Richard Gere and Will Geer are two famous actors who have starred in many popular movies and TV shows. They both have distinctive surnames that sound similar, but are they related by blood or by marriage? The answer might surprise you.
The Origin of the Surname Gere
Richard Gere was born Richard Tiffany Gere on August 31, 1949, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His father, Homer George Gere, was an insurance salesman and his mother, Doris Ann Tiffany, was a homemaker. Both of his parents were descendants of the Mayflower pilgrims who arrived in America in 1620
According to the website Ancestry.com, the surname Gere is a variant of Geer, which is derived from the Old English word “gar”, meaning “spear” The name Geer was originally a nickname for a warrior or a hunter who used a spear as a weapon
One of Richard Gere’s paternal ancestors, George Lane Gere, changed the spelling of his surname from Geer to Gere in the late 19th century George Lane Gere was born in 1848 in Connecticut and moved to Illinois, where he became a prominent lawyer and politician. He was also a distant cousin of Ulysses S. Grant, the 18th president of the United States
The Origin of the Surname Geer
Will Geer was born William Aughe Ghere on March 9, 1902, in Frankfort, Indiana. His father, Roy Aaron Ghere, was a postal worker and his mother, Katherine Aughe, was a teacher. His father left the family when he was 11 years old. He was influenced by his grandfather, who taught him the botanical names of the plants in his native state. He became a botanist, an actor, a musician, and a social activist. He was best known for his role as Zebulon Walton, the grandfather in the TV series The Waltons. He died on April 22, 1978, in Los Angeles, California
According to the website House of Names, the surname Geer is of Dutch origin and means “spear The name Geer was brought to America by Dutch immigrants who settled in New York and New Jersey in the 17th and 18th centuries
One of Will Geer’s paternal ancestors, George Geer, was born in 1621 in Heavitree, England and immigrated to Connecticut in 1638. He was one of the founders of New London and Groton and served as a deputy to the General Court of Connecticut. He died in 1726 at the age of 105.
Are Richard Gere and Will Geer Related?
Based on the available genealogical records, it seems that Richard Gere and Will Geer are not related by blood or by marriage. They both have different ancestral lines that trace back to England and Holland. They both have ancestors who changed the spelling of their surnames from Geer to Gere or vice versa, but for different reasons and at different times.
However, they do share some common traits and interests. They both have a passion for acting and music. They both have a connection to Woody Guthrie, the legendary folk singer and songwriter. Richard Gere played Guthrie in the biopic Bound for Glory (1976) and Will Geer sang with Guthrie and recorded an album with him titled Bound for Glory: Songs and Stories of Woody Guthrie (1956). They both also have a humanitarian spirit and support various causes such as human rights, environmentalism, and Tibetan Buddhism.
So while Richard Gere and Will Geer are not related by family ties, they are related by artistic expression and social conscience.