Richard Tiffany Gere was born on August 19th, 1949. He and his 4 siblings were raised in Upstate New York by their parents, Homer and Doris Gere. In 1967, he graduated from North Syracuse Central High School and began attending the University of Massachusetts in Amherst on a gymnastics scholarship. He majored in philosophy, but left after only 2 years to pursue his acting career.
In 1973, he landed the lead in the London production of the rock musical "Grease." This role won him other performances in plays, and in 1977 he gained onscreen recognition with a part in "Looking for Mr. Goodbar" as Diane Keaton's one night stand. He spent 1978 traveling through Nepal, meeting Tibetan monks and lamas. He returned to the States, and got his big break in 1979 when he replaced John Travolta as Julian Kaye in 'American Gigolo.' His performance quickly made him a major sex symbol, and a major star. On Broadway, he won the 1980 World Theatre Award for his performance in the play "Bent," portraying a concentration camp prisoner.
In 1982, he played Zach Mayo in "An Officer and a Gentleman," reaffirming his status as a major star. The rest of the 80s were not as kind to his career; he played mostly small roles. He spent most of the early 1980s traveling to Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua to refugee camps with a doctor.
In 1990, however, his career was jump started when he landed the role of Edward Lewis alongside Julia Roberts in "Pretty Woman." The movie was a smash hit, winning the People's Choice Award for Best Movie. He and Julia Roberts were suddenly huge Hollywood names. His new stardom landed him roles in a series of hit films, including another pairing with Julia Roberts in "Runaway Bride." From 1991 to 1995, he and Cindy Crawford were married, but it ended in divorce, and he began seeing Carey Lowell. In 1999, he was named People's "Sexiest Man Alive." The following year brought more good things, and in February, he and Lowell had a son, Homer.
Gere is a devout Buddhist and a humanitarian. He's a founding member of "Tibet House," a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of the Tibetan culture. He's also an active supporter of "Survival International," an organization supporting the rights of tribal peoples. It affirms their right to decide their own futures and protects their lands and human rights.
Oh, and for any of you gullible folks looking around in the softlinks (which were there before this writeup): That gerbiling thing is just an urban legend.