Mel Gibson

Actor / Filmmaker

Born: 3 January 1956
Birthplace: Peekskill, New York
Best known as:

The writer and director of The Passion of the Christ

A movie star and a controversial filmmaker, Mel Gibson got his start as an action hero in Mad Max (1979), a low-budget thriller which cast him as a grim, leather-clad ex-cop in a barren Australian future. The film's bigger-budget sequel, The Road Warrior (1981), was also a bigger hit and Mel Gibson became an international star. His turn as a goofy rogue cop in 1987's Lethal Weapon cemented his status as Hollywood's leading blue-eyed action hero. He made three more films in the Lethal Weapon series (1989, 1992 and 1998) and starred in other big-budget action flicks like Air America (1990, with Robert Downey, Jr.) and The Patriot (2000, with Heath Ledger). Gibson also showed a thoughtful side, taking the lead in Hamlet (1990) and directing and starring in the sentimental drama The Man Without a Face (1993). In 1995 Mel Gibson directed, produced and starred as historical hero William Wallace in the swords-and-Scotsmen epic Braveheart, for which he took home Oscars for best director and best picture. His 2004 film about the last hours of Jesus, The Passion of the Christ (starring Jim Caviezel), was a surprise hit but stirred up controversy after critics accused it of anti-semitism. Gibson added fuel to such charges in July of 2006 when he went on an anti-Jewish tirade after being arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated. He publicly apologized for his behavior and was fined and sentenced to three years probation. The episode drew to its conclusion just prior to the 2006 release of Apocalypto, a film set in the ancient Mayan culture that Gibson wrote, produced and directed. He returned to the screen in the 2010 thriller Edge of Darkness and the 2011 oddity The Beaver, directed by Jodie Foster.

Extra credit:

Mel Gibson was born in New York and raised in Australia... A devout Catholic, Mel Gibson directed, co-wrote, co-produced and self-financed the $25 million The Passion of the Christ... He married the former Robyn Moore in Australia in 1980. They have seven children together: six sons and a daughter. The pair separated in 2006; Robyn filed for divorce in 2009, and the divorce was made final in 2011. Moore reportedly received half of Gibson's $850 million fortune in the divorce... The Road Warrior was followed by another sequel, Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, in 1985... Mel Gibson played another historical figure, mutineer Fletcher Christian, in The Bounty (1984); Christian also has been played on-screen by Marlon Brando (Mutiny on the Bounty, 1962) and Clark Gable (Mutiny on the Bounty, 1935).

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