Richard Gere

From “An Officer and a Gentleman” and “Pretty Woman” onscreen to Tibetan freedom causes off screen, the many roles of a leading Hollywood star.

Richard Gere at a party at Rock Studio in The King's Road, London. Gere's first major acting role was in the original London stage version of "Grease" in 1973.

Don Blakely, Cliff Gorman and Gere starred in the 1975 TV series "Strike Force." Gere played a state trooper who teamed up with a New York detective and a federal agent to bust up a drug ring.

Gere stars opposite Diane Keaton in 1977's "Looking for Mr. Goodbar." Keaton plays a mild-mannered schoolteacher who experiments sexually and meets her match in Gere, who eventually becomes jealous and threatens her life.

"Midnight Cowboy" filmmaker John Schlesinger directed Gere and Chick Vennera in 1979's "Yanks." Gere plays a U.S. soldier newly stationed in England during World War II. William Devane and Vanessa Redgrave co-starred.

Gere seduces Anne (Nina Van Pallandt) in Paul Schrader's "American Gigolo" (1980). Gere, who plays the highest-paid male escort in Beverly Hills, finds himself drawn to one special client (Lauren Hutton). When another client is murdered, Gere is framed for the crime.

In 1982's "An Officer and a Gentleman" Gere stars opposite Debra Winger as Zack Mayo, a Navy brat who must get by a tough gunnery sergeant (Louis Gossett Jr.) to make it through naval flight training. Along the way he falls in love with a factory worker (Winger). The film, directed by Taylor Hackford, was nominated for six Academy Awards.

Gere and Valerie Kaprisky starred in 1983's racy thriller "Breathless." A remake of Jean-Luc Godard's 1961 film, Gere played an American criminal who meets a French girl in Los Angeles. The two of them head for Mexico to escape the police.

Gere starred as musician Dixie Dwyer in Francis Ford Coppola's 1984 film, "The Cotton Club." The story about mobsters and murder at the famed Harlem nightclub in the 1930s became associated with the real-life murder of promoter Roy Radin. Producer Robert Evans was implicated in the crime because he allegedly associated with Karen Jacobs-Greenberger, who ordered Radin's murder.

Gere stars opposite Julia Roberts in the wildly popular 1990 film "Pretty Woman." Roberts plays a prostitute who falls in love with powerful but lonely CEO Edward Lewis (Gere). The film grossed more than $178 million in the U.S. alone and was the fourth-highest-grossing film of that year (after "Home Alone," "Dances With Wolves" and "Ghost").

Supermodel Cindy Crawford and Gere were married from 1991 to 1995.

In 1993's "Sommersby," Gere stars opposite Jodie Foster. Foster plays Laurel Sommersby, whose husband, Jack, has gone off to the Civil War. He's rumored to be unpleasant, but when he returns in the winning form of Gere, people begin to wonder if he's an impostor.

Gere plays Sir Lancelot in the 1995 film "First Knight," which retells the story of King Arthur (played by Sean Connery) and the Knights of the Round Table.

In Jon Avnet's 1997 film "Red Corner," Richard Gere stars as Jack Moore, general counsel to a large entertainment firm who comes to China to broker a multimillion-dollar communications deal. He's wrongly accused of murder, and Bai Ling plays his court-appointed defense advocate.

Richard Forman Jr.

The Dalai Lama appears with Gere in 1999. Gere is Buddhist, a longtime supporter of the Dalai Lama, and an advocate for human rights in Tibet. He has been permanently banned from entering China.

Henny Ray Abrams

In 2000's "Autumn in New York," Gere stars opposite Winona Ryder in this tale of a 50-year-old restaurateur who falls in love with a young, terminally ill woman.

Robert Altman directed 2000's "Dr. T & the Women," in which Gere plays a gynecologist to some of the wealthiest women in Texas. Shelley Long co-stars.

Gere showed he could sing and dance in Bill Condon's Academy Award-winning film "Chicago" (2002). He plays attorney Billy Flynn, who tries to save Roxie Hart (Renee Zellweger, not pictured) from a murder rap.

Richard Gere married "Law & Order" actress Carey Lowell in 2002. The couple have one son, Homer James Jigme Gere, who was born in 2000.

Vince Bucci

Gere and Renee Zellweger won best actor and actress in a musical or comedy movie for "Chicago" at the 2003 Golden Globe Awards.

Reed Saxon

Gere meets with Tibetan hunger strikers outside the United Nations in New York on their 12th day of an indefinite hunger strike in 2004. Gere is a co-founder of the Tibet House and is chairman of the Board of Directors for the International Campaign for Tibet.

Peter Kramer

In 2004's "Shall We Dance," a remake of the Japanese film of the same name, Gere stars opposite Jennifer Lopez as a man who's revitalized when he takes a dance class.

In 2005's "Bee Season," Gere stars as a father helping his daughter (Flora Cross) excel in spelling bees with some help from Jewish mysticism. The film is based on the popular Myla Goldberg book.

Clifford Irving (Gere) talks with mistress Nina Van Pallandt (Julie Delpy) in this scene from 2007's "The Hoax." Based on the true story of a man who invented an autobiography of Howard Hughes, the film is directed by Lasse Halstrom.

Gere testifies March 13, 2007, at a hearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee in Washington. Gere called on Congress to push for Tibet's independence from China.

Alex Wong

In "Nights in Rodanthe," Dr. Paul Flanner (Gere) and Adrienne Willis (Diane Lane) find love amidst the chaos of their personal lives during a weekend at a coastal North Carolina inn. Gere and Lane previously starred together in "Unfaithful" (2002) and "The Cotton Club" (1984).

Michael Tackett / Warner Bros.

Gere, left, holds his son Homer, 9, while talking with New York Yankees outfielder Johnny Damon, right, as the Yankees took batting practice before a spring training baseball game at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla., on March 27, 2009.

Kathy Willens / AP

Gere, center, holds a Japanese Akita dog while joining Japanese singer Thelma Aoyama, left, and actor Kinya Kitaoji at the premiere of the film "Hachiko: A Dog's Tale," in Tokyo on July 8, 2009.

Dai Kurokawa / EPA