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MAIN Arrow to Art & Culture Art & ... Arrow to Hollywood Pop Culture Arrow to Actresses Actors Arrow to Mel Gibson Mel Gibson

mel gibsonBorn Mel Columcille Gerard Gibson in Peekskill, New York on January 3, 1956, Gibson was the sixth of 11 children later raised in Australia, where father Hutton Gibson moved the family in 1968 in protest of the Vietnam war.

Still holding American citizenship, Gibson would later return to the U.S. to take Hollywood by storm with a string of successful action movies and at least one attempt at Hamlet.

Although world famous as a Hollywood actor, Gibson remains today at the center of controversy for his religious views as director of The Passion of the Christ and for anti-Semetic rantings in the press.

Gibson began his acting career on Australian television and then went on to debut in one of his most famous roles as Mad Max (later resulting in two hit Hollywood sequels). His early Australian film career also included a critically acclaimed performance in Gallipoli.

His U.S. movie debut came with a starring role as Fletcher Christian, in The Bounty playing opposite Anthony Hopkins as Captain Bligh, later achieving superstar status with the release of the first in a series of action movies in which he starred as cop Martin Riggs in Lethal Weapon alongside Danny Glover.

(From left:) Along with appearances in early films such as "Galipoli" and "The Year of Living Dangerously",
Mel Gibson's more memorable Hollywood films include starring in the Max Max and Lethal Weapon
movie franchises, as well as his acting and directing roles in the Oscar-winning "Braveheart."

Moving against type, Gibson next took on the role of Hamlet in 1990, surprising the critics with a strong performance in the Shakespeare classic, then appeared throughout the decade in an eclectic mix of movie performances in such films as the screwball comedy Bird on a Wire opposite Golden Hawn, and in the sensitive drama Man Without A Face, his directorial debut. Gibson's second foray into acting and directing was as the Scottish warlord William Wallace in Braveheart for which he won two Academy awards for Best Picture and Best Director in 1996.

In 2004, Gibson was at the center of worldwide controversy for his directing and producing role in The Passion of the Christ, recounting the last 12 hours of the life of Jesus Christ.

The film spawned an international debate on its merits as historically accurate, with charges that Gibson's own staunch Catholicism had colored the depiction of the Jews as violent antagonists within the story, and thereby fomenting anti-Jewish sentiment. Despite the controversy (or perhaps because of it) the film went on to take in than $600 million in tickets worldwide to become the most successful independent film of all time.

mel gibson mugshot 2006
The mug shot, released by the LAPD
following Gibson's DUI arrest in 2006.

Gibson came under fire from Jewish groups once again after he was stopped on a Los Angeles highway in July 2006 for driving while intoxicated, later reportedly spewing anti-Semitic remarks at police. According to portions of the police report, Gibson at one point reportedly asked if the officer is a Jew and in a state of deep intoxication claimed "all wars are started by Jews."

The report was first published on, which hinted at a cover-up by LA police for excising Gibson's comments from the official record. The controversial actor later apologized for the remarks, which he described as "despicable".

The actor's next film foray was as writer and producer of the historic action film Apocalypto. Released in 2006, it's main claim to fame was that its cast of characters were played by Maya and Native American actors who spoke only in the Yucatec Mayan language. Despite its obscure premise (and Gibson's recent and much-publicized personal problems) the film was widely praised as a the work of a serious filmmaker, and won major acclaim at the Golden Globes and the Bafta Awards the following year.

Divorce settlement a record breaker

In 2009, Gibson was back in the headlines when the devoutly Catholic actor and Robyn Gibson, his wife of 30 years, announced their plans to divorce. For months beforehand it was rumored that Gibson and Oksana Pochepa, a Russian pop star, had begun an affair that had pushed Mrs. Gibson to file divorce proceedings, setting the stage for one of the most expensive break-ups in history. Gibson's divorce was finalized on December 23, 2011, and the settlement with his ex-wife was said to be the highest in Hollywood history at over $400 million.

More about Mel Gibson's life & career around the Web:

Mel Gibson News - The latest headlines and breaking news related to the actor from various sources on the Web.

Mel Gibson Pictures - The motherlode from a major fan site, browseable by topic with photos from his major hits.

Mel Gibson - Wikipedia - A complete biography from Gibson's earliest acting career up to The Passion of the Christ, with photo and related links.


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