Born in Glasgow, Scotland to Margaret and Edward Butler (both having mainly
Irish ancestry), Gerard Butler is the youngest of three children. He spent the
first few years of his life in Montreal before returning to Paisley, Scotland
after his parents' separation. He grew up with his mother, who remarried a few
years later. He had no contact with his father until he was age 16. He studied
law at Glasgow University, where he served as President of the school's Law
Society, and worked as a solicitor after graduation. He spent the majority of
his time as a lawyer feeling depressed and drinking. After being fired from his
job he began acting. He has since sobered up and has not touched a drop of
alcohol for over 8 years.
Gerard Butler's early film roles included Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), with his first major role being the title character in Dracula 2000 (2000). His breakthrough came when he played the title role in the U.S. mini-series Attila the Hun. He also appeared in the U.K. miniseries The Jury.
Luckily, Gerard Butler already knew a bit about singing before signing on for the title role in Joel Schumacher's film rendition of Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera. While working as a lawyer, he sang with a rock band called Speed. But he began taking formal singing lessons before he was even cast as the Phantom, training for hours a day from January of 2003 to June of 2004.
While filming the movie Mrs. Brown in Scotland with Dame Judi Dench and Billy Connolly, he was enjoying a picnic with his mother near the River Tay when they heard the shouts of a young boy who had been swimming with a friend who was in trouble. Butler jumped into the river and consequently saved the young boy from drowning. He received a "Certificate of Bravery" from the Royal Humane Society. He felt he only did what anyone in the situation would have done.
Gerard Butler prefers to be called "Gerry" rather than "Gerard," (pronounced as GER-ard (rhymes with "Jerad"); not Ger-ARD) Gerry's home base is in London, although he does spend time in Los Angeles and New York City.
Among Butler's film credits are Mrs. Brown, The Cherry Orchard, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, Timeline, Reign of Fire, and The Phantom of the Opera, in which he sings the title role. He played the eponymous character in 2001 telemovie Attila. Recent roles include Dear Frankie, The Game of Their Lives and Beowulf & Grendel.
Gerard Butler recently completed filming "300," an adaptation of the Frank Miller graphic novel based on the heroism of 300 elite Spartan warriors at the ancient battle of Thermopylae in Greece where he portrays Spartan King Leonidis. Filming began took place from October 2005 - January 2006 in Montreal.
Gerard Butler is currently filming Butterfly on a Wheel, co-starring alongside Pierce Brosnan and Maria Bello, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
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