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Richard Gere - Biography

Richard Gere is an actor known for his roles in Pretty Woman, American Gigolo, An Officer and a Gentleman, and others, plus his passion for Buddhism, advocacy for Tibet's independence, and AIDS awareness

Richard Gere attends a photocall for 'Franny' at Villa Borghese on December 14, 2015 in Rome, Italy© Getty
October 8, 2009
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Richard Gere Early Life

Richard Gere was born in Philadelphia on August 31, 1949, and he was raised on a farm in upstate New York by mom Doris Ann and father Homer George Gere.

He graduated from North Syracuse Central High School in 1967, before winning a gymnastics scholarship for the University of Massachusetts. During his time in college, he majored in philosophy and drama, but as his interest in acting grew, he decided to drop out to pursue a career in acting after two years.

Richard Gere Acting Career

Richard's first experience in acting came by way of the theater, when he worked at the Seattle Repertory Theatre and the Provincetown Playhouse on Cape Cod in the late 1960s, and one of his first big acting roles was in a 1973 London stage version of Grease.

His role as a gay Holocaust victim in a Broadway production of Bent in 1979 is considered his breakthrough role, and his role as a male prostitute in American Gigolo in 1980 won him further acclaim, as well as his role in 1982's An Officer And A Gentleman, which brought him his first Golden Globe nomination.

Though his career took a dip as he turned his focus to human rights causes – he turned down the lead roles in both Die Hard, which went to Bruce Willis, and Wall Street, which was eventually taken by Michael Douglas – he had a major rebound thanks to his role on Pretty Woman opposite Julia Roberts, which earned him his second Golden Globe nomination.

Other notable works of his include Chicago (2002), Shall We Dance (2004), Arbitrage (2012), and Norman (2016).

Richard Gere Personal Life

Richard spent 1986 working on a comprehensive fact-finding mission in Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador, where thousands of people were being killed in armed conflicts. It was around this time he began studying with the Dalai Lama, and today he is a supporter of the spiritual leader and a follower of Tibetan Buddhism.

The actor has been vocal with his criticism of the Chinese government, and in 1993 he was banned from being an Academy Award presenter after he denounced the Chineses government while announcing that year's nominees. He has previously claimed that because of Hollywood's financial relationship with China, he has been shunned by major studios.

He is a steadfast advocate for human rights in Tibet. He is a co-founder of the Tibet House US and Chairman of the Board of Directors for the International Campaign for Tibet; because of his support of Tibet's independence from China, he is banned from entering the country. 

Richard married supermodel Cindy Crawford in 1991 when he was 42 and she was 25; they divorced in 1995. In 2002, he married Carey Lowell, and the two share a son, Homer James Jigme Gere, born in 2000, and named after his grandfathers and Tibetan name "Jigme." The two separated in 2013, though had a tense legal battle over their divorce, which wasn't settled until 2016.

He married Spanish activist and publicist Alejandra Silva in 2018, and they welcomed their first son together, Alexander, in 2019. They welcomed a second son, whose name they have kept private, in 2020, and Richard is a stepfather to Alejandra's nine-year-old son Albert from a previous marriage.

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