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Biography #2 (for Chicago)

Humanitarian and actor, Richard Gere is one of the most well known and respected actors of his generation. Known for his roles in films such as An Officer and a Gentleman, Days of Heaven, American Gigilo, Pretty Woman, First Knight, and in Paramount Pictures highly successful courtroom drama Primal Fear.

This year Gere was seen in the critically acclaimed Fox Searchlight dramatic thriller Unfaithful, directed by Adrian Lyne. The film, which also stars Diane Lane and Olivier Martinez, centers on a couple living in the New York City suburbs whose marriage goes dangerously awry when the wife indulges in an adulterous fling. Earlier this year Gere was seen playing a reporter drawn to a small West Virginia town to investigate a series of strange events in Sony Picture' s psychological thriller The Mothman Prophecies opposite Debra Messing.

Born in Philadelphia, Richard Gere showed his artist ability at a young age, by playing a number of instruments and writing music for high school productions. Gere won gymnastics scholarship to the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, where he was philosophy major. While at school, Gere caught the acting bug and left college after 2 years to pursue acting, landing a lead role of 'Danny Zuko' in the London production of the rock musical Grease in 1973. After spending full sessions with the Provincetown Playhouse and Seattle Repertory Theatre, he performed in a number of New York play' s, notably the title role in Richard Farina: Long Time Coming and Long Time Gone, in addition to two plays by Sam Shepard, Back Dog Beast Bait and Killer' s Head.

His career was established with performances in the Broadway rock opera Soon and the New York production of the British farce Habeas Corpus. Gere' s other theatre credits include the Lincoln Center presentation of A Midsummer Night' s Dream and London Young Vic Theatre Production of The Taming of the Shrew. Gere returned to the Broadway stage in 1980 with Bent, winning the Theatre World Award for his portrayal as a homosexual concentration-camp prisoner.

Gere' s motion picture debut came in 1978 with Oscar-honored Days of Heaven, for which he received the Italian equivalent of the Academy Award. His subsequent films include Looking for Mr. Goodbar, with Diane Keaton, Blood Brothers, John Schlesinger' s Yanks and American Gigolo. His next film was the 1982 blockbuster An Officer and a Gentleman followed by Breathless, Beyond the Limit, The Cotton Club, Power, No Mercy, and Miles From Home. In 1990, Gere received Box-office acclaim for his portrayal of a corrupt cop in Internal Affairs and starred opposite of Julia Roberts in the years top-grossing picture, Pretty Woman. This movie captured the nation' s heart, and won the People' s Choice Award for Best Movie. The following year, he made a guest appearance in Japanese director Akira Kurosawa' s Rhapsody in August. Additional film credits include the MGM political thriller Red Corner, directed by Jon Avnet and in Micael Caton-Jones remake of The Jackal for Universal Pictures.

Gere was also the first actor to agree to appear in And The Band Played On, the HBO adaptation of Randy Shilts book about the first five years of AIDS in America. Gere played the role of a fictional choreographer.

In 2000 Gere starred in the box-office hit Runaway Bride, for Paramount Pictures. In this romantic comedy, Gere was reunited with his Pretty Woman director Garry Marshall, and co-star Julia Roberts. Also in 2000, Gere stared as a Dallas gynecologist who is surrounded by adoring women in Dr. T and the Women directed by Robert Altman. The film also stars Helen Hunt, Liv Tyler, Farrah Fawcett, and Kate Hudson.

Off screen, Gere is an accomplished pianist and music writer. He is also actively involved in developing projects and has executive produced Final Analysis, Mr. Jones and Sommersby.

A student and friend of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Gere, for over twenty years, has made numerous journeys throughout India, Nepal, Zanskar and Tibet, Mongolia and China. He is an accomplished photographer who has worked extensively within these regions.

His first book, PILGRIM, published in 1997 by Little, Brown and Company, is a collection of images that represent his twenty-five year journey into Buddhism. With a foreword by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the book is Gere' s personal vision of this ancient and spiritual world.

An outspoken human rights advocate, Gere has done much to draw attention to the tragedy that has been unfolding in Tibet under Chinese occupation. He is the founder of the Gere Foundation, which contributes to numerous health education and human rights projects and is especially dedicated to promoting awareness of Tibet and her endangered culture. The Foundation contributes directly to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan community-in-exile and to aid in the cultural survival of the Tibetan people. In 1987 Gere was the founding chairman of the Tibet House in New York. After leaving Tibet House in New York in 1991, he became an active member of the Board of Directors of the International Campaign for Tibet based in Washington D.C., and in 1996 became Chairman. Gere has testified on Tibet' s behalf before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Congressional Human Rights Caucus, the European Parliament, and House International Operations and Human Rights Subcommittee.

Gere currently lives in New York, with his longtime, Carey Lowell and their son Homer.

Bio courtesy Miramax for "Chicago" (25-Apr-2003)


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