Born in Glasgow, Scotland to Margaret and Edward Butler, Gerard was raised (along with his older brother and sister) in his mother's hometown of Paisley, Scotland. He also spent some of his early youth in Canada. His parents divorced when he was a small child and he and his siblings were raised primarily by their mother Margaret who later remarried. He had no contact with his father Edward till years later when he was sixteen years old, after which time they became close. His father passed away when Gerard was in his early twenties . Butler went on to attend Glasgow University where he studied to be a Lawyer/Solicitor. He was even president of the schools law society thanks to his outgoing personality and great social skills.
His acting career began when he was approached in a London coffee shop by actor Steven Berkoff (who later appeared alongside Butler in Attila), who gave him a stage role in the play "Coriolanus". He decided to give up law school for acting. He was later cast as Ewan McGregor's character Renton in the stage adaptation of the movie Trainspotting (1996). His debut movie role was as Billy Connolly's younger brother in the movie Mrs. Brown (1997). While filming the movie in Scotland, 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 some trouble. Butler jumped in 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.
His movie career continued with small roles in the James Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) and Russell Mulcahy's Tale of the Mummy (1998). In 2000, Butler was cast in his breakthrough roles, the first being Attila the Hun in the USA movie Attila (2001/I) (TV). Producers of the mini-series wanted a known actor to play the part but kept coming back to Gerard Butler's screen tests and decided that he was their man. He had to lose the thick Scottish accent, but managed well. Around the time Attila was being filmed, casting was in progress for Wes Craven's new take on the Dracula legacy, also wanting a known name (so Butler wasn't much of a consideration). His unending tenacity and drive drove him to hounding the producers. Eventually, he sent them a clip of his portrayal of Attila.
Evidently they liked it because Dracula 2000 (2000) was cast in the form of Gerard Butler. Producers of Attila (2001/I) (TV), thinking that his big screen role might help with the Attila ratings, managed to finish up a little early so that he could get to work on Dracula 2000 (2000). Attila (2001/I) (TV) ended up being the 2nd highest rated mini-series ever. Following these 2 roles, Butler developed quite a fan base and Internet sites and lists started popping up everywhere.
Since then Butler has appeared in Reign of Fire (2002) as Creedy and Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003) as Terry Sheridan alongside Angelina Jolie. His role that has garnered him much attention from both moviegoers and movie makers was that of Andre Marek in the big screen adaptation of Michael Crichton's novel Timeline (2003). Butler played an archaeologist who was sent back in time with a team of students to rescue a colleague. Last year, he appeared in Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical The Phantom of the Opera (2004), portraying the title character in the successful adaptation of the stage musical that has brought him much international attention. Other projects include Dear Frankie (2004), The Game of Their Lives (2005), Beowulf & Grendel (2005), and _Burns (2006)_ . He is currently filming the Warner Brothers production, _300_ , based on the Frank Miller graphic novel.
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