Last Friday Nov 13 was (gasp!) Gerard Butler’s 40th birthday. If you’ve read this blog for any length of time you’ll know I’m a card-carrying Gerry Butler fan. My first reaction to news that he turned 40 was, “Gee, he’s getting old.”

I came late to being a Gerard Butler fan, only catching The Phantom Of the Opera on cable about two years after it was released. Read here (scroll down) to see my reaction. I quickly went on to see Dear Frankie, Timeline, even Dracula 2000.

Gerry’s film debut was in Mrs. Brown, playing Billy Connolly’s younger brother. The role was small but memorable, perhaps because Gerry and Billy ran naked into the sea.

I think lots of women became fans after the movie Timeline. In that movie Gerry played a major role as archeologist, Andre Marek. Or from the TV miniseries, Attila the Hun. It was Phantom of the Opera, though, that really brought in fans in droves. Fan websites sprang up and Gerard Butler conventions were planned. These have become a fairly regular occurance, including a birthday bash this year in Glasgow. Through the conventions and other events Gerry’s fans have raised over a quarter of a million dollars for charity. (See the convention I attended here)

But, still, Gerry did not really achieve star status until the movie 300, where playing the Spartan, Leonidis, he showed himself to be a fine figure of a man. That was in 2006 when he was only 37. Somehow 37 doesn’t sound nearly as old as 40.

This year Gerry appeared in three movies: The Ugly Truth, Gamer, and, just out, Law Abiding Citizen. Already in the works is the much anticipated movie Burns (tying this in to our time period–or fairly close to it), in which Gerry will play Robert Burns. It is a real labor of love to make this movie of the national poet of Scotland. One wonders, though, will he be too old for the role? Burns only lived to age 37.

All this got me wondering. Is 40 to old to be a romantic hero–in our books, I mean. I know Janet’s Dedication featured an older hero, and my favorite Georgette Heyer hero, Demerel from Venetia, was older. But the heroes I write about are usually in their 30s, and most I read about are about the same age.

So, my questions are: What age is too young to be a hero? What age is too old? What age is your favorite for a hero? And the big question, is Gerard Butler now too old?

(p.s. I’m still a card-carrying Gerard Butler fan and always will be. He’s my favorite actor, an awesome actor, even if he is 40!)

******* All photos courtesy of GerardButlerDotNet, the officially non-official fan website

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