focuses on Chris Kyle's military service and his difficulty adjusting to life back home, but what the movie doesn't show is Kyle's attempt at a TV career.

The man widely regarded to be the deadliest sniper in U.S. history was once on a NBC reality show hosted by former ET correspondent Samantha Harris called Stars Earn Stripes.

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The competition show paired up celebrities with military operatives who mentored the celebs through the experience of day-to-day military operations. Kyle was teamed with Dean Cain.

"I read your book [American Sniper]," Cain told Kyle on the show in 2012. "I tried to explain to my nine-year-old son about what an American hero was, so I showed him your picture. I could not be more honored to be here with you."

Kyle later responded with compliments of his own.

"Everything I say he's taking in and doing, and he is awesome!" Kyle said of Cain.

Kyle was killed months after the series when a soldier he was mentoring with PTSD shot him at a Texas shooting range in February 2013. Unfortunately Kyle didn't live to see the final product of Bradley Cooper's depiction of him in Clint Eastwood's American Sniper.

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Kyle's widow Taya explained the process that the couple went through to trust the moviemakers with their story.

"Bradley and Clint came for a visit at the house and sat with the kids and played with the dogs," Taya said. "For us it was more analytical, 'Are they going to do a good job? Will they get it? What type of person are they?' That type of thing."

After seeing his performance, Taya gave Cooper her stamp of approval for his portrayal of her late husband.