Richard Gere at the 64th Venice Film Festival in 2007.
Richard Gere at the 64th Venice Film Festival in 2007.

Famous Birthdays: Richard Gere

August 31, 1948 - currently 69 years old.

"The reality is, we can change. We can change ourselves. We can change our minds. We can change our hearts. And therefore the universe changes.”

1949: Richard Tiffany Gere was born on August 31 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA and is an American actor and humanitarian activist. His paternal great-grandfather had changed the spelling of the surname from "Geer".

1967: Gere graduated from North Syracuse Central High School, where he excelled at gymnastics and music, and played the trumpet. He attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst on a gymnastics scholarship, majoring in philosophy, but he left after two years and did not graduate.

1969: Gere first worked professionally at the Seattle Repertory Theatre and Province town Playhouse on Cape Cod, where he starred in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.

1971: Gere had a relationship with actress Penelope Milford until 1978.

1973: At age 25, he embarked on his first major acting role in the original London stage version of Grease.

1974: Originally cast in a starring role in The Lords of Flatbush, he was replaced after fighting with another star of the film, Sylvester Stallone.

1977: He played a small but memorable part in Looking for Mr. Goodbar and starred in director Terrence Malick's well-reviewed drama Days of Heaven in 1978.

1978: He travelled with the Brazilian painter Sylvia Martins to Nepal, where he met many Tibetan monks and lamas. He then met the 14th Dalai Lama in India and became a practising Tibetan Buddhist of the Gelugpa school of Tibetan Buddhism and an active supporter of the Dalai Lama.

1979: Gere was one of the first notable Hollywood actors to play a homosexual character, starring as a gay Holocaust victim in the Broadway production of Bent; Gere's performance earned him a Theatre World Award.

1980: The crime drama American Gigolo, significantly boosted his profile.

1982: The romantic drama An Officer and a Gentleman co-starring Debra Winger, cemented Gere's ascent to stardom, grossing almost $130 million and winning two Academy Awards out of six nominations; Gere himself received his first Golden Globe Award nomination. For the remainder of the 1980s, Gere appeared in films of varying critical and commercial reception.

1983: He had a relationship with Priscilla Presley and with Kim Basinger in 1986.

1990: His career rebounded with the releases of Internal Affairs and Pretty Woman, the latter of which earned him his second Golden Globe Award nomination.

Richard Gere is an American humanitarian and actor, starring in iconic films such as Pretty Woman, pictured here with Julia Roberts in 1990.
Richard Gere is an American humanitarian and actor, starring in iconic films such as Pretty Woman, pictured here with Julia Roberts in 1990.

1991: Gere married supermodel Cindy Crawford until they divorced in 1995.

1993: Gere was banned from being an Academy Award presenter after he denounced the Chinese government in his capacity while announcing the nominees. This same year he starred in Sommersby opposite Jodie Foster and Primal Fear in 1996.

1995: He was the President of the Jury at the 19th Moscow International Film Festival.

1997: He also took a leading role in the action thriller The Jackal, playing former IRA militant Declan Mulqueen; Gere affected an Irish accent for the role.

1999: Gere was named People magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive" and starred in Runaway Bride which reunited him with his Pretty Woman co-star Julia Roberts.

2001: In November of this year he married model and actress Carey Lowell. They have a son, Homer James Jigme Gere, who was born in February 2000 and is named for his grandfathers as well as the Tibetan name Jigme.

2002: He appeared in the hit film The Mothman Prophecies and Unfaithful. He also starred in the Academy Award-winning musical film adaptation Chicago for which he won his first Golden Globe Award.

2004: Gere starred in the ballroom dancing drama Shall We Dance? that grossed $170 million worldwide.

2005: His next film, the book-to-screen adaptation Bee Season, was a commercial failure.

2007: Gere went on to co-star with Jesse Eisenberg and Terrence Howard in The Hunting Party, a thriller in which he played a journalist in Bosnia. He next appeared with Christian Bale, Heath Ledger and Cate Blanchett in Todd Haynes' semi-biographical film about Bob Dylan, I'm Not There; Gere was one of six actors to portray a variation of Dylan. In Septemeber of this same year he called for the boycott of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games to put pressure on China to make Tibet independent. He starred in a Free Tibet-themed Lancia commercial featuring the Lancia Delta.

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. The film is Gere's most recent to have been produced entirely by a major film studio. Gere has expressed belief that his politics regarding Tibet and China, the latter an important financial resource for major studios, have made him persona non grata within Hollywood.

Gere has won numerous awards including a Golden Globe for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy in 2003 for Chicago.
Gere has won numerous awards including a Golden Globe for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy in 2003 for Chicago. David W Cerny

2009: He contributed some of his writing for the book, We Are One: A Celebration of Tribal Peoples, released in October of this year.

2010: He received an award from the 34th Cairo International Film Festival in December of this year. Gere stated that the war in Iraq wasn't supported by the American people and that the George W. Bush administration "bullied" Americans into the decision. He called George W. Bush a very "poor president.

2012: Gere embraced his apparent exile from Hollywood, appearing in independent features that garnered some of the best reviews of his career. He was notably singled out for portraying businessman Robert Miller in Arbitrage, earning his fourth Golden Globe Award nomination. Also this year, Gere received the Golden Starfish Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Hamptons International Film Festival and the Career Achievement Award from the Hollywood Film Awards.

2013: In September of this year the two separated after 11 years of marriage. The couple spent three years in highly contested divorce proceedings in New York County Supreme Court. The case was settled in October 2016.

2016: Gere made a notable departure from his traditional screen persona with Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer. The political drama (written and directed by Academy Award-nominee Joseph Cedar) saw him portray Norman Oppenheimer, a "small time Jewish 'fixer'". Gere himself described the character as an embodiment of the "sides of us we know are annoying and needy".

2018: In early April, he married Spanish activist Alejandra Silva and the couple are expecting their first child together.


Gere is also an advocate for human rights in Tibet. He is a co-founder of the Tibet House, creator of the Gere Foundation and Chairman of the Board of Directors for the International Campaign for Tibet. Because he supports the Tibetan Independence Movement, he is permanently banned from entering the People's Republic of China. Gere also actively supports Survival International, an organisation dedicated to protecting the rights and lands of tribal peoples throughout the world

He campaigns for ecological causes and AIDS awareness. He currently serves on the board of directors for Healing the Divide, an organisation that supports global initiatives to promote peace, justice and understanding.

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