Richard Gere’s biography
Richard Tiffany Gere is a famous American actor, a sex symbol of the 80s and 90s, winner of the Golden Globe Award, a humanitarian activist, known to the wide audience due to the films American Gigolo, An Officer and a Gentleman, Pretty Woman, Final Analysis, Runaway Bride, Autumn in New York, Chicago, Shall We Dance, Hachi: A Dog's Tale etc..
Childhood and Youth
Born on August 31, 1949 in Philadelphia (USA), Richard Gere grew up on a farm in the suburbs of New York. His father, Homer George Gere (born 1922) was an insurance agent at the National Insurance Company and his mother, Doris Ann Tiffany (1924 - 2016) was a housewife.
The family was large and lived very modestly, but calmly and friendly. The children took care of the garden and livestock from an early age. The parents tried to raise them harmoniously, and therefore Richard did a lot of music - he learned the basics of playing the guitar, piano and double bass and mastered the pipe on a professional level. In addition, he attended the gymnastics section and performed at the school drama circle.
Richard graduated from school in 1967 and as a promising gymnast received a scholarship to study in college. He entered the University of Massachusetts where he began studying philosophy and stage direction but after the second year he left the university because he planned to become a professional trumpeter. For this purpose he settled in the music commune in Vermont but soon discovered that he did not like the bohemian lifestyle and went to look for work in theaters.
Between 1969 and 1973 Gere played in several performances at the Seattle Repertory Theater and the Provincetown Playhouse in New York. His friends noted that even then the young actor was able to brilliantly reveal himself on stage and showed tremendous charisma but in ordinary life his character was rather introverted and he absolutely didn’t know how to present himself. Perhaps because of that it was difficult for directors to notice the future star in Gere; they considered him expressionless and gloomy.
The first serious success on the stage came to Richard in 1974 when he played a deep dramatic role in Sam Shepard's Killer’s Head. The production instantly became famous and the talented young actor was invited to productions on Broadway and then to the cinema.
Richard Gere’s film debut took place in 1977 with the release of Richard Brooks’s Looking for Mr. Goodbar, where he was given a supporting role and the lead role was played by famous actress Diane Keaton, who received a Golden Globe.
The following year Gere played his first major film role in Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven. The film collected many awards, including the Oscar for best cinematography and the Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Director but then the wide audience didn’t perceive Gere as a star of first magnitude.
His role in Paul Schrader's American Gigolo (1980) criminal melodrama can be considered a breakthrough - a role which his main challenger John Travolta refused.
The film was considered a very brave one at that time, mostly because of the topic of male prostitution raised in it and also because the main character is shown completely naked in one of the scenes, facing the camera at full height. According to Gere, that angle was not written in the script
Due to his job in the film the young actor began to be considered a new American sex symbol. The next picture with Richard Gere in the lead role, Taylor Hackford's An Officer and a Gentleman (1982) melodrama became even more successful and finally fixed him on the Hollywood Olympus. As it was with the previous film, the role was offered to Gere after being refused by Travolta, who later had every reason to regret it.
The film received 6 nominations for an Oscar and won two of which and the American Film Institute recognized it as one of the greatest romantic films in history. With a fairly average budget of $ 6 million the film collected more than 130 million at the box office.
It happened quite naturally in the process of creating the movie. Of course, I felt defenseless, but I think women feel it differently.
It is curious that in real life Gear's relationship with actress Debra Winger, who played his beloved, was rather hostile. In one of her interviews at the end of the set she called him a brick wall and admitted that she had constantly felt tension in communication with him.
In order to work on some of the scenes Richard Gere and actor Louis Gossett had to take karate lessons and once, while filming a staged battle, Gere accidentally hit Gossett in the groin. Fallen Gossett was unable to continue working for several days and a double completed the scene for him. Fortunately, the actors’ friendship wasn’t affected.
In 1983 Gere played in the Breathless drama action, a remake of a picture of the same name by legendary director Jean-Luc Godard, released in 1960. The bright and wild character performed by Gere in the picture takes the viewer to a world filled with passion and furious risk - the film became a cult at the time, though not for long. Coryphaeus of the genre, outstanding director Quentin Tarantino was delighted with him: This film completely indulges all my passions: comics, rockabilly and cinema.
Later Gere brilliantly played the lead role in venerable Francis Coppola’s The Cotton Club (1984) gangster film in a wonderful cast, which included Diane Lane, Nicolas Cage, famous musician Tom Waits and others. The film was rated ambiguously: it received several prestigious awards and nominations, including two Oscar nominations and Golden Globe nominations (for best film and best direction) but, however, failed at the box office, not having paid for even half of the budget spent.
In the second half of the 80s, Gere was shot in several less known films: the King David (1985) historical picture based on the bible (for which he was nominated for the Golden Raspberry as the worst actor but lost to Sylvester Stallone with his Rambo: First Blood Part II), the Power (1986) political corruption drama, the No Mercy crime drama (1986, alongside Kim Basinger) and Miles from Home (1988), the Internal Affairs (1990) thriller. Unfortunately, these works have brought him neither a new portion of fame, nor significant financial dividends.
The actor was actually aground when he was shown the script of the Pretty Woman comedy melodrama. Previously, various stars were invited to the role of financial magnate Edward Lewis, including Denzel Washington and Al Pacino, but they refused for various reasons. Richard Gere also planned to refuse, because the main character seemed superficial to him and the plot was too straightforward. However, at the last moment he changed his mind and agreed, only for financial reasons.
The approval of the actress for the role of spontaneous prostitute Vivian also had certain difficulties: Winona Ryder, Meg Ryan, Diane Lane, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sarah Jessica Parker and other famous actresses were considered for the role. Finally, the film company and director Harry Marshall approved Julia Roberts, and in 1990 the film Pretty Woman triumphantly went on the world screens.
And though critics reacted to the picture rather restrained, noting that it seemed to be about love, but it was really about money and status, the box office made up a record amount of 463 million dollars. Richard Gere was nominated for Golden Globe as best actor and instantly approached a new level. The next few years his name in the tabloids was invariably accompanied by the prefix sex symbol.
Despite the success of Pretty Woman, he now characterizes the film as his least favorite of all the works in the cinema, adding: Fortunately, now we treat such stories more skeptically.
In 1991 Gere played a small role in the Rhapsody in August drama - one of the last works by great Japanese director Akira Kurosawa, dedicated to the memory of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. Some newspapers blamed the film for being anti-American, since Kurosawa openly sympathized with the Japanese, not noting Japanese aggression in World War II. But the maestro didn’t agree: Governments, not people, lead wars between each other. In the picture Richard speaks Japanese, which he doesn’t really know - he had to memorize all the cues by ear.
In general Richard Gere was extremely in demand in the 90s: having crossed the 40-year mark, he didn’t lose a single drop of charisma or male attractiveness, and his early gray hair looked like a noble highlight on the screens, though it was sometimes preferred to dye them on advertising posters.
In 1992 Phil Joanou's The Final Analysis psychological thriller was released, where he collaborated with beautiful actress Kim Basinger and still young at the time Uma Thurman. Soon the actor was invited to play the lead role in the Sommersby (1993) romantic drama, where he played a man who returned home after the American Civil War alongside actress Jodie Foster.
The Mr. Jones (1993) melodrama, the Intersection (1994, with Sharon Stone) drama, the First Knight (1995, with Sean Connery) adventure film about the times of King Arthur, the Primal Fear (1996) thriller, the Red Corner (1997) drama, The Jackal (1997, based on the novel by Frederick Forsyth The day of the Jackal and the film of the same name in 1972) action picture were among his pictures of the time.
Another comedy melodrama by Harry Marshall, but this time with Julia Roberts - the Runaway Bride (1999), which involved many members of the acting and technical team of the Pretty Woman brought a new take-off in his career.
Though this picture didn’t claim to be a masterpiece, it collected an impressive box office of more than 300 million dollars and once again lifted already 50 year-old Gere on the sex symbol pedestal.
Gere's next work turned out to be completely different – the Autumn in New York (2000) drama, where he played the shrill role of a successful man who was powerless before the illness and death of his beloved, played by Winona Ryder. The picture was not welcomed too well, considering it not as bad as everyone feared, but not good enough and pointing to a lack of love chemistry between Gere and Rider. Nevertheless, it went well at the box office and was appreciated by many viewers for the unique feeling of fragile, elusive beauty.
After two not very successful films - the Dr. T & the Women (2000, in a duet with Helen Hunt) romantic comedy and The Mothman Prophecies (2002) mystical thriller - Richard Gere played in Adrian Lyne's Unfaithful (2002 ) action-drama along with his already familiar partner Diane Lane.
According to Gere, playing in the film, he wanted to convey to the wide audience the issues that his character faced.
His next success, even louder, was not long in coming. Rob Marshall's criminal musical Chicago was released in the same 2002, where Richard Gere starred alongside Renée Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones. The film received thirteen (!) Nominations for Oscar and won six of which, including the most prestigious category Best Film. The critics were unanimous: The film is already beautiful at the spectacle level but it also demonstrates the amazing depth of the plot and the highest level of humor. The box office collection of the picture exceeded three hundred million dollars.
In 2004 Gere took part in another excellent work - Peter Chelsom's Shall We Dance melodrama, where Jennifer Lopez and Susan Sarandon became his partners.
What are relations in a couple? How to keep them alive and honest? Maybe they should always be in motion, like sharks? Maybe, in order not to die, you need to dive to greater and greater depth? I think it’s is right.
One of the most striking works of mature Gere was his role in the heartbreaking drama by director Lasse Hallström the Hachi: A Dog's Tale about a faithful dog, who was desperately waiting for its deceased owner for nine years. The story didn’t leave the actor himself indifferent: When I first read the script, I cried. Then I began to read it again and cried again ... We tried to shoot this film truthfully and sincerely.
He considers his role in the picture not the main one: Sometimes we shot 10 hours a day with a focus on the dog and then I quickly played my part in 10 minutes. So I definitely had a secondary role in the film.
In 2013 the actor took part in the set of the Movie 43 black comedy. The picture is remarkable in its own way because it won three Golden Raspberry anti-awards at once: Worst film, Worst director and Worst script. It was not even successful with such actors as Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet, Emma Stone, Uma Thurman, Chloe Moretz and many others - all of whom, like Richard Gere, performed in small episodes.
He then played the lead role in the Time Out of Mind (2014) social drama, which drew the attention of viewers to the problems of homeless people. In 2015 another comedy The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (the sequel of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) was released, where Gere plays one of the many roles along with Maggie Smith, Judi Dench and others. Then Gere was shot in The Benefactor (2015), Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer (2016, previously titled Oppenheimer Strategies), The Dinner (2017) and the Three Christs (2017).
55-year-old Gere still managed the role of a romantic hero well - strong and gentle, decisive and standing at the crossroad of somewhat tough but still full of love.
Views and social activities
Richard Gere is a committed and consistent Buddhist. He accepted the religion and joined the practice in 1972 in Los Angeles and in 1978 he first traveled to Nepal and Tibet to learn from monks and lamas.
During one of his subsequent visits Gere met the Dalai Lama and the latter became his mentor. Since then the actor has repeatedly visited Tibet and Dharmsala - the Indian city, where the government of Tibet sits in exile.
Gere ardently supports the independence movement of Tibet, illegally seized by China in 1950. He is also engaged in active struggle in the framework of the movement For Human Rights in Tibet and is one of the founders of the Dalai Lama Cultural Center House of Tibet at Columbia University in the USA. In addition, he established the personal Richard Gere Foundation and also serves as chairman of the board of directors of the International Campaign for Tibet group, which fights for the development of democratic freedoms and respect for human rights in Tibet as well as for maintaining its culture and ecology.
Since Gere openly stands for the independence of Tibet, he is banned for life from entering China.
Richard Gere also works to protect the rights of indigenous tribal peoples of different countries, participates in environmental activities and the fight against AIDS. He supports the US Democratic Party and criticizes the war in Iraq: This war has become a tragedy for all. I really hope that the people of Iraq will be able to rebuild their country.
Richard Gere’s personal life
Richard Gere prefers not to advertise his personal life, and almost nothing is known about his early hobbies. In 1971-1978 he was in a relationship with actress Penelope Milford, and later with Brazilian artist Sylvia Martins, with whom he lived for 5 years. In addition, he had affairs with Priscilla Presley in 1983 and Kim Basinger in 1986, when they starred together in the No Mercy.
In 1991, aged 42, the actor married 25-year-old supermodel Cindy Crawford, the affair with whom began during the set of the Pretty Woman. The marriage lasted only 4 years and later Cindy was grateful for Richard: He taught me a lot. However, there is not a word about their life together in her autobiographical book, published in 2015. According to the former model, now Richard Gere is a completely stranger to her.
In 1996 Gere met Actress Cary Lowell (born 1961), who played The Bond Girl in the famous picture License to Kill. The couple officially married only in November 2002, though Carey and Richard had been in a relationship for almost seven years by then, three of which they lived together.
Son Homer James Jigme Gere was born into the family in 2000. It was a complete surprise for everyone when the couple broke up in 2013 and officially divorced in October 2016. The reasons for separation were hidden behind the mean phrase differences in lifestyle.
Alejandra Silva (born 1984), the daughter of Ignacio Silva, the Vice President of Real Madrid, became Gere’s new girlfriend. The couple officially married in April 2018.
Richard Gere nowadays
Now Richard Gere’s efforts are focused mainly on social and humanitarian activities - in particular, he is working on the problem of refugees in Europe and the struggle for the observance of human rights in Caucasus.
It is known that Richard will take part in the new series MotherFatherSon, the premiere of which is scheduled for 2019.