Date of Birth: January 3rd 1956
A movie star and a controversial filmmaker, Mel Gibson got his start as an action hero in Mad Max (1979), a low-budget thriller which cast him as a grim, leather-clad ex-cop in a barren Australian future. After that film's bigger-budget sequel, The Road Warrior (1981), Gibson became an international star, and his turn as a goofy rogue cop in 1987's Lethal Weapon cemented his status as Hollywood's leading blue-eyed action hero. He made three more films in the Lethal Weapon series (1989, 1992 and 1998) and starred in other big-budget action flicks like Air America (1990, with Robert Downey, Jr.) and The Patriot (2000, with Heath Ledger). Gibson also showed a thoughtful side, taking the lead in Hamlet (1990) and directing and starring in the sentimental drama The Man Without a Face (1993). In 1995 Gibson directed, produced and starred as historical hero William Wallace in the swords-and-Scotsmen epic Braveheart, for which he took home Oscars for best director and best picture. His 2004 film about the last hours of Jesus, The Passion of the Christ (starring Jim Caviezel), was a surprise hit but stirred up controversy after critics accused it of anti-semitism. Gibson added fuel to such charges in July of 2006 when he went on an anti-Jewish tirade after being arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated. He publicly apologized for his behavior and was fined and sentenced to three years probation. The episode drew to its conclusion just prior to the release of Apocalypto, a film set in the ancient Mayan culture that Gibson wrote, produced and directed.
A devout Catholic, Gibson directed, co-wrote, co-produced and self-financed the $25 million The Passion of the Christ... Gibson was born in New York and raised in Australia... He and his wife, the former Robyn Moore, have seven children... The Road Warrior was followed by Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome in 1985... Gibson played another historical figure, mutineer Fletcher Christian, in The Bounty (1984); Christian also has been played on-screen by Marlon Brando (Mutiny on the Bounty, 1962) and Clark Gable (Mutiny on the Bounty, 1935).