Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on August 31, 1949, Richard Gere studied at the University of Massachusetts, became a pop musician, and went on to gain extensive experience as a stage actor. Gere received acclaim for an off-Broadway appearance in Killer's Head, then made his big-screen debut with a small role in Report to the Commissioner. His other films include Yanks, American Gigolo, An Officer and A Gentleman, Pretty Woman, Chicago and Shall We Dance?.
Early Life and Career
Born on August 31, 1949, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, actor Richard Tiffany Gere has made a name for himself with such films as An Officer and a Gentleman, Pretty Woman, Chicago and Arbitrage. He grew up in a large Methodist family, one of five children born to Homer and Doris Ann Gere. A musical child, Gere became quite skilled at playing the trumpet.
After graduating from North Syracuse Central High School in 1967, Richard Gere studied philosophy at University of Massachusetts at Amherst on a gymnastics scholarship. He left school after two years to explore his interest in theater. In the early 1970s, Gere landed the role of Danny Zuko in the musical Grease in London.
Gere had a career breakthrough in 1977 with the dramatic thriller Looking for Mr. Goodbar, starring Diane Keaton. In the film, he plays a rough-and-tumble lothario who meets a schoolteacher (Keaton). The following year, Gere landed a starring role in Terrence Malick's epic Days of Heaven.
Hollywood's Leading Man
Gere became an actor on the rise in the 1980s. In 1980, he had the title role in American Gigolo. Gere's character in the film is the personification of smooth and cool with his distinctive fashion style and swagger. Two years later, he came to embody the romantic lead in An Officer and a Gentleman opposite Debra Winger. Gere plays a troubled military recruit who gets involved with a local girl near his basic training camp. The drama proved to be a box office hit.
In 1990, Gere enjoyed another wave of success with the romantic comedy Pretty Woman. The film follows the unlikely relationship that develops between a prostitute, played by Julia Roberts, and her client (Gere). He also showed himself capable of handling more weighty roles, such as the dirty cop in 1990's Internal Affairs and a defense attorney in Primal Fear (1996).
Known for his charisma, charm and good looks, Gere earned People magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive" honor in 1999. He played against type for 2002's Unfaithful as Diane Lane's cuckolded husband. That same year, Gere returned to his musical theater roots with the film adaptation of the Broadway hit Chicago. He won a Golden Globe Award for his portrayal of slick lawyer Billy Flynn.
Throughout his career, Gere has devoted much of his time to his social and political causes. The longtime Buddhist co-founded the Tibet House in 1987 and has served as the chairman of the board for the International Campaign for Tibet since 1995. He later established the Gere Foundation "to help sponsor human rights in Tibet and support the Dalai Lama," Gere explained to Redbook. He also supported charities to help those suffering from AIDS, especially in India.
These days Gere divides his time between his activism and his acting. He still seeks out interesting characters to play on the big screen. He starred in 2006's The Hoax as the infamous writer Clifford Irving. Irving conned the world into believing he wrote a biography of famed reclusive business mogul Howard Hughes in the 1970s. The following year, Gere appeared in I'm Not There, an experimental film about music legend Bob Dylan. He also reunited with Diane Lane for the romantic drama Nights in Rodanthe (2008) around this time.
In 2009, Gere co-starred with Hilary Swank in Amelia, a biopic about groundbreaking aviator Amelia Earhart. While that film proved to be a critical and commercial disappointment, he earned raves for one of his next efforts. Gere starred in 2012's Arbitrage with Susan Sarandon, playing a troubled hedge fund titan; his stunning performance in the film earned him a Golden Globe Award nomination.
Gere was married to model Cindy Crawford from 1991 to 1995.
In 2002, Gere wed actress Carey Lowell; they have one child together, a son named Homer. Gere and Lowell lived together in Bedford, New York, for many years. There they also co-owned the Bedford Post Inn with Russell Hernandez. In September 2013, Gere and Lowell announced that they were separating.
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