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Hollywood veteran RICHARD GERE has turned down the lead role in London musical THE SOUND OF MUSIC - despite a personal invitation from music mogul ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER.

The British composer has been desperate to land the 55-year-old actor in the lead role of CAPTAIN VON TRAPP for more than a year after seeing his impressive performance in the movie CHICAGO - in which he starred alongside RENEE ZELLWEGER and CATHERINE ZETA-JONES.

Accepting the offer would have been the PRETTY WOMAN star's first West End theatre performance since appearing as character DANNY ZUKO in hit-musical GREASE over 30 years ago.

Despite at the time rumoured to be "very interested" in the role - Gere is set to disappoint British fans by refusing to take the stage.

A spokeswoman for Webber's REALLY USEFUL GROUP says, "Nothing has been announced yet - it's all in very early stages.

"Richard Gere has been approached but it looks like other Hollywood films will take precedence - even after Lloyd Webber asked him personally."

01/02/2005 13:49

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