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