Richard Gere
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  • Faith: Buddhist
  • Career: Actor
  • Birthday:  August 31, 1949

Richard Gere is an actor. He started appearing in movies in the 1970s, playing a supporting role in “Looking for Mr. Goodbar” and a starring role in “Days of Heaven.” He rose to prominence with his role in the movie “American Gigolo,” which established him as a leading man and a sex symbol. His other movies include “An Officer and a Gentleman,” “No Mercy,” “The Cotton Club,” “Pretty Woman,” “Intersection,” “Runaway Bride,” “Shall We Dance?” “I’m Not There,” and “Norman.” For playing Billy Flynn in the musical “Chicago,” he won a Golden Globe Award.

Gere was born in Philadelphia in 1949, the eldest son and second child of Doris Ann and Homer Gere. His father initially wanted to be a minister. He was raised Methodist in Syracuse, New York. In 1967, he 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, studying philosophy. However, he left after two years and didn’t graduate. He first worked professionally at the Seattle Repertory Theatre and the Provincetown Playhouse on Cape Cod in 1969, where he starred in “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.” His first significant acting role was in the original London stage version of “Grease” in 1973. He was one of the first notable Hollywood actors to play a homosexual character, starring as a gay Holocaust victim in the 1979 Broadway production of “Bent,” for which he earned a Theatre World Award.

Gere started appearing in Hollywood films in the mid-1970s. Initially cast in a starring role in “The Lords of Flatbush,” he was replaced after fighting with his co-star Sylvester Stallone. He played a minor but significant part in “Looking for Mr. Goodbar” and starred in director Terrence Malick’s well-reviewed drama “Days of Heaven.” The crime drama “American Gigolo” significantly boosted his profile, and “An Officer and a Gentleman” cemented his ascent to stardom, grossing close to $130 million and winning two Academy Awards out of six nominations. Gere himself received his first Golden Globe Award nomination. For the rest of the 1980s, he appeared in movies of varying critical and commercial reception. His career rebounded with the releases of “Internal Affairs” and “Pretty Woman,” the latter of which earned him his second Golden Globe Award nomination. The 1990s saw Gere star in movies like “Sommersby,” “Runaway Bride,” and “Primal Fear.” He also took a leading role in the action movie “The Jackal,” playing former IRA militant Declan Mulqueen.

What religion is Richard Gere?

Richard Gere identifies as a Buddhist. His interest in Buddhism started when he was in his 20s. He first studied Zen Buddhism under Kyozan Joshu Sasaki. After studying Zen for five or six years, he and Brazilian painter Sylvia Martins traveled to Nepal in 1978, where he met many Tibetan monks and lamas. Then, he met the 14th Dalai Lama in India and became a practicing Tibetan Buddhist, specifically of the Gelugpa school, and an active supporter of the Dalai Lama.

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