Richard Gere (Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Richard Tiffany Gere ( ; born August 31, 1949) is an American actor. He began acting in the 1970s, playing a supporting role in Looking for Mr. Goodbar, and a starring role in Days of Heaven. He 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.
Gere was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His mother, Doris Ann (née Tiffany, born 1924), was a homemaker. His father, Homer George Gere (born 1922), was an insurance agent for the Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, and had originally intended to become a minister. Gere is their eldest son and second child. His paternal great-grandfather had changed the spelling of the surname from "Geer". His parents were both Mayflower descendants; Gere's ancestors include Pilgrims Francis Eaton, John Billington, George Soule, Richard Warren, Degory Priest, Francis Cooke, and William Brewster.
In 1967, Gere graduated from North Syracuse Central High School, where he excelled at gymnastics and music, playing the trumpet. He attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst on a gymnastics scholarship, majoring in philosophy, but did not graduate, leaving after two years.
Gere first worked professionally at the Provincetown Playhouse on Cape Cod in 1971 where he starred in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. His first major acting role was in the original London stage version of Grease in 1973. 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. In 1980, Gere appeared in the Broadway production of Bent. He became a major star that year with the film American Gigolo, followed by the romantic drama An Officer and a Gentleman, which grossed almost $130 million in 1982.
Experiencing several box office failures since 1982, Gere's career strengthened with the releases of Internal Affairs and Pretty Woman in 1990. Gere's status as a leading man 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). Gere also took a leading role in the 1997 action movie The Jackal, playing Declan Mulqueen.
Richard Gere was named People magazine's "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, 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 that grossed $170 million worldwide though his next film, 2005's Bee Season, was a commercial failure.
In 2008, Gere co-starred with Diane Lane in the romantic drama Nights in Rodanthe. The film was widely panned by critics (making #74 on The Times Worst Films of 2008 list), but grossed over $84 million worldwide.
Late in his career, Gere was honored twice for his lifetime achievement. He received an award from the 34th Cairo International Film Festival in December 2010, and was the 67th recipient of The George Eastman Award for distinguished contribution to the art of film in 2012, for his acting career and his global humanitarian leadership.
Personal life and activism
Gere was married to supermodel Cindy Crawford from 1991 to 1995. In 2002, he married model and actress Carey Lowell. They have a son, Homer James Jigme Gere, who was born in 2000 and is named after Gere's father, as well as the Tibetan name Jigme.
Gere was raised attending Methodist churches. His interest in Buddhism began when in his twenties. Gere first studied Zen Buddhism under Kyozan Joshu Sasaki. After having studied Zen for five or six years, Gere traveled to Nepal in 1978 with the Brazilian painter, Sylvia Martins where he met many Tibetan monks and lamas. He then met the 14th Dalai Lama in India and became a practicing Buddhist of the Gelugpa school of Tibetan Buddhism and an active supporter of the Dalai Lama. Gere visits Dharamsala, the headquarters of the Tibetan government-in-exile, regularly.
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 denounced the Chinese government in his capacity as presenter. 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 Free Tibet-themed Lancia commercial featuring the Lancia Delta. On June 27, 2011 Richard Gere meditated in Borobudur temple.
Richard Gere actively supports Survival International, an organization dedicated to protecting the rights and lands of tribal peoples throughout the world. He contributed some of his writing for the book, We Are One: A Celebration of Tribal Peoples, released in October 2009. Richard Gere discusses the persecution and loss of land of the Jummas, as an example of a tragic story that repeats itself in different continents of the world. He calls attention to the crime against their peaceful culture and how it reflects on our own relationship with nature and capacity to survive. The royalties from the sale of this book go to the indigenous rights organization, Survival International.
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. 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.
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 embraced Bollywood superstar Shilpa Shetty, dipped her, and kissed her several times on the cheek. 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."
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 the PRC. 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 "adpublitizing".
Honors and awards
On 17 May 2012, Albanian President, Bamir Topi awarded the "Medal of Gratitude" to Richard Gere with the citation: "With gratitude and honor outstanding personality of the world art, great humanist and activist for the protection of human rights, which unmasked and the American public made known, and further, inhuman crimes, ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, in 1999, the Serbian military machine against the Albanian civilian population living in its land". On 16 February 2012, George Eastman House International Museum for Photography and Film honored Richard Gere with the George Eastman Award for distinguished contribution to the art of film.
Invasion of Iraq
Gere has stated that the decision to go to war in Iraq was one that the American people were not in support of and that the administration at the time "bullied" Americans into the decision. He blamed the situation on a very "poor president".
"I'm very sorry about what the U.S. has done in Iraq. This war has been a tragedy for everyone. I hope that the people of Iraq can rebuild their country," Gere said in a press conference, held on the sidelines of the 34th Cairo International Film Festival.
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