The Philadelphia native was born on Aug. 31, 1949 as the second of five children. A man of many talents, Gere played a number of instruments throughout his childhood and attended the University of Massachusetts in Amherst on a gymnastics scholarship where he pursued a degree in philosophy. Two years later, however, he dropped out for a career in acting.
In 1977 he starred alongside Diane Keaton in Looking for Mr. Goodbar, where he gained praise. He went on to star as a male escort in American Gigolo, but it was his role as Zack Mayo in An Officer and a Gentleman that confirmed Gere as an iconic heartthrob. He maintained his heartthrob status in chick-flicks like Pretty Woman and Runaway Bride, both of which he costarred with Julia Roberts.
In 2003 he won a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for his role as Billy Flynn in Chicago.
In 2009, he costarred with Don Cheadle and Ethan Hawke in Brooklyn's Finest. The same year he also costarred with Oscar winner Hilary Swank in Amelia.
Gere married model Cindy Crawford in 1991, but the couple divorced in 1995. The actor married actress Carey Lowell in 2002 but called it quits in 2013. Gere and Lowell have one child together: son, Homer James Jigme Gere.