Born: Jan. 3, 1956 Peekskill, New York, USA
From all out action flicks, to comedies and dramas, Mel Gibson has consistently been an audience favorite…especially with the ladies.
Mel Gibson was born in Peekskill, New York on January 3, 1956. The sixth of eleven children, Mel and his family moved to Australia when he was 12. After high school, Mel’s sister submitted an application in his name to Australia’s National Institute of Dramatic Art. Gibson was accepted.
While still at school, Mel had his film debut when he appeared as a surfer in the low budget film Summer City. When he graduated, he joined the State Theatre Company of South Australia. His work in a variety of shows caught the attention of a young director named George Miller.
Miller cast him in his post-apocalyptic action flick Mad Max. The film became Australia’s highest-grossing film, a record that was beaten by its sequel, The Road Warrior. The Road Warrior was released in North America and the film and its star had an enthusiastic response.
Gibson left the action-adventure vein for his next film, appearing in Peter Weir’s WWI drama Gallipoli. The role earned him the Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actor. His profile in the States had been raised and he was now a worldwide star.
More dramas followed for Gibson as he took on roles in The Year of Living Dangerously, The Bounty, The River and Mrs. Soffel. In 1985, he revisted his Mad Max character in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome opposite Tina Turner. In the same year People Magazine named him their first “Sexiest Man Alive”.
In 1987, Gibson helped launch a succesful franchise when he appeared with Danny Glover in the action hit Lethal Weapon. Though Lethal Weapon II was a hit as well, Gibson made a few flicks that didn’t exactly put lines around the block at the box office like Bird on a Wire and Air America. He ambitiously tried his hand at Shakespeare with Hamlet in 1990 and made his directorial debut with The Man Without a Face in 1993.
He made the comedy-western hit Maverick with Jodie Foster and James Garner in 1994, but it was his return to directing in 1995 that made people sit up and take note. The film he made was Braveheart and Gibson also starred as the film’s hero William Wallace. The film won two Oscars®: one for Best Picture and one for Gibson for Best Director.
In 1996 Gibson appeared in the Ron Howard film Ransom. He appeared with Julia Roberts in Conspiracy Theory and revisited his crazy cop role in 1998’s Lethal Weapon 4. He then worked on the wrong side of the law in 1999’s Payback.
In 2000, Gibson appeared in two films that depended on his character’s leadership. The one flick was the Revolutionary War epic The Patriot with Heath Ledger, while he lent his voice to the claymation adventure Chicken Run. Both films had great…um…legs at the box office and remained in the top 10 for several weeks.
In December of 2000, Mel was nominated for a Golden Globe for his role in What Women Want.
In 2004, Mel Gibson released a self-financed and very personal project, The Passion of the Christ. The film received a slew of pre-release press due mainly to the violence contained in the film and the fears that it would fuel anti-Semitism. The film made hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office and box office pundits said it skewed the year end results due to the large number of viewers that weren’t regular filmgoers.
Gibson was arrested in the summer of 2006 for drunk driving. During his arrest, he made several anti-Semitic remarks. The resulting PR firestorm had many wondering how it would affect his career.
In 2006, he directed the violent Mayan drama Apocalypto.
Robyn, Gibson’s wife since 1980, filed for divorce on April 13th, 2009. They have seven children.
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