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Gerard Butler is best known for his role as King Leonidas of Sparta in 300.
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Born November 13, 1969, in Paisley, Scotland, Gerard Butler is an actor best known for his role as King Leonidas of Sparta in 300. Since appearing in the film, he has starred in several romantic comedies, including P.S. I Love You with Hilary Swank and The Ugly Truth with Katherine Heigl, along with appearing on many "world's hottest men" lists.
"I'd had maybe four singing lessons when I went to sing 'Music of the Night' for Andrew Lloyd Webber, which was perhaps the most nerve-wracking experience I ever went through. But I got the role. Some people thought I did a great job, but others thought it was sacrilegious."
Born in Paisley, Scotland, on November 13, 1969, Gerard Butler grew up the youngest of three children in a devout Roman Catholic family. When he was 6 months old, his family relocated to Montreal, Canada, where his father tried a few business ventures but ultimately failed. A year and a half later, his parents divorced, and his mother moved Gerard and his two older siblings back to her hometown of Paisley, Scotland.
After the move, Butler was raised by his mother, with no further contact with his father until he was 16 years old. (Gerard Butler and his later father reconciled, and remained close until his father died of cancer when Butler was in his early 20s.) During his childhood, Butler was enthralled with movies and acting, and his mother took him to several auditions. He joined the Scottish Youth Theatre and in one of his first roles played a street urchin in its production of Oliver!.
Despite his love for theater and film, Butler was anxious to please his family and believed that acting was not a realistic career choice for him. "I was a 16-year-old kid on the other side of the world from where they made movies," he later said. "Scottish actors never really got play. There was Sean Connery, and that was it." Though he claims he is "not the most academic of guys," Butler graduated near the top of his high school class and enrolled in the University of Glasgow, where he studied to become a lawyer and solicitor. During his time in university, Butler was also the president of the law society and graduated with honors. Like many other new graduates, Butler decided to take a year off to travel abroad, and his ventures soon landed him in Venice, California, where he indulged in the high life: "This is when things started to go a little crazy," he later said. "Something very compulsive and dark and lusty and pleasurable but damaging took over. It was suddenly knowing I could go out and have a life of traveling, craziness, adventure, partying, women, and all the other things that go with that—including a sense of abandonment."
After California, Butler returned to Scotland to begin a two-year traineeship at one of Edinburgh's top law firms, but soon found that he despised the job more and more, and he started slacking off and letting his depression show. A week before he was due to finish his traineeship, he went to the Edinburgh Film Festival and saw a stage production of Trainspotting, an experience that crystallized his disappointment with the law and his yearning to be an actor: "The guy playing the lead role was phenomenal. It was such an incredible atmosphere. And I'm dying inside.
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