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How old was Richard Gere in pretty woman

“Pretty Woman,” a modern Cinderella story that became a cultural phenomenon, starred Richard Gere as the suave and wealthy businessman Edward Lewis. The film, which was released in 1990, is often remembered for its charming narrative, the breakout performance of Julia Roberts, and the sophisticated presence of Richard Gere. Gere’s age during the filming and release of “Pretty Woman” is a detail that adds to the understanding of his character and the dynamics of the movie.

Richard Gere’s Early Life and Career

Before delving into Gere’s age during “Pretty Woman,” it’s essential to look at the beginnings of his career. Richard Tiffany Gere was born on August 31, 1949, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He began his acting career in the 1970s, with a notable early role in the original London stage version of the rock musical “Grease” in 1973. His film debut came in 1974 with “Report to the Commissioner,” but it was his role in “Days of Heaven” (1978) that garnered him critical acclaim.

Gere’s Rise to Stardom

Throughout the late 70s and 80s, Richard Gere’s star power grew. He became known for his performances in films such as “American Gigolo” (1980), where he played a high-priced male escort, and “An Officer and a Gentleman” (1982), where he portrayed a Navy officer candidate. These roles established him as a leading man and a sex symbol, setting the stage for his casting in “Pretty Woman.”

The Age of Edward Lewis

When “Pretty Woman” was being filmed in 1989, Richard Gere was 40 years old. By the time of its release in March 1990, he was still 40, turning 41 later that year. His age was significant for the role of Edward Lewis, a character who was depicted as a successful and mature businessman. Gere’s age lent a sense of credibility and depth to the character, who was supposed to be at a point in his life where he was re-evaluating his personal and professional priorities.

The Dynamic Between Gere and Roberts

Julia Roberts, who played the vivacious and endearing prostitute Vivian Ward, was 21 years old at the time of filming, almost half of Gere’s age. This age difference was intentional and played a crucial role in the dynamic between their characters. The contrast between Edward’s world-weariness and Vivian’s youthful exuberance was a central element of the film’s appeal. The age gap highlighted the differences in their characters’ experiences and worldviews, creating a compelling on-screen chemistry that audiences loved.

The Impact of Gere’s Age on His Role

At 40, Richard Gere brought a sense of maturity and sophistication to the role of Edward Lewis. His portrayal was that of a man who had achieved much but was still searching for something more meaningful in life. Gere’s age allowed him to convincingly depict a character who was capable of transformation through his relationship with Vivian. It was a man in the middle of his life who finds a reason to change his perspective, not a young man just starting out or an older man looking back on his life.

The Ageless Appeal of “Pretty Woman”

The film’s success was not hindered by the age difference between the two leads. Instead, it became a testament to the timeless appeal of the story and the actors’ performances. “Pretty Woman” was a box office hit, grossing over $463 million worldwide. It became the third highest-grossing film of 1990 and solidified Richard Gere’s status as a Hollywood leading man.

Gere’s Career After “Pretty Woman”

Following “Pretty Woman,” Richard Gere continued to have a successful career in Hollywood. He took on a variety of roles that often played against his established screen persona, such as the corrupt cop in “Internal Affairs” (1990) and the defense attorney in “Primal Fear” (1996). His age and experience allowed him to transition into more complex characters, showing his range as an actor.

The Legacy of Richard Gere’s Performance

Richard Gere’s performance in “Pretty Woman” remains one of his most iconic roles. His age at the time contributed to the believability and charm of Edward Lewis, making the character a memorable part of film history. The movie’s success helped to maintain Gere’s image as a leading man in romantic films, and it is often cited as one of the defining roles of his career.


In conclusion, Richard Gere was 40 years old when he brought Edward Lewis to life in “Pretty Woman.” His age was a perfect fit for the character, providing a mature counterbalance to Julia Roberts’ youthful energy. The film’s enduring popularity is a testament to the timeless nature of its story and the universal themes of love and transformation. Gere’s performance, shaped by his life experience and acting talent at 40, helped to create a cinematic experience that has charmed audiences for decades. As “Pretty Woman” continues to be celebrated in popular culture, Richard Gere’s portrayal of Edward Lewis stands as a hallmark of his career, showcasing the depth and charisma he brought to the role at a pivotal age.

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