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Mel Gibson

Mel Gibson was born the sixth of eleven children in upstate New York and at the age of 12 moved with his family to Sydney, Australia. He attended the National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA) at the University of New South Wales, where his stage appearances included the role of Biff in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman. On the strength of his stage work Gibson came to the attention of physician-turned-film-director George Miller, who cast him in the title role in MadMax (1979), the low budget SF car chase thriller that became a surprise smash around the world. The same year he played an almost diametrically opposite role as a gentle mentally handicapped man in Tim, and won the Australian Film Institute's Best Actor award. He was further established as an international star by Peter Weir's Gallipoli (1981), which brought him a second Australian Best Actor prize, and by Miller's MadMax 2: The Road Warrior (1981), which was released in the US by Warner Brothers.

Gibson solidified his reputation when he teamed with Weir again for The Year of Living Dangerously (1983), for which he was nominated Best Actor in a Lead Role by the Australian Film Institute. He then made his American debut opposite Sissy Spacek in The River (1984), portrayed mutineer Fletcher Christian in Roger Donaldson's The Bounty (1984), and a charismatic young convict in Gillian Armstrong's dark romance Mrs. Soffel (1984). But it was undoubtedly the continuation of the Mad Max series, MadMaxBeyondThunderdome (1985), and the opening salvo of an even more durable action-adventure franchise, Lethal Weapon (1987), that truly certified his standing as a global superstar.

After starring in Tequila Sunrise (1988), Lethal Weapon 2 (1989), Air America (1990), and Bird on a Wire (1990), Gibson formed Icon Productions with partner Bruce Davey to produce Hamlet (1990), directed by Franco Zeffirelli. The role brought him the William Shakespeare Award from the Folger Library in Washington, DC. Gibson has since starred in several Icon projects, including

Forever Young (1992), Maverick (1994), Payback (1999) and What Women Want (2000), while continuing to work in films produced by other companies, such as Ron Howard's Ransom (1996) for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe in the Best Actor, Motion Picture Drama category and Richard Donner's Conspiracy Theory (1997). Gibson also made his directorial debut in 1993 with Icon's The Man Without a Face.

In 1995, Gibson produced, directed, and starred in the critical and box office success Braveheart, which received ten Academy Award nominations and won five, including best Picture and Best Director. In addition, he received a Golden Globe Award as Best Director, a Special Achievement in Filmmaking Award from the National Board of Review, the National Association of Theater Owners/ShoWest award as Director of the Year, and was named Best Director by the Broadcast Film Critic's Association. He was further nominated for the David Lean Award for Direction and for an "Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures" by the Directors Guild of America.

In 2000, Gibson became the first actor to star in three films, in the same year, that have earned $100 million in domestic gross. In Roland Emmerich's The Patriot, Gibson portrayed Benjamin Martin, a reluctant hero swept into the American Revolution when the war threatens his family. For a change of pace, Gibson leant his voice to the all-American rooster, Rocky, in the DreamWorks/SKG model-animated adventure comedy Chicken Run. Later that year he portrayed Nick Marshall, a chauvinistic advertising executive who gets in touch with his feminine side in the Paramount Pictures/Icon Productions smash hit What Women Want (2000). The romantic comedy, directed by Nancy Meyers and co-starring Helen Hunt, achieved, at the time, the best three-day December opening ever ($33.6 million) and has become the film industry's highest grossing romantic comedy ever. He was nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance, in the Best Actor, Motion Picture Comedy category.

In 2002, Gibson starred as real-life Vietnam war hero Gen. Harold Moore in Randall Wallace's We Were Soldiers, an account of the 34-day battle against hopeless odds that signaled the beginning of ground combat in the war (and prefigured its outcome) and as the Rev. Graham Hess, confronting an alien invasion (and a crisis of faith) in M. Night Shyamalan's Signs. Signs has become Gibson's highest grossing film worldwide to date.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2004.
Read earlier biographies on this page.

Mel Gibson Facts

Birth NameMel Columcille Gerard Gibson
OccupationActor, Director, Producer
BirthdayJanuary 3, 1956 (66)
BirthplacePeekskill, New York, USA
Height5' 11" (1m80)  How tall is Mel Gibson compared to you?
Awards1996 Academy Awards: Best Director (for Braveheart)
1996 Golden Globe Awards: Best Director - Motion Picture (for Braveheart)
1993 MTV Movie Awards: Best Kiss (for Lethal Weapon 3)
1993 MTV Movie Awards: Best On-Screen Duo (for Lethal Weapon 3)

Selected Filmography

Blood Father
We Were Soldiers
Pocahontas Two-Movie Special Edition
Bible According to Hollywood
What Women Want
The Patriot
The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas
The Expendables 3
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