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Moving Image moves to hail Gere

'Chicago' thesp feted for having impact on biz, auds

Richard Gere will give the old razzle dazzle to the American Museum of the Moving Image when the actor is saluted at the org’s 19th annual black-tie benefit, to take place April 20 at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.

The choice of Gere as next year’s honoree was announced by AMMI board chairman Herbert Schlosser and museum director Rochelle Slovin. Each year, the museum salutes a film personality whose career has had a major impact on both industry and audiences.

“Richard Gere is one of the most well-known and respected actors of his generation,” said Schlosser. “With versatile talents and dramatic intensity, as witnessed in his last two stellar performances in ‘Chicago’ and ‘Unfaithful,’ he has forged one of Hollywood’s most enduring careers.”

Golden Globe winner

The actor won last year’s Golden Globe for best actor in a comedy or musical for his role as ultra-smooth lawyer Billy Flynn in “Chicago.”

“Richard Gere projects intelligence and charm,” said Slovin. “He has sustained a remarkable career as a leading man for more than 25 years, starring opposite such actresses as Diane Keaton, Debra Winger, Julia Roberts, Laura Linney, Renee Zellweger and Diane Lane.”

A number of Gere’s directors and co-stars are expected to attend the AMMI evening.

Gere first came to attention as a screen actor in the late ’70s in films like “Looking for Mr. Goodbar” and “Days of Heaven.” He cemented his star status with “American Gigolo” and “An Officer and a Gentleman,” and achieved one of his biggest successes with “Pretty Woman.”

Worked in ‘Dance’

The actor recently completed work on Miramax’s English-language remake of Japanese ballroom dancing pic “Shall We Dance?,” opposite Jennifer Lopez and Susan Sarandon.

Gere has not yet committed to his next project but is in discussions with Intermedia to topline a remake of Swedish-Norwegian thriller “Sleepwalker,” for Dutch director Mike van Diem (“Character”); and is attached to star for Disney and helmer Gregory Hoblit in “Emperor Zehnder,” which was postponed to a fall 2004 start date.

Previous AMMI Salute recipients include Sidney Lumet, Elia Kazan, James Stewart, Sidney Poitier, Mike Nichols, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Steven Spielberg, Julia Roberts, Dustin Hoffman, Martin Scorsese, Goldie Hawn, Robin Williams and Mel Gibson.

The Salute raises funds for AMMI’s programs, which include core interactive exhibition “Behind the Screen,” digital media exhibitions, more than 400 film screenings per year and discussions with leading filmmakers and television creators.

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