Finding Richard Gere on a New Hampshire highway
Recently I read this description of Richard Gere: "... coolly charismatic rather than drop-dead handsome." Whoever wrote that obviously has never seen the tux-clad, rose-carrying, Richard Gere riding the elevator in the 2004 movie, "Shall We Dance."
Best Movie Kiss Ever
My first memory of seeing Richard Gere is the 1982 movie, "An Officer and a Gentleman." Then his sexy, powerful, yet vulnerable Edward Lewis character in 1990's "Pretty Woman." After that he was in my peripheral vision as a movie star. By that I mean living my life has always been a higher priority than who was the current Hollywood "it" guy, but, it's pretty hard to live in the USA without having at least a fundamental idea of what's going on in the movies. When I did pay attention to actors, Richard Gere was on my list.
I am a big King Arthur enthusiast. The story of Camelot attracts the die-hard romantic in me like a moth to a flame. If I come upon a book, a movie, even a musical score that relates to the Camelot theme, I will stop and review it and many times bring it home with me.
In 1995 the movie, "First Night" was released. Sean Connery was the perfect King Arthur. Richard Gere starred as Sir Lancelot to Julia Ormond's Guinevere. During the course of the movie Lancelot and Guinevere try to ignore their attraction to each other out of respect for King Arthur, her husband. There is a scene in that movie where Lancelot and Guinevere are alone in a room. He on one side, she on the other. He is about to leave the room but turns around, walks quickly to her, holds her face in his hands and gives her the "Best Movie Kiss Ever."
I Think We Just Passed Richard Gere
I was visiting my brother's summer place in Maine with my 20 year old son, his best friend and a woman friend of mine. One hot afternoon Susan and I decided to take the half-hour ride down I-95 to Portsmouth, NH, a historical harbor town with cobblestone streets and a charming downtown area.
I was driving in the middle lane of the three lane highway at a pretty good speed, she was in the passenger seat. About half-way into the 35 minute drive, Susan said, "I think we just passed Richard Gere." I looked at her skeptically but she insisted it was him. I looked in the rear view mirror at the convertible about 50 yards behind us in the right hand lane. Noting that the car was a Chrysler Sebring, I said it probably wasn't him, (with apologies to all you Sebring owners out there), he would be driving a luxury car. Nevertheless, she insisted it was Richard Gere.
There was no one behind us so I stepped on the brakes and slowed the car down to let the convertible catch up to us. When it was along side of us we both turned our heads and looked to the right.
Long, gray hair blowing in the wind, sun tanned skin, looking straight ahead, Richard Gere drove along side of us.The woman in his passenger seat must have told him Susan and I were staring because ever so slowly Richard Gere turned his head toward us and gave us his best movie star smile. At this point our car was moving at 65 mph and I hadn't looked at the road in three minutes.
Shortly after flashing that smile, he stepped on the gas and sped down the highway, getting off at the next exit. He had not hit the top of the exit ramp before Susan was on the phone calling her adult daughters.
I remember that his face was more chiseled in person than the softer version that appears on the movie screen. The man is drop dead handsome. I also remember turning my attention back to the highway and being thankful there wasn't a lot of traffic.
Since that August day on I-95 I have payed more attention to Richard Gere's career. Maybe it's all of the hours and years that he has spent in meditation but he does add an underlying stillness to his characters. I have also spent many hours and years in meditation so his interest and commitment to a gentler way of living also intrigues me. At age 59 he is evolving into a Cary Grant-ish persona both physically and professionally. In my humble opinion, the guy is still drop-dead gorgeous.