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Mel Gibson - Biography

All you need to know about Lethal Weapon star Mel Gibson

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Early life

Although he was first introduced to international audiences as an all-new Aussie star, Mel Gibson was in fact born in Peekskill, New York, on January 3, 1956. He is the sixth of 11 children, and has five brothers and five sisters. The family relocated to Australia when he was 12 after his father, a railroad worker, won a large settlement for a job injury.

The move came, in part, because Gibson Sr. wanted to avoid having his sons drafted to fight in the Vietnam War. As Mel's paternal grandmother had been an Australian opera singer, the move down under was, in a way, a return to the old country.

After attending an all-boys Catholic school in Sydney, Mel won a place at the prestigious National Institute of Dramatic Art when one of his sisters, recognising his latent talent, sent in an application behind his back.

Early career

Mel Gibson and Danny Glover on the set of Lethal Weapon© Barry King

Mel landed his first movie lead, Mad Max, soon after graduation, despite the result of a bar-room brawl the night before the audition which left him looking like "a busted grapefruit". In fact, Mel's burnt-out, beat-up appearance was a plus it was exactly the look director George Miller was looking for for his post-apocalyptic road flick.

Other roles in film and theatre soon followed, and in 1979 Mel scooped the first of a pair of Australian Film Industry Awards as Best Actor, playing an intellectually disabled handyman in Tim. He got the second two years later for his lead as an Aussie soldier caught up in WWI in Peter Weir's Gallipoli.

Then came the worldwide success of Mad Max 2, and a romantic lead opposite Sigourney Weaver in The Year Of Living Dangerously, which clearly established Mel as an international star.

Later career

Mel Gibson at the premiere of Hacksaw Ridge© Paul Morigi

In addition to starring in action fare such as 1988's Tequila Sunrise, he has proved he's not just a pretty face in more demanding roles, memorably surprising the critics with his interpretation of Shakespeare's Hamlet in 1990. Mel is probably best known for his role opposite Danny Glover in the Lethal Weapon movies, but it would be for his work behind the camera that he garnered his highest acclaim a best director gong for 1995's Braveheart.

For Mel, who also produced the film, it was only his second time in the director's chair. The first being two years earlier for The Man Without A Face. Clad in a kilt, sporting blue war-paint and speaking with a Scottish lilt, he also starred in the epic, which focused on the life of Sir William Wallace, a 13th-century Scottish nobleman persecuted for his efforts to free Scotland from English rule. The film earned five Oscars, including Best Film.

In 2004 he released one of the most controversial film projects ever, The Passion Of The Christ, a portrayal of the last 12 hours of Jesus' life. Extremely violent, the film was equally praised and criticised, with many labelling the movie as anti-semitic. Mel co-wrote and directed the epic, filmed in a mixture of Aramaic, Hebrew and Latin with English subtitles, and, it being a labour of love for the deeply religious star, funded it with $25 million of his own money.

The box office takings of The Passion Of The Christ more than covered the investment, raking in $125.2m (£68.2m) - and breaking the record set by The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King - in its first five days.

The star continues to act with recent films including Confidential Informant, Bandit and The Expendables 3.

Personal life

Mel Gibson with Rosalind Ross at the Oscar's© Jeff Kravitz

In the midst of all his success during the 70s and 80s, he married dental nurse Robyn Moore, and, despite his potent sex-symbol persona, the two remained happily married for over 25 years. They have seven children the eldest, Hannah, was born in 1980, followed by twins Christian and Edward, Will, Louis, Milo, and the youngest addition to the clan, Thomas, who came into the world in 1999.

He separated from Robyn after 26 years of marriage. It wasn't until April 2009 that divorce papers were filed, however - one month after Mel was photographed on a beach with another woman, who was later found to be Russian musician Oksana Grigorieva.

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It was alleged that the couple had been an item for three years and in October 2009, they welcomed their first child - a daughter named Lucia. The relationship wasn't to last. Amidst claims of domestic violence and a volatile relationship, they announced that they had split in April 2010 when they both took out restraining orders against each other. Things went from bad to worse when a string of leaked telephone recordings, allegedly between Mel and Oksana, hit the internet, reportedly demonstrating the dad-of-nine using racist language and threatening the mother of his baby.

Mel has since moved on with former champion equestrian vaulter and writer Rosalind Ross. The couple welcomed son Lars in 2017, with the six-year-old being Mel's ninth child.


In 2006, Mel was arrested after being pulled over while driving under the influence of alcohol. Anti-semitic comments he made to Jewish police officer James Mee made headlines across the globe, and the under-fire actor issued public apologies for his "despicable" behaviour, adding that his comments had been "blurted out in a moment of insanity".

Incidents like this and the aforementioned alleged domestic abuse led to the actor being blacklisted from Hollywood for over a decade, a relationship that only began to thaw following the release of Hacksaw Ridge.

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