Mel Columcille Gerard Gibson was born on January 3, 1956, in Peekskill, New York. He was the sixth of eleven children born to Hutton Gibson, a railroad brakeman and Ann Gibson who died in 1990. The father moved the family to New South Wales, Australia, in 1968 after winning as a contestant on the television show, “Jeopardy.” His ancestors really came from Ireland and Scotland and he was named after the Church of St. Mel in Tipperary, Ireland, where his mother’s family was from. After graduation from high school, Mel studied at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, performing at the National institute of Dramatic Arts alongside Judy Davis and Geoffrey Rush.
He actually became an actor by accident. His sister submitted an application behind this back and the night before the audition he got into a fight and was very beaten up. That incident caused him to get the part! He found success in 1979 with two films, “Mad Max” and “Tim”, which co-starred Piper Laurie. The first made his name a household word; the second earned him an award for “Best Actor” from the Australian Film Institute. In 1981, he earned a second award for “Best Actor” from the AFI for his starring role in “Gallipoli.” He married Robyn Moore whom he met through a dating service in 1980 and they have seven children.
Mel’s American film debut came in 1984 with his performance in “The Bounty” opposite Anthony Hopkins. The “Lethal Weapon” series followed in 1987. “Forever Young” (1992), and “The Man Without A Face” (1993) followed, but it wouldn’t be until 1995 when Mel Gibson would garner his most famous role to date as William Wallace in “Braveheart” for which he won two Oscars, one for “Best Picture” and one for “Best Director.” In an ironic twist of events, he almost didn’t take the role because he felt he was too old for it. He asked the producers if he could direct it instead. A compromise was made and he got to direct the movie upon agreement to star in it.
Today Mel Gibson remains one of the highest paid international stars.
What are some of YOUR favorite Mel Gibson performances?