Nov 4, 2012

Richard Gere

Along with Ryan O’Neal, Richard Gere was a poster boy for affluent, well-groomed heterosexuality, but with an added dash of provocative eroticism.  Ryan was clean-cut, Richard dangerous.  Ryan fell in love, Richard had sex.

His break-out role came in the homophobic Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977), a cautionary tale about the 1970s culture of one-night stands:. Tony (Richard Gere) dates Theresa (Diane Keaton), and stalks her after their breakup.  But she’s actually murdered by Gary (Tom Berenger),  a closeted gay man she picks up in a bar.

The full-frontal nudity in American Gigolo (1980) made him famous in gay circles.  Julian Kane (Richard Gere) is a high-priced prostitute. His clients are women, he hates “fags,” but he’ll do them if necessary.  He also has a distinctly erotic, albeit manipulative relationship with his pimp, Leon (Bill Duke), whom he ends up pushing out a window.

About that time, some right-wing nutjob (no one knows who) made the ridiculous claim that gay men often have sex with gerbils. Before you know it, several celebrities were accused of the practice, Richard Gere among them.  He has wisely said nothing.  One can imagine a Tom Cruise going to the trouble of denying such a ridiculous rumor, but not Richard Gere.

Richard has dlso done extensive buddy bonding roles, as well as playing in the gay-positive Bent on Broadway (1980); in the AIDS drama And the Band Played On (1993); and in the gay favorite Chicago (2002).

A practicing Buddhist and an advocate of liberal political causes, he is a strong gay ally.

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