Birth Name: Mel Columcille Gerard Gibson
Date of Birth: January 3, 1956
He was born Mel Columcille Gerard Gibson in Peekskill, upstate New York, the sixth child of 11. When he was 12, his father won $21,000 on Jeopardy, combined it with a workman's compensation settlement, and moved the family to Australia to keep his boys out of the Vietnam War draft. Coming of age in the land-down-under, Gibson became a heavy drinker by 16, not to mention a smoker, scrapper and ne'er-do-well.
Without him knowing, his sister, Mary, sent an application on his behalf to the prestigious National Institute of Dramatic Arts in Sydney. Gibson was invited to audition, was accepted, and traded his job at an orange juice factory for an acting career that would eventually make him one of the most recognized and respected actors in the world.
However, he continued to drink and brawl and wound up in a hospital with a broken nose and jaw in 1979. A week later and still swollen, he auditioned for Mad Max and landed the role partly because of his messed up face. He went on to play a diverse range of characters, including Hamlet, William Wallace in Braveheart (which he also directed), and the cocky detective, Martin Riggs in the Lethal Weapon series.
The world knows Mel Gibson as an actor, director, winner of two Academy Awards and The Sexiest Man Alive, according to a People Magazine poll in 1996. He has also won three Australian Film Institute awards, two Blockbuster Entertainment awards for Favorite Actor, Four People's Choice Awards for Favorite Motion Picture Actor and a Golden Globe for Best Director of Braveheart.
His friends know him as a prankster, conservative thinker, self-deprecating humorist and staunch Roman Catholic opposed to birth control and abortion. Alcoholics Anonymous know him as someone struggling to control his drinking and live one-day-at-a-time since joining in 1990.
"My biggest weakness is that I'm excessive," he says. "Fortunately for everyone concerned, I'm not as excessive as I used to be."
Gibson has no truck with feminists and he is not a favorite of theirs either. He believes that women are not equal, just different. He believes in capital punishment as well as the right to bear arms. He encourages his kids to run around the woods and "kill" each other with paint balls. He bragged once that his then six-year-old was a "regular killing machine." As for his opinion of former president Bill Clinton, he characterizes him as a "low level opportunist."
On the softer side, Gibson is an opera buff and an aficionado of Beethoven. His fellow actors can't say enough about him as a colleague who cares about everyone's performance. Having won an Academy Award for Best Director for his work on Braveheart, several years later, Gibson took on another project close to his heart—The Passion of the Christ. The story of the last days of Jesus Christ, the film was the center of much controversy, due to the fact that Gibson, who directed the film but did not act role in it, claims the entire film will be in a foreign language, without subtitles and in addition, various religious groups have been protesting and/or praising the film. However, it wound up being a huge hit, grossing over US$370 million at the domestic box office alone.
He has since directed Apocalypto (2006), a film about the Mayan culture, spoken in Yucatec Maya. In July 2006, Gibson made anti-Semitic remarks while being arrested for drunk driving. He later apologized, but the incident was deemed by many to be a black spot on Gibson's career. It became clear that it hadn't affected the success of his movie, however, as Apocalypto opened in the top spot at the weekend box office in December 2006. He most recently starred in Machete Kills (2013) alongside Danny Trejo and Sofia Vergara, The Expendables 3 (2014) and Blood Father (2016).
More recently, he directed Hacksaw Ridge (2016) which earned him several nominations, including nominations from the Academy Awards, Golden Globe Awards and the BAFTA Awards.
His later roles include the holiday comedy Daddy's Home 2 (2017), Dragged Across Concrete (2019) and Force of Nature (2020).
Gibson and his wife of 28 years, Robyn, with whom he has seven children, were divorced in 2009, the same year his Russian mistress, Oksana, gave birth to a daughter. They have since also split.
* Winner of the Best Director Academy Award in 1996 for Braveheart.
Force of Nature (2020)
Dragged Across Concrete (2019)
Daddy's Home 2 (2017)
Blood Father (2016)
The Expendables 3 (2014)
Machete Kills (2013)
Conspiracy Theory (1997)
Father's Day (1997) (uncredited)
FairyTale: A True Story (1997)
The Man Without a Face (1993)
Lethal Weapon 3 (1992)
Forever Young (1992)
Bird on a Wire (1990)
Air America (1990)
Lethal Weapon 2 (1989)
Tequila Sunrise (1988)
Lethal Weapon (1987)
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)
The Bounty (1984)
Mrs. Soffel (1984)
The River (1984)
The Year of Living Dangerously (1982)
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1982)
Attack Force Z (1981)
Summer City (1977)
Hacksaw Ridge (2016)
THe Passion (2004)
The Man Without a Face (1993)