A walking dichotomy, this controversial Hollywood megastar is the embodiment of prankster and preacher, hero and villain, success and failure, both on and off screen. Born in the U.S. but raised in Australia from age 12, the ruggedly handsome, blue-eyed actor hit it big (at least Down Under) in 1979, with a pair of antithetical films. He earned an Australian Film Institute Award as a mentally challenged laborer involved with an older woman in Tim
, and proved himself an able action hero in Mad Max
, which launched a successful franchise. But his international breakthrough came two years later, when he again showcased his range as a short-distance runner in the World War I-set Gallipoli
(snagging him a second Australian Film Institute Award) and a return run as Mad Max in The Road Warrior
. Hollywood pounced on the actor, and while his U.S. career got off to a rocky start with a number of flops, he became an icon playing a crazy cop in the 1987 smash Lethal Weapon
, marking the beginning of a fruitful collaboration between Gibson and director Richard Donner. Over the years, the two worked together on a number of movies, including three more Lethal Weapon
flicks. He worked steadily in the 1990s and even went behind the camera, winning an Oscar for best director for his second feature, the Scottish war saga Braveheart
. Although the devout Catholic was well liked in Hollywood, charming his costars with his outrageous on-set pranks and donating millions to charity, he was never one to shy away from controversy. In 2004, Gibson wrote, produced, directed and independently financed The Passion of Christ
, an extremely graphic depiction of Jesus Christ's suffering on the day of his crucifixion. Critics claimed that the film had an anti-Semitic slant---a claim the auteur disputed on various TV news shows---and regardless of the film's social politics, it was a box-office smash. After keeping a low profile for the next two years, Gibson's name was suddenly plastered all over the media again when he made anti-Semitic remarks while being arrested for drunken driving in July 2006. He quickly checked into rehab, but the incident took a huge toll on his professional and personal life. A month after his arrest, he separated from Robyn Moore, his wife of 28 years with whom he had seven children. She filed for divorce in April 2009 citing "irreconcilable differences." And in October 2009, Gibson welcomed another child with then-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva, but the pair called it quits several months later. In 2010, Gibson appeared on-screen again, in the revenge thriller film, Edge of Darkness
, while preparing to go behind the camera again, stating that he'd be helming an upcoming Viking movie.Mel Gibson Fast Facts:
- The sixth of 11 children (he has five brothers and five sisters).
- While he considers himself an Australian, he was 12 when he moved Down Under with his family.
- The night before his Mad Max audition, a bar fight left him with a black eye and stitches---the exact apocalyptic, world-weary look that director George Miller was seeking. When the 1979 film was released stateside, an American actor dubbed Gibson's voice.
- Was arrested in 1984 for drunken driving while filming Mrs. Soffel, 22 years before his much more infamous DUI arrest in 2006.
- Named People magazine's first Sexiest Man Alive in 1985 and has been frequently cited in their annual Most Beautiful People issue.
- His father was involved with the Alliance for Catholic Tradition, a group opposed to the more liberal philosophies of the post-Vatican II Catholic Church; this influenced Mel's own conservative stance.
- A renowned practical joker, he has famously played pranks on costars including Rene Russo and Julia Roberts, and director Ron Howard.
- Produced a number of TV projects, including the short-lived sitcom Complete Savages, which was loosely inspired by his own life.
- His self-financed directorial vision of the final hours leading to the crucifixion of Jesus, 2004's The Passion of the Christ, spurred debate over a possible anti-Semitic backlash while breaking box-office records.
- Two years later, he was involved in another headline-producing situation with the Jewish community when he made anti-Semitic remarks during the course of a drunken-driving arrest.
- Decided to take a break from acting in 2002, so he could focus on writing, producing and directing. Made a major break from his near-hiatus with a starring role in the 2010 big-screen adaption of the BBC series Edge of Darkness, which did not fare well at the box office.
- Mel Gibson Relationships:
- Donal Gibson - Brother
- Oksana Grigorieva - Ex-significant Other
- Lucia Anne Gibson - Daughter
- Edward Gibson - Son
- Hannah Gibson Shepherd - Daughter
- Thomas Rufus Gerard Gibson - Son
- Will Gibson - Son
- Milo Gibson - Son
- Anne Gibson - Mother
- Robyn Moore - Ex-wife
- Christian Gibson - Son
- Hutton Gibson - Father
- Louis Gibson - Son
- Mel Gibson Awards:
- 2001 People's Choice Awards: Favorite Motion Picture Actor - Winner
- 1995 BAFTA Film Awards: The David Lean Award for Achievement in Direction - Nominee
- 1997 Golden Globe: Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama - Nominee
- 1995 Oscar: Best Achievement in Directing - Winner
- 1995 Oscar: Best Motion Picture of the Year - Winner
- 2001 People's Choice Awards: Favorite Motion Picture Star in a Drama - Winner
- 1991 People's Choice Awards: Favorite Motion Picture Actor - Winner
- 1997 People's Choice Awards: Favorite Motion Picture Actor - Winner
- 2004 People's Choice Awards: Favorite Motion Picture Actor - Winner
- 1996 Golden Globe: Best Director - Motion Picture - Winner
- 2002 Australian Film Institute Awards: Global Achievement Award - Winner
- 2001 Golden Globe: Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy - Nominee
- 2003 People's Choice Awards: Favorite Motion Picture Actor - Winner
- 2006 BAFTA Film Awards: Best Film not in the English Language - Nominee
- National Institute of Dramatic Art, Kensington, New South Wales, Australia (1977)