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Mel Gibson AO

b. 1956

Mel Gibson (b. 1956), actor, was born in New York state, the sixth of eleven children of a railroad brakeman and an Australian opera singer. After winning money on the TV show "Jeopardy" Gibson's father moved the family to Australia in 1968, in part because he wanted to prevent his sons from being drafted for service in Vietnam. In Sydney Mel Gibson attended NIDA alongside such future stars as Geoffrey Rush and Judy Davis, who played Juliet to Gibson's Romeo in an early Shakespearean outing. After a number of undistinguished roles on stage and television Gibson was chosen to play the lead in George Miller's Mad Max (1979). In 1981 his performances in Mad Max 2 (entitled The Road Warrior for overseas release) and Gallipoli brought him international attention. He made an inauspicious American debut in The Bounty (1984), but his performance in Lethal Weapon (1987) established him as an A-list star. His subsequent films include Hamlet (1990), Ransom (1996) and The Patriot (2000). Braveheart (1995), Gibson's second film as a director, won Best Director and Best Picture Oscars. He is currently estimated to be the third most powerful man in the entertainment business. His latest project is the controversial Passion, depicting the final twelve hours in the life of Christ, with dialogue entirely in Aramaic and Latin.

Updated 2018