How Richard Gere Sacrificed Stardom to Follow Dalai Lama

The Hollywood star Richard Gere was at the peak of his career back in the 1980s when he openly stood in support of the Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama and his people. The actor’s resolute stand against the mighty Chinese government cost him the stardom he deserved, leading to many film makers refusing to cast him.

In the late 1970s, Richard Gere traveled to Nepal and India where he met many Tibetan Buddhist monks. After meeting the Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama in India, he became a practicing Tibetan Buddhist of the Gelugpa school of Tibetan Buddhism and an active follower and supporter of His Holiness. Gere regularly visits Dharamshala, the headquarters of the Tibetan government-in-exile in India.

The actor most popularly known for his role in Pretty Woman, is an advocate for Human Rights in Tibet. During the Academy Awards in 1993 which was being live streamed on Television, Richard Gere spoke out against the Chinese Communist Party for their bloody human rights violations against Tibetans. After his criticism, he soon faced an unexpected backlash.

He is a co-founder of the Tibet House, creator of the Gere Foundation and Chairman of the Board of Directors for the International Campaign for Tibet. Because he supports the Tibetan Independence Movement, he is permanently banned from entering the People’s Republic of China.

According to the report in Epoch Times, the actor opened about the Chinese impact on his career. “There are definitely movies that I can’t be in because the Chinese will say, ‘Not with him,’” said the actor, “I recently had an episode where someone said they could not finance a film with me because it would upset the Chinese.”

He also revealed how China got to call the shots for the 1997 thriller Red Corner, which he starred in. The actor also explained in the report how a Chinese director planning to work with him was threatened that if they worked together, the director and his family would never have been allowed to leave the country ever again, and he would never work!

However, despite the political influence from China, Richard Gere, who valued morality over wealth said that he is not bothered by the drawbacks. “I was successful enough in the last three decades that I can afford to do these [smaller films] now. I’m still making the same films that I was making when I started. Small, interesting, character driven and narrative driven stories. It hasn’t impacted my life at all,” he added.

Richard Gere regards His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s presence as a very precious gift to the world, he is not going to stop exposing the brutalities of the Chinese government against human rights of the Tibetans inside Tibet!

Share this on

TJ editor

Editor at Tibetan Journal

2 thoughts on “How Richard Gere Sacrificed Stardom to Follow Dalai Lama

  • February 20, 2019 at 3:10 pm

    “The kindest eyes of any one I have ever met”, Mom said after a lecture by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The LA venue was packed so they found living room chairs & placed them up front practically arms length from HH. Mom being in her eighties was offered a seat, I sat on a small folding chair behind her. After his talk, he stood. And, as I helped Mom our of her chair it appeared, for a brief moment in time, I sensed he wanted to help, too. As the Dali Lama was turning to leave they glanced at each other. There were no formalities, not really a greeting, no blessed white scarf exchanged & no hearty patting on the back – merely the intersection of two people on two very different paths. Just two old people smiling, touching arm & hand. And the moment was gone.

    What a very blessed man you have chosen to follow. May your child know the same heartfelt & heartfull moment as I did…

    You have


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *