Richard Gere: An actor and a gentleman

Actor Richard Gere - whose latest film "Arbitrage" shows he's still at the top of his game - keeps expanding his range, to a new role: Innkeeper.
CBS News

(CBS News) "Pretty Woman" is among the many movies that have Richard Gere one of Hollywood's biggest stars. More than 20 years later, he's still at the top of his game . . . and expanding his range. Rita Braver now..with a Sunday Profile:

He's played lovers and lawyers, spies and rogues. But did you ever think that in real life Richard Gere would be . . . an innkeeper?

"It was a wreck, it was falling down, and we invented everything that you see here," he said.

The Bedford Post Inn, a small, luxury getaway that he and a business partner lovingly restored, is close to Gere's home, about an hour outside New York City. It has a gourmet restaurant and right elegant rooms.

Braver asked the reason Gere said to himself, "What I really need in my life is to run an inn."

"Well, I never thought to run one. I had not interest in running anything. I like to build. My mother said I have an 'edifice complex'!" he laughed. "One of the funniest things she ever said, which is true: I like to build beautiful things."

But mostly what he's built is an extraordinary film career. His latest movie is called "Arbitrage," with Gere starring as a charming, debonair and crooked hedge fund manager.

"It's a movie about his moral challenges, and how one thing after another shoves him further and further up against a stone wall with no way out," Gere said. "But I think as we go through the movie, we realize that everyone in this movie is morally challenged - everybody, from the police to the lawyers, to his own family."

"You've got to know that people are saying about your performance in this film that it's Oscar worthy. What do you think when you hear that?" Braver asked.

"People are very generous about this, and of course it makes me feel good," he said.

Now 63, Richard Gere has been acting since he won the lead in "The King and I" in high school. Raised in upstate New York, he plays down his family's distinguished lineage: "It turns out I had, like, five EXTREMELY distant relatives on the Mayflower."

"Something to be a little bit proud of," said Braver.

"Please! Both of my parents came from a very, very small town, agrarian town, a farming village in northeastern Pennsylvania." Gere's grandfather is even featured in the logo of his inn - a farmer hauling wheat from his field.

Gere honed his dramatic skills on stage, in summer stock and on Broadway.

It was an incredibly vibrant time; Late '60s, early '70s in New York was a lot of experimental, exciting theater," Gere said. "New kinds of plays were being written that related much more to the world that young actors, actresses lived in, and the Tennessee Williams plays and the Eugene O'Neill plays."

But then director Terrence Malick offered him the lead in the 1978 film "Days of Heaven," playing a young farm worker with a dark past.

"I could feel when Terry asked me to do the movie and we were going to start shooting, I know that my life had taken a leap," he said.