Born: 1956 January 03
his rugged, rakish smile and 10,000 watt blue eyes, actor and filmmaker
Mel Gibson is one of the few performers who can truly be labeled a superstar.
Though generally considered an Australian because he has adopted the country's
native accent, Gibson was actually born and raised in Peekskill, New York.
At age 12 he moved with his family to Sydney, Australia because his father
wanted to protect the family's boys from being drafted to serve in Vietnam.
As a young man he attended Sydney's National Institute of Dramatic Art;
there he was so nervous in his first play that he was unable to stand and
had to play the role sitting down.
He debuted onscreen in Summer City (1977), after which he joined the South
Australia Theater Company, going on to appear in Shakespearean productions
and such plays as Waiting for Godot and Death of a Salesman. Shortly before
he auditioned for the film Mad Max (1979), he was in a street fight that
left his face badly bruised; fortunately, this gave him the edge over other
auditioners and director George Miller selected him for the lead. Although
the film was only moderately popular outside Australia (where it was the
nation's biggest commercial success ever), its sequel, The Road Warrior
(1981), was an international smash hit and made him a star. His star status
was further confirmed by his next film, the internationally successful
While going on to take serious roles, including the title role in a film
production of Hamlet (1990), he has sustained his career with action films,
such as three Lethal Weapon films (1987, 1989, and 1992) and the third
Mad Max movie (1985). He made his directorial debut in The Man Without
A Face (1993), in which he also starred, and served as director, producer,
and star of the acclaimed epic Braveheart (1995). He has won a number of
Australian acting awards, including the best actor and "sammy"
awards for his work in Tim (1979), and the best actor award for Gallipoli