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Richard Tiffany Gere[1] (pronounced /giːr/, geer, born August 29, 1949) is an American actor. He began acting in the 1970s, and came to prominence in 1980 for his role in the film American Gigolo, which established him as a leading man and a sex symbol. He went on to star in several hit films including An Officer and a Gentleman, Pretty Woman, Primal Fear, and Chicago, for which he won a Golden Globe Award as Best Actor, as well as a Screen Actors Guild Award as part of the Best Cast.
Early life

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Gere is a descendant of Mayflower Pilgrims Francis Eaton, John Billington, George Soule, Richard Warren, Degory Priest, William Brewster and Francis Cooke.[1] Gere's mother, Doris Anna (née Tiffany), was a homemaker, and his father, Homer George Gere, was an insurance agent for the Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and had originally intended to become a minister.[2] Gere has three sisters and a brother. In 1967, he graduated from North Syracuse Central High School, where he excelled at gymnastics and music, playing the trumpet.[2] He attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst on a gymnastics scholarship, majoring in philosophy, but did not graduate, leaving after two years.[2][3]

Career

Gere first worked professionally at the Provincetown Playhouse on Cape Cod in 1971 where he starred in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. Gere's first major acting role was in the original London stage version of Grease in 1973.[2] He began appearing in Hollywood films in the mid 1970s, co-starring in the thriller Looking For Mr. Goodbar (1977) and playing the leading role in director Terrence Malick's well-reviewed 1978 film, Days of Heaven.[2] In 1980, Gere appeared in the Broadway production of Bent. His acting career took off that year with the film American Gigolo, followed by the romantic drama An Officer and a Gentleman, which grossed almost $130 million in 1982.[4]

However, after 1982, Gere's career was dogged by several box office failures.[5][6] His career was somewhat resurrected after the release of both Internal Affairs and Pretty Woman in 1990. Gere's status as a leading man was again solidified, and he went on to star in several successful films throughout the 1990s, including Sommersby (1993), Primal Fear (1996), and Runaway Bride (1999) which reunited him with his Pretty Woman co-star Julia Roberts.[5]

People magazine named Gere the "Sexiest Man Alive" in 1999. In 2002, he appeared in three major releases: the horror thriller The Mothman Prophecies, the drama Unfaithful, and the Academy Award-winning film version of Chicago,[2] for which he won a Golden Globe as "Best Actor - Comedy or Musical". Gere's 2004 ballroom dancing drama, Shall We Dance, was also a solid performer which grossed $170 million worldwide[7] though his next film, 2005's Bee Season, was a commercial failure.[8]

Gere was Harvard University's Hasty Pudding Theatricals' "Man of the Year" for 2006. In 2007, he co-starred with Jesse Eisenberg and Terrence Howard in The Hunting Party, a comic thriller in which he played a journalist in Bosnia. The same year he also starred with Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, and Cate Blanchett in Todd Haynes' semi-biographical film about Bob Dylan, I'm Not There.

Most recently, Gere co-starred with Diane Lane in the romantic drama Nights in Rodanthe, released in 2008. The film was widely panned by critics[9] (even making #74 on The London Times Worst Films of 2008 list),[10] but grossed over $84 million worldwide.[11]

Personal life and activism
Gere presented with a Khata by the 14th Dalai Lama

Gere was married to supermodel Cindy Crawford from 1991 to 1995. In 2002, he married actress Carey Lowell. They have a son, Homer James Jigme Gere, who was born in 2000 and is named after Gere's father.[2]

Gere was raised by Methodist parents;[12] his interest in Buddhism began when he traveled to Nepal in 1978 with the Brazilian painter, Sylvia Martins.[13] He is a practicing Buddhist and an active supporter of the Dalai Lama.[2] Gere is also a persistent advocate for human rights in Tibet; he is a co-founder of the Tibet House, creator of The Gere Foundation, and he is Chairman of the Board of Directors for the International Campaign for Tibet. Because he strongly supports the Tibetan Independence Movement, he is permanently banned from entering The People's Republic of China. Gere was banned as an Academy Award presenter in 1993 after he used the opportunity to condemn the Chinese government. [14] In September 2007, Gere called for the boycott of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games to put pressure on China to make Tibet independent. He starred in a politically themed pro-Tibet Lancia commercial featuring the Lancia Delta.[15]
Gere Visits USAID HIV / AIDS "Operation Lighthouse" Project In Mumbai, as part of USAID.

Gere campaigns for ecological causes and AIDS awareness. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Healing the Divide, an organization that supports global initiatives to promote peace, justice and understanding,[16] and he also actively supports Survival International, an organization dedicated to protecting the rights and lands of tribal peoples throughout the world.[13] He helped to establish the AIDS Care Home, a residential facility in India for women and children with AIDS, and also supports campaigns for AIDS awareness and education that country. In 1999 he created the Gere Foundation India Trust to support a variety of humanitarian programs in India.[17]

On April 15, 2007, Gere appeared at an AIDS awareness rally in Jaipur, India. During a live news conference to promote condom use among truck drivers, he affectionately embraced Bollywood superstar Shilpa Shetty, dipped her, and kissed her several times on the cheek.[18] As a result of that gesture, a local court ordered the arrest of Gere and Shetty, finding them in violation "public obscenity" laws. Gere, who quickly fled the country, has said the controversy was "manufactured by a small hard-line political party." About a month later, a two-judge bench headed by the Chief Justice of India, KG Balakrishnan, described the case as "frivolous" and believed that such complaints (against celebrities) were filed for "cheap publicity" and have brought a bad name to the country. They ruled that "Richard Gere is free to enter the country. This is the end of the matter."[19]

In June 2008, Gere appeared in a Fiat commercial for the European market, driving a new Lancia Delta from Hollywood to Tibet. The commercial concluded with a tagline of "New Lancia Delta: the power to be different". The commercial was reported in Chinese newspapers, and Fiat apologized to China.[20] Branding expert John Tantillo argued that Fiat had foreseen the controversy the ad would cause and hoped to benefit from press coverage it would receive, labeling it a case of adpublitzing.[21]

Filmography
Year Film Role Notes
1977 Looking For Mr. Goodbar Tony Lo Porto
1978 Bloodbrothers Thomas Stony De Coco
Days of Heaven Bill David di Donatello Award for Best Foreign Actor
1979 Yanks Matt Dyson
1980 American Gigolo Julian Kaye
1982 An Officer and a Gentleman Zack Mayo Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama
1983 The Honorary Consul Dr. Eduardo Plarr
Breathless Jesse Lujack
1984 The Cotton Club Dixie Dwyer
1985 King David David
1986 No Mercy Eddie Jillette
Power Pete St. John
1988 Miles from Home Frank Roberts, Jr.
1990 Pretty Woman Edward Lewis Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Internal Affairs Dennis Peck
1991 Rhapsody in August Clark
1992 Final Analysis Dr. Isaac Barr
1993 Mr. Jones Mr. Jones
Sommersby John Robert 'Jack' Sommersby
And The Band Played On The Choreographer Nominated — CableACE Award for Supporting Actor in a Movie or Miniseries
Nominated — Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor - Miniseries or a Movie
1994 Intersection Vincent Eastman
1995 First Knight Lancelot
1996 Primal Fear Martin Vail
1997 The Jackal Declan Joseph Mulqueen National Board of Review Freedom of Expression Award
Red Corner Jack Moore
1999 Runaway Bride Ike Graham
2000 Dr. T & the Women Dr. T Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Autumn in New York Will Keane
2002 Chicago Billy Flynn Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Cast
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Nominated — Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Unfaithful Edward Sumner
The Mothman Prophecies John Klein
2004 Shall We Dance John Clark
2005 Bee Season Saul Naumann
2007 The Hoax Clifford Irving Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
The Hunting Party Simon
I'm Not There Bob Dylan as Billy The Kid Independent Spirit Robert Altman Award
The Flock Agent Erroll Babbage
2008 Nights in Rodanthe Dr. Paul Flanner
2009 Amelia George Putnam post-production
Hachiko: A Dog's Story Lead role post-production
Brooklyn's Finest Eddie Dugan post-production

References

1. ^ a b Roberts, Gary Boyd. ""The New England Ancestry of Actor Richard (Tiffany) Gere"". New England Historic Genealogical Society. http://www.newenglandancestors.org/education/articles/research/special_guests/gary_boyd_roberts/74_659_474.asp. Retrieved 2007-01-12.
2. ^ a b c d e f g h Stated in interview on Inside the Actors Studio, 2002
3. ^ "Richard Gere Biography", Carey Latimore, The Biography Channel. Retrieved May 1, 2008.
4. ^ "An Officer and a Gentleman". Box Office Mojo. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=officerandagentleman.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-04.
5. ^ a b "Richard Gere". Box Office Mojo. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/people/chart/?view=Actor&id=richardgere.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-04.
6. ^ "Richard Gere". Rotten Tomatoes. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/celebrity/richard_gere/. Retrieved 2009-05-04.
7. ^ "Shall We Dance". Box Office Mojo. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=shallwedance.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-04.
8. ^ "Bee Season". Box Office Mojo. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=beeseason.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-04.
9. ^ "Nights in Rodanthe (2008)". Rotten Tomatoes. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/nights_in_rodanthe/. Retrieved 2009-05-04.
10. ^ "Turkeys! The 100 Worst Movies of 2008". The London Times. 2008-12-8. http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/film/article5245052.ece. Retrieved 2009-05-04.
11. ^ "Nights in Rodanthe". Box Office Mojo. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=nightsinrodanthe.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-04.
12. ^ BBC NEWS | In Depth | Newsmakers | Richard Gere: On guard
13. ^ a b "Richard Gere Biography", Carey Latimore, The Biography Channel. Retrieved May 12, 2007.
14. ^ An in-depth look at your favourite celebrity personalities - hellomagazine.com, HELLO!
15. ^ Richard Gere stars in pro-Tibet Lancia TV commercial
16. ^ Healing The Divide
17. ^ The Gere Foundation. Retrieved May 12, 2007.
18. ^ YouTube - Richard Gere kissing Shilpa Shetty
19. ^ BBC NEWS | South Asia | Richard Gere cleared of obscenity
20. ^ "Fiat apologizes to China for Richard Gere Commercial" Auto Blog. June 20, 2008.
21. ^ "Richard Gere Fiat Ad Is Just The Latest Saga In the Risky New World Of Global Branding" Marketing Doctor Blog. June 25, 2008

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