Mel Gibson

Actor, Director, Writer

1/3/1956 (66 years old) Peekskill, New York, United States

A walking dichotomy, this controversial Hollywood megastar is the embodiment of prankster and preacher, hero and villain, success and failure, both on and off screen. Born in the U.S. but raised in Australia from age 12, the ruggedly handsome, blue-eyed actor hit it big (at least Down Under) in 1979, with a pair of antithetical films. He earned an Australian Film Institute Award as a mentally challenged laborer involved with an older woman in Tim, and proved himself an able action hero in Mad Max, which launched a successful franchise. But his international breakthrough came two years later, when he again showcased his range as a short-distance runner in the World War I-set Gallipoli (snagging him a second Australian Film Institute Award) and a return run as Mad Max in The Road Warrior. Hollywood pounced on the actor, and while his U.S. career got off to a rocky start with a number of flops, he became an icon playing a crazy cop in the 1987 smash Lethal Weapon, marking the beginning of a fruitful collaboration between Gibson and director Richard Donner. Over the years, the two worked together on a number of movies, including three more Lethal Weapon flicks. He worked steadily in the 1990s and even went behind the camera, winning an Oscar for best director for his second feature, the Scottish war saga Braveheart. Although the devout Catholic was well liked in Hollywood, charming his costars with his outrageous on-set pranks and donating millions to charity, he was never one to shy away from controversy. In 2004, Gibson wrote, produced, directed and independently financed The Passion of Christ, an extremely graphic depiction of Jesus Christ's suffering on the day of his crucifixion. Critics claimed that the film had an anti-Semitic slant---a claim the auteur disputed on various TV news shows---and regardless of the film's social politics, it was a box-office smash. After keeping a low profile for the next two years, Gibson's name was suddenly plastered all over the media again when he made anti-Semitic remarks while being arrested for drunken driving in July 2006. He quickly checked into rehab, but the incident took a huge toll on his professional and personal life. A month after his arrest, he separated from Robyn Moore, his wife of 28 years with whom he had seven children. She filed for divorce in April 2009 citing "irreconcilable differences." And in October 2009, Gibson welcomed another child with then-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva, but the pair called it quits several months later. In 2010, Gibson appeared on-screen again, in the revenge thriller film, Edge of Darkness. In 2016, he returned to the director's chair with Hacksaw Ridge.

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