|Richard Tiffany Gere, born 1949.
How are Richard Gere and I related? We’re tenth cousins. Our common ancestors are our mutual great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparents Samuel Rider (1601-1679) and Anne Gamlett Rider (abt. 1605-1695). They immigrated to the USA from Northampton, England, between 1636 and 1638, and I’ve mentioned them in previous posts to this blog.
|With Debra Winger in An Officer and a Gentleman.
Richard Gere has never been an actor whose career I particularly followed. I recall first being aware of him when the movie An Officer and a Gentleman was released in 1982. I saw the movie during its original theatrical run and enjoyed it. But I was far more interested in one of the movie’s locations than I was in Richard Gere’s leading role.
|Fort Worden State Park, near Port Townsend, Washington.
|The poster in Judi's room.
I remember hearing jokes in the 1990s about Richard Gere’s conversion to Buddhism and trips to Tibet. Why were people who didn’t even know him so concerned by Richard Gere’s religious life?
I went with a group of friends to see The Cotton Club in 1984. We went opening day because one of the friends was a big Francis Ford Coppola fan. I remember kind of liking the movie, contrary to the general reaction, but beyond Diane Lane, the Hines brothers' dancing, and a scene of someone shaving with an old-fashioned razor which I think I admired for the historical research and the ability of anyone to shave with such an instrument, I don't really remember the movie. I certainly didn't remember Richard Gere was in it until reviewing his career for this blog post. Well, it's been a while.
|In And the Band Played On.
More recently I’ve seen him in Shall We Dance, a solid, middle-of-the-road Strictly Ballroom-wannabe, notable for Stanley Tucci’s comedic performance. I thought Gere made a perfectly respectable Billy Flynn in the movie version of the play Chicago. I have friends—many of them dancers—who thought the movie of Chicago was terrific. I'm afraid it seemed mostly like lukewarm Cabaret leftovers to me. But I don’t fault Richard Gere for problems with the material and direction. Or for the fact that Catherine Zeta-Jones—one thing in the movie I would call terrific—overshadowed everyone and everything else simply by appearing onscreen.
|Richard Gere in recent days
Richard Gere’s been in popular and critically praised movies that I haven’t seen—Pretty Woman, American Gigolo, the recent Arbitrage—so I can’t claim to be a big Richard Gere fan. But I’m certainly happy for his success and wish him the best in his continuing acting career. I also like being able to say I’m related to a movie star.