Mel Gibson was born in upstate New York but moved to Australia with his family at age 12. After high school, Mel attended the Australian National Institute of Dramatic Arts, where he was trained in classical British theatre tradition and appeared in a number of plays, including Death of a Salesman and Waiting for Godot.

In 1979, Gibson caught the attention of director George Miller and was cast in Mad Max, the first film to bring him worldwide recognition. He then appeared in the title role of Tim, where Gibson’s portrayal of a handicapped young man earned him an Australian Film Institute (AFI) Best Actor Award. 

Gibson’s international fame grew with the two hit sequels to Mad Max The Road Warrior (1981) and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome — as well as with Peter Weir’s Gallipoli, which brought Gibson a second AFI Best Actor Award. In 1982, Weir and Gibson collaborated again on The Year of Living Dangerously.

In 1984, Gibson made his American film debut in The River, opposite Sissy Spacek. He followed this with The Bounty where he starred with Anthony Hopkins and Laurence Olivier. He appeared in other films such as Mrs. Soffel, Tequila Sunrise, Bird on a Wire, Air America, but it was the record breaking and genre defining, Lethal Weapon (1, 2, 3, and 4) franchise that would cement his status in Hollywood. Following this success, Gibson founded Icon Productions, whose first film was Hamlet, directed by Franco Zeffirelli. The titular role brought Gibson the William Shakespeare Award from the Folger Theatre in Washington, DC. Gibson made his directorial debut in 1993 in The Man without a Face, another Icon production in which he also starred. The company has produced Immortal Beloved and Airborne, among others.

In 1995, Gibson produced, directed and starred in the critical and box office success Braveheart, which was the recipient of five Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director, after receiving a leading 10 nominations. The movie also garnered Gibson a Golden Globe Award for Best Director, a Special Achievement in Filmmaking from the National Board of Review, the 1996 NATO/ShoWest Director of the Year and the Broadcast Film Critics Association award for Best Director.

In 1996, Gibson starred in Ransom, directed by Ron Howard for Disney’s Touchstone Pictures. He received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Motion Picture (Drama), as well as winning the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Motion Picture Actor. In August of 1997, Gibson starred in the romantic-thriller Conspiracy Theory, co-starring Julia Roberts and directed by Richard Donner for Warner Bros. Gibson starred in Lethal Weapon 4 which premiered in 1998, grossing close to $300 million worldwide and then in 1999, produced and starred in the hard-edge thriller Payback.

In 2000, Gibson became the first actor in history to star in three $100 million films (domestic gross) during the same year. In the summer, Gibson starred in the emotionally charged adventure The Patriot, a film written by Robert Rodat (Saving Private Ryan) and directed by Roland Emmerich; in the fall, Mel lent his voice to the critically acclaimed DreamWorks SKG animated adventure comedy Chicken Run; and lastly, he starred in the Paramount Pictures/Icon Productions smash hit What Women Want. For his role in the romantic comedy, directed by Nancy Meyers and co-starring Helen Hunt, he was nominated for a Golden Globe as “Best Actor, Motion Picture Comedy.” 

In 2002, Gibson starred in We Were Soldiers, a film based on the book We Were Soldiers Once…And Young, telling the story of the first battle between U.S. and Viet Cong troops, in which 400 soldiers were helicoptered in and surrounded by 2000 enemy troops. Later that year, he starred in M. Night Shyamalan’s thriller, Signs, for Disney, setting Gibson’s opening weekend box office record of $60 million and grossed an all-time individual record of over $400 million. 

In 2004, Gibson produced, co-wrote and directed The Passion of The Christ starring Jim Caviezel, Maia Morgenstern and Monica Bellucci. The Ash Wednesday release on February 25 had the best five-day opening ever, at that time, for a film with a Wednesday opening. The Passion of The Christ had a worldwide box-office gross of $610 million, making it the highest-grossing R-rated film and highest grossing independent film in film history. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards. 

In 2006, Gibson brought to life his latest epic, visceral action thriller, Apocalypto. Gibson produced, co-wrote and directed the thriller that follows one man’s heart-pounding race through primeval jungles to rescue his family. Apocalypto opened at number one in its opening weekend grossing $15.2 million and garnered three Academy Award nominations.

Gibson returned to acting in 2009 with GK Films’ Edge of Darkness, and The Beaver, directed by Jodie Foster. In 2012, Gibson produced, co-wrote and starred in Get the Gringo as well as starred in Open Roads Film Machete Kills and The Expendables 3. In August of 2016, he starred in Blood Father, directed by Jean-François Richet and co-starring William H. Macy.

Gibson’s latest directorial endeavor was Hacksaw Ridge, which premiered in November 2016 and stared Andrew Garfield as Desmond Doss, the conscientious objector who won the Medal of Honor for his actions in WWII. The movie won two Academy Awards for Best Film Editing and Best Sound Mixing and it was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Mel for Best Director.

Gibson was last seen in Dragged Across Concrete with Vince Vaughn in 2018. Up next, he will star in action thriller Boss Level. The film is set to release in August 2019. Other upcoming projects for Gibson include Waldo, Force of Nature, and Rothschild. It was also recently announced that Mel will direct the remake of the classic 1969 film The Wild Bunch.

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