He’s also directed several critically acclaimed films – ones that’d surprise most to hear. When Gibson’s not acting or directing, he’s stirring up controversy and creating waves in entertainment. No one could ever accuse Gibson of having a dull life. Let’s jump right in and learn interesting facts about the legendary actor Mel Gibson. There is more to him than you can imagine.
Born but Not Exactly Bred in New York
Most people are surprised to hear that Mel Gibson is a permanent resident of Australia and that for much of his youth, Gibson stayed down under. However, the actor was actually born in the city of Peekskill, New York. Gibson remained in the USA until he was 12 years old, and in 1968, his family moved to Sydney, Australia.
Gibson launched his acting career in Sydney. However, the USA still can claim that he’s one of their own. Currently, Gibson’s nationality is quite a mixed bag: he’s a permanent resident of Australia but also has citizenship of Ireland (through his mother) and of the USA.
One of Eleven
While Mel Gibson is the most famous member of the Gibson clan, he’s not the no.1 child. In fact, he’s only number six. Overall, there are 11 Gibson children born to Hutton and Anne Gibson (neé Reilly). While the limelight has shone brightest on Mel – the 2nd Gibson son – not much is known about Mel’s siblings.
We know that Hutton and Anne Gibson had 10 of their own children and adopted their 11th child when they moved to Australia. However, Mel is not the only actor in the clan. His younger brother, Donal, has done voice-acting roles such as Captain John Smith in “Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World” and Captain Boomerang in “Justice League Unlimited.”
The Clark Gable of Orange Juice
If it hadn’t been for the intervention of one of Mel Gibson’s sisters, the actor might never have been the bright Hollywood star he’s become. While the Gibson bunch was living down under, Mel Gibson was working for an orange juice bottling company. Fortunately, his older sister applied for the National Institute of Dramatic Art in Sydney on behalf of the bottler.
Gibson was accepted, and thanks to his older sister’s help, he later joined the rank of Hollywood A-listers. During his stint at the orange juice bottling company, Matthew Burke describes Gibson as “the Clark Gable of Orange Juice.” That’s the perfect angle for a biopic.
At Home With Geoffrey Rush
It might blow fans' minds to hear that Mel Gibson and astute actor Geoffrey Rush once were housemates during their formative years. Back in 1979, the two were housemates along with two other friends. Rush and Gibson stayed together while headlining the Samuel Beckett production, “Waiting for Godot.”
The stage production was held at the Jane Street Theater in Sydney that year. You might be lucky to spot one of the classic play’s photos featuring Gibson as Estragon and Rush as Vladimir. Fortunately, Gibson and Rush had something better to do than “Wait for Godot” and have since both had stellar careers in showbiz.
Showbiz might seem to be a place full of sharks, but you might be surprised to hear that there are genuine tales of friendship. One example of showbiz friendship is that between the “Braveheart” actor Mel Gibson and “Iron Man” actor Robert Downey Jr. During his acceptance speech for his American Cinematheque Award in 2011, Downey Jr. opened up about how Gibson supported him during an extremely difficult patch.
When Hollywood wouldn’t offer him any acting roles, Gibson did. The two met co-starring in “Air America.” For three decades, the two have been true friends. Downey Jr. later supported his friend when he faced his own struggles with employment and came to Gibson’s defense when Hollywood had turned against him.
One of Mel Gibson’s legendary roles was starring as Martin Riggs in the action “Lethal Weapon” franchise. Gibson and his co-star, Danny Glover, will long be the faces of the classic action franchise. However, it boggles our minds to hear that during the shooting of “Lethal Weapon 2”, Mel Gibson enjoyed drinking a bit too much.
In fact, the film’s director, Richard Donner, explained that Gibson used to drink five half-gallons of beer for breakfast. Whoa! Now that’s a “Lethal” breakfast. We don’t know how it didn’t boggle the actor’s mind, but somehow, his performances as Riggs were on point. What's even more mind-boggling is that Gibson had quite the physique in the second film installment despite taking in so many carbs.
In recent years, we have seen all kinds of political terms emerge. Those describing political views that tend to slant right have been called right-wing, alt-right, and far-right. And then there’s Mel Gibson. In fact, Gibson might be a little “Mad Max” when it comes to voicing his opinions on everything from salvation to politics and generally controversial topics.
What we mean is that the “Mad Max” actor is not at all gun-shy when it comes to speaking his mind. Gibson does swing rather right on his views, earning him quite the reputation of being “ultra-conservative.” And labeling him as such is not in any conservative estimate – not by anyone’s count, probably not even Gibson himself.
A Mega Milestone
One of the films most associated with Mel Gibson is “Braveheart.” Back in the 1990s, historical epics were a hit and continued to be a hit for almost two decades. “Braveheart” was one of the first and was a mega hit back in its day. Gibson gave a riveting performance as William Wallace and is famous for delivering one of the film’s iconic lines — “Freedom!”
What most people don’t know is that “Braveheart” was not only one of Gibson’s best performances, but it was his success story and dream child in every way. Gibson directed, produced, and starred in “Braveheart”. The film raked in five Academy Awards and a Golden Globe. In fact, Gibson won the awards for Best Director at both award ceremonies. “Braveheart” was certainly a mega milestone.
While most of us know the A-lister as Mel Gibson, his full name is Mel Columcille Gerard Gibson. What’s interesting is that Mel’s name is not short for another name – that’s his full Christian name. And when we say Christian, that’s exactly the reason why Mel ended up with his name.
His mother, Anne Gibson (neé Reilly), was raised in Ireland, and she called the actor after the church, St. Mel's Cathedral, in her hometown, Longford. The religious connections do not end there. He was also given the second name Columcille after the Irish saint (Colmcille or Columba), who is important in Ireland. In fact, Colmcille, or Columba, is considered one of the 12 apostles of Ireland.
His First Roles
Some actors spend a lifetime working at their craft before they’re finally discovered. The A-lister, Mel Gibson, isn’t one of those. In fact, Gibson was still a student at the National Institute of Dramatic Art in Sydney when he landed his first roles. In 1976, Gibson landed roles on TV in the Australian series “The Sullivans” and “Cop Shop.”
Gibson soon made his debut performance in a movie production in the Australian thriller “Summer City” in 1977. However, the break Gibson needed came in 1979 when he got the role of Max Rockatansky in “Mad Max.” While many actors work for years before getting a breakthrough, things came a bit more easily for Gibson during his time in Australia.
While Mel Gibson is the most known Gibson at the moment, the “Lethal Weapon” actor comes from a lineage of successful individuals. Gibson’s paternal grandmother was an Australian contralto opera singer, Eve Mylott. The man Mylott married also had his fair share of success.
John Hutton Gibson was a successful American businessman who made his fortune from tobacco production in the American South. When it comes to Mel Gibson, it seems that the apple didn’t fall too far from the paternal tree. We would just have to wait and see if the same occurs with one of the actor’s children.
Quite the Smarty Pants
Mel Gibson might have made a name for himself in Hollywood, but his father, the writer Hutton Gibson, was quite the quiz-show contestant. In 1968, Hutton appeared on the show “Jeopardy!” five times. Due to the show’s rules, Gibson had to leave the show after his fifth appearance, even though he was undefeated.
That year, he was recalled on “Jeopardy!” for the tournament of champions round, where Gibson senior was crowned the grand champion, walking home with just over $1000 and a trip for two to the West Indies. Overall, Hutton won $21,000 on “Jeopardy!” but that was not the last of him. In Australia, he appeared on the quiz shows “Big Nine” and “Ford Superquiz.” Gibson won a vehicle and $100,000 after appearing on a quiz show.
A Romantic Melodrama
Back in 1979, Mel Gibson was one of the stars of the stage production of Samuel Beckett’s iconic play, “Waiting for Godot.” Gibson, at the time, was an upcoming star, but he was completely taken by the dental nurse, Robyn Moore. In 1980, the two married and had a whole roost of kids. After 26 years of marriage, the pair called it quits and separated.
Interestingly, when Gibson originally met Moore while working for the South Australian Theatre Company, he saw Moore and declared, “One day, I’m gonna divorce that girl.” Sadly, Gibson was on point with his predictions. Following their separation, the couple divorced in 2011. More on their relationship will follow in a bit.
A Big Raise
Mel Gibson’s debut role earned him $400. Next, the actor’s big break came. He was cast as Max Rockatansky, a.k.a. Mad Max, in the film “Mad Max”. Clearly, Gibson was a mad enough Max as the movie raked in $100 million, which was impressive for a film that had a budget of a measly $350,000. Not too shabby.
Gibson’s salary for the first installment was $15,000. However, he got a big raise for his role in the sequel, “Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior”. Just two years later, in 1981, Gibson earned $1,000,000 for reviving his role as Max Rockatansky. That was some raise. Gibson was only 25 years old when he had his first million-dollar role.
No Star on the Walk of Fame
What do Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Clint Eastwood, and Mel Gibson all have in common? No stars! That’s right. Though these actors are big names, they’ve yet to receive a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. In the case of Gibson, it’s pretty curious. Gibson became a superstar at the age of 23 in 1979 and has spent several decades in the industry.
And he’s still going strong. In 2022, he starred in “Father Stu” and “On the Line”. He has over 70 acting and seven directing credits in his repertoire and has won several awards, including the Blockbuster Best Actor Award for his role in “The Patriot” in 2001. Still no star! And sadly, considering the actor’s sketchy history, we’re not sure he’ll be getting one anytime soon.
“The Passion of the Christ” director Mel Gibson is pretty outspoken about his religious views. If directing “The Passion of the Christ” didn’t give it away, then maybe Gibson’s views on salvation and religion made it crystal clear that Gibson’s quite a staunch Catholic. Gibson’s Catholic views are not a recent phenomenon.
His parents married at the Catholic Parish, Our Lady of Good Counsel, in Brooklyn, New York. Gibson was, raised Catholic, and for high school, he attended the Congregation of Christian Brothers at St Leo’s Catholic College in Wahroonga in northern Sydney. Considering his Catholic upbringing and education, it isn’t all that surprising that Gibson went on to direct “The Passion of the Christ.”
Star at 23
Though Mel Gibson was born in 1956 and is a relatively young classic Hollywood figure, he has been an A-lister for longer than most of us can remember. In fact, most of us can’t think of a time when we didn’t know Gibson as an A-lister. He’s had plenty of standout roles like in “Braveheart,” “The Patriot,” “Ransom,” and “What Women Want.”
However, the reason Gibson has been a famous figure for so long is that the actor found fame at an exceptionally young age. “Mad Max” put Gibson on the map. Yet, Gibson was only 23 years old when the film was released and became a worldwide hit. The most incredible thing was that “Mad Max” was the 23-year-old’s second role.
Break in Hollywood
For as long as most people can remember, Mel Gibson has been a steady figure in the Hollywood circuit. What is interesting is that it was Gibson’s stint in Australian productions like “Mad Max” that drew the action actor's early attention. Yet, only in 1984 – a year before the final “Mad Max” film (of the original trilogy) – Gibson starred in his first Hollywood production, “The River.”
Gibson had already had seven years in entertainment and had had some big roles, including “The Year of Living Dangerously” co-starring Sigourney Weaver and “The Bounty” co-starring Anthony Hopkins. None of these were American productions. It’s hard to think of a time when Gibson was not a Hollywood name, but for seven years, Gibson was not a citizen of Tinsel Town.
According to the website Christian Today, Mel Gibson is the most powerful Christian in Hollywood. We’re not quite sure what the Vatican thinks about that because though Gibson is Catholic, he doesn’t exactly see eye to eye with the Vatican. “The Passion of the Christ” director was raised by his parents, who were upholders of Sedevacantism. In fact, his father became outspoken on this topic and championed Sedevacantism in his writings.
Sedevacantism is a form of traditional Catholicism that doesn’t consider the current Pope – and prior Popes – as valid. According to Sedevacantism, the current Pope shouldn’t be the head of the Catholic Church as he and former Popes have committed several heresies. Though Mel Gibson might be a powerful Christian, we’re pretty sure the Pope isn’t his biggest fan.
An Almost Hangover
For those of you who love “The Hangover” franchise, you’d be surprised to know that Mel Gibson was supposed to have a cameo in the sequel, “The Hangover 2.” Though director Todd Philipps was behind having Gibson play a small role in the film, he had to cut him from the cast. Philips explains that the crew and cast members weren’t exactly thrilled about having Gibson involved in the project.
Back in 2010, Gibson had become a bit of a black sheep in Tinsel Town, so now we know why we didn’t see his face in the sequel. Considering his problems with drinking that came to light in 2006, it might’ve been wise not to have Gibson star in “The Hangover 2.”
A Former Critic Boy
During his early roles on the silver screen, Mel Gibson was quite a hit with the critics. When it came to the critics, Gibson seemingly could do no wrong. According to the website of legendary film critic Roger Ebert, from 1985 to 2005, a movie directed by Gibson or starring the actor seldom received less than two stars.
Yet, from 2010 onwards, a movie featuring or directed by Gibson rarely received a four-star rating. Gibson’s latest films “Agent Game” and “Father Stu” both got poor ratings (one and a half stars) on Roger Ebert. The same is the case on Rotten Tomatoes. Whether it is for his directing or acting, Gibson has struggled to receive a positive review from a critic. Interestingly, audience reviews tend to be more lenient.
A Jack of All Trades
You wouldn’t be wrong for thinking of Mel Gibson as an action hero. After all, some of his most iconic roles were in action films, such as Martin Riggs in the “Lethal Weapon” franchise and Max Rockatansky in the “Mad Max” trilogy. However, Gibson has gone out of his way to turn down roles to avoid being “typecast” as an action hero. For example, he turned down starring in James Cameron’s “The Terminator” in 1984.
Instead, Gibson joined dramas like “The River,” Shakespearean plays like “Hamlet,” and romantic films like “The Year of Living Dangerously” and “What Women Want” to show off his acting range. While Gibson will always be known for his stunning performances in action films, the actor is the closest thing to a silver-screen jack-of-all-trades.
A Private Chapel
If anyone knows anything about Mel Gibson other than that he is an actor, they’ll probably know that he is a staunch Catholic. An obvious giveaway is that Gibson daringly directed the Biblical film “The Passion of the Christ.” Most people don’t know that the director owns a private chapel, where he attends mass every day.
In 2003, Gibson commissioned the construction of his own church in Malibu, California. Located 30 miles from downtown LA is Gibson’s very own chapel, The Church of the Holy Family. Though The Church of the Holy Family is not affiliated with the Roman Catholic archdiocese, its daily masses are read in Latin.
A Mentor to Heath
For those who love historical epics, you might remember that Mel Gibson and the late and beloved Heath Ledger starred in “The Patriot.” On the film’s set, Gibson took Ledger under his wing and “acted” as a mentor to him. In fact, the late actor went out of his way to learn as much as he could from his co-star.
A valuable lesson Ledger learned from Gibson was to relax as much as he could on sets. Gibson also taught Ledger not to overthink or overprepare. The two were close for a long time after the film but experienced a fallout after Ledger starred in “Brokeback Mountain.” Following Ledger’s passing, Gibson expressed much regret for not reaching out to his former co-star.
How I Met Robyn
While the popular TV series, “How I Met Your Mother,” details an elaborate story of how Ted Mosby eventually meets his true love and the mother of his children, actor Mel Gibson’s finding true love was pretty straightforward. While he was a struggling actor in Sydney, he met Robyn Moore, who was a dental nurse.
After filming “Mad Max,” the two met through a dating service and soon became an item. On June 7, 1980, the couple were married. And though their love continued strong for three decades, Moore and Gibson separated in 2006. Their divorce was finalized on December 23, 2011. Christmas 2011 must have been hard on the Gibson clan.
Big Family Blues
A-lister Mel Gibson has stirred up so much controversy in his career that it overshadows some other incredible facts about the actor. One major fact that the public doesn’t know about Gibson is that he has nine children. The eldest is actress Hannah, followed by her twin brothers, Edward and Christian. Next are the younger siblings, William, Louis, and Milo.
Both Milo and Louis have followed in their father’s footsteps and had some acting roles. Thomas is Robyn Moore and Gibson’s youngest son. After Moore and Gibson separated, Gibson was not quite done with having kids. He and his ex-girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva, welcomed Lucia into the world in 2009. Still, Gibson’s not done. He and his current partner, Rosalind Ross, had Lars in 2017.
Australia’s First Big Earner
Back in the 1970s, Australian cinema and film went through what is described as a boom. Though Australian cinema had plenty of big films and names to boast about, Mel Gibson played a part in drawing much attention and prosperity to Australian cinema.
The “Mad Max” franchise became not only an Australian blockbuster but was well-received by critics. Of course, Gibson, portraying the central character, Max Rockatansky, played a huge part in this. No wonder he became Australia’s first biggest earner. In the sequel “Mad Max 2”, he earned $1 million for his role, being the first Australian to earn $1 million for a movie role.
A Clever Compromise
Most of us know that Mel Gibson has made a pretty decent director. Some of his masterpieces include the Mesoamerican thriller/action, “Apocalypto,” the biographical war drama “Hacksaw Ridge,” and the controversial “The Passion of the Christ.” However, back in 1995, Gibson was still making a name for himself as a director.
He was offered the opportunity to portray William Wallace in the historical epic, “Braveheart.” Gibson wasn’t too keen on the role and almost turned it down. Yet, he asked if he could direct the movie. The producers agreed. If it wasn’t for Gibson’s clever compromise, “Braveheart” wouldn’t be the same.
It hasn’t always been sunshine and roses for A-lister Mel Gibson. One of the hardest challenges the actor had to overcome was smoking. Gibson picked up the terrible habit at the really young age of nine. In 2004, his then-wife, Robyn Moore, insisted that Gibson quit, but she had to settle for Gibson cutting down to three a day.
Quitting was a long time coming. Though the actor managed to quit for several months on end, he always found himself giving into his cravings and having one or two. However, eventually, the actor managed to kick the habit. In 2010, he confessed that he had finally managed to shake smoking. He also admits that it was the hardest thing for him to overcome.
Only die-hard Gibson fans will know some of the actor’s lesser-known films. Take, for instance, “The Beaver,” a film directed by Jodie Foster and starred by Gibson. After meeting on the set of “The Beaver,” Gibson and Foster fostered a friendship. More than a decade later, Foster still considers Gibson a friend and has said as much despite the heavy criticism the actor has faced.
Foster explains that though Gibson was going through a rough time in his personal life, she saw him as a real person – and someone who was definitely not fake. We see where Foster is coming from. Showbiz is full of fakies. It is better to foster true friendship when the opportunity comes.
We Couldn’t Get Enough of Him
The best way to sum up showbiz’s relationship with Mel Gibson is a love-hate relationship. Once upon a time, the entertainment world couldn’t get enough of him. In fact, when Gibson was 29, in February 1985, “People” magazine named the “Lethal Weapon” star the sexiest man alive. Five years later, “People” ranked Gibson as one of the most beautiful people alive.
He was also voted the 48th greatest movie star by Entertainment Weekly. Following some of his outspoken comments on religion and various charges, the once golden boy of Hollywood fell from grace. Once, the world couldn’t get enough of him, but now, he regularly receives sharp criticism.
Who’d have known that there was a list dedicated to the 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time? We’re guessing that one person who knows about this list is Mel Gibson. The actor probably knows about this list because he’s on it. Ranked no. 78 is Max Rockatansky.
Though Max embodies the stoic and silent type, he’s a firm favorite with viewers because, at the end of the day, he’s on a mission – and a very difficult mission at that – to do good. There is no greater compliment to Gibson’s acting prowess than to have a character he brought to life on this list.
A Game of Chess
“I will meet your restraining order with… a restraining order”. After his separation from his long-time wife, Robyn Moore, Mel Gibson started dating the Russian pianist and songwriter Oksana Grigorieva. While the two individuals are undeniably talented, coupled up, they have a talent for melodrama. To say that they had a tumultuous relationship would be an understatement.
Six months after the couple broke up, Grigorieva filed a restraining order against Gibson. The “Braveheart” actor checked Grigorieva’s move and filed his own restraining order against the pianist. Things must be pretty interesting as the two have a child, Lucia, together. As her parents have restraining orders against one another, we wonder how Lucia will manage Christmas and holiday times.
One A-lister who knows fully well how expensive celebrity divorces can get is “Signs” actor Mel Gibson. After three decades of marriage, in 2011, Gibson and Robyn Moore divorced. The divorce settlement burned a big hole in Gibson’s pocket. When it was finalized, Gibson had to pay Moore a whopping $425 million – roughly about $546 million adjusted for inflation.
At the time, Gibson was worth about $850 million, so according to the law, Moore was entitled to half of it. That’s a whopping amount, and Gibson certainly felt the pinch as the actor had to sell a property in Connecticut to settle the amount with Moore. It has gone down as the biggest divorce settlement in Hollywood history.
School With Judy Davis
If you’re a fan of Aussie productions, then you’d probably know the name Judy Davis. To date, the actress has received the most AACTA (Australian Academy of Cinema and Television) awards. While she received a couple of nods at the BAFTAs and Academy Awards, Davis is quite a big, big deal in Australia.
Interestingly, A-listers Mel Gibson and Davis go way back. In the late 1970s, Gibson and Davis were both students at the National Institute of Dramatic Art in Sydney. She and Gibson headlined a “Romeo & Juliette” production in 1977. With the amount of talent between the pair, that 1977 production must have been a tour de force.
The Australian New Wave
Following World War 2, Australian cinema went into decline, but from the 1970s to 1980s, it experienced a revival. Some notable figures like Nicole Kidman, Sam Neill, Paul Hogan, and director Peter Weir gave this new wave much momentum. Among them was Mel Gibson. Though Gibson’s very much settled in Hollywood, he once contributed to the new wave or “renaissance” of Australian cinema.
Typical of this era was Ozploitation. That might be a mouthful to say, but Ozploitation was a film genre that tended to be low-budget horrors and actions with a distinct flair for showing Australian culture. Of course, the dystopian film “Mad Max,” with its budget of roughly A$350,000, was quintessential Ozploitation.
Father-in-law to Kenny Wayne Shepherd
If you’re a Blues fan, then you’ve probably heard the name Kenny Wayne Shepherd. This Louisiana-born guitarist has made waves in the world of blues. In 2006, he married Mel Gibson’s eldest child, Hannah. It must have been daunting for Shepherd to approach the “Braveheart” actor for his daughter’s hand in marriage, but the blues musician did what he needed to do.
He and Hannah have been married since and have welcomed six children into the world. We have to say Christmas times must be epic. In fact, there’s little chance of having festive blues unless you’re speaking about the genre of music.
“The Passion of the Christ”
Most people know that Mel Gibson is the creative director behind the Christian film “The Passion of the Christ.” When the film was released in 2004, it drew much criticism and caused a storm of controversy. What most people don’t know is how long Gibson worked on the film. Back in 1992, he started doing research for this project.
That means Gibson spent an incredible 12 years working on the film. Gibson not only put a lot of time into the project but also a huge sum of money. All in all, Gibson poured $25 million into “The Passion of the Christ.” While you criticize aspects of the film and Gibson’s beliefs, you can’t criticize his “passion” for the project.
A Weir-d Relationship
Everyone knows that directors have their favorites. Christopher Nolan always has a spot for the Irish wonder actor, Cillian Murphy, in films, while Scorsese couldn’t get enough of Leonardo DiCaprio and, before that, Robert DeNiro. Mel Gibson was once the muse of Australian film director Peter Weir, back during their days in Oz.
In 1981, Weir cast him in his war drama “Gallipoli”; a year later, the Australian director cast Gibson again in his romantic drama “The Year of Living Dangerously.” During the early 80s, it seemed like these two were inseparable. Gibson certainly had a “Weir-d” relationship with the experimental Australian director.
What do Warren Beatty, Richard Attenborough, Clint Eastwood, Robert Redford, Clint Eastwood, and Mel Gibson all have in common? Apart from being superb actors, they’re also superb directors. In fact, they’re such superb directors that they’ve all walked home with an Academy Award for Best Director.
The interesting part is that their main claim to fame is acting. Though Mel Gibson has long been considered an astute actor in Hollywood, he’s been more successful with his directing career, including winning Oscars in 1995 for Best Director and Best Picture for “Braveheart”. In 2016, he also received an Oscar nomination for Best Director for “Hacksaw Ridge.”
2004 Was a Good Year
If there is any year that A-lister Mel Gibson must look back fondly on, it must be 2004. In fact, this year certainly put the ‘a’ in A-lister for Gibson. That year, Forbes named him the no.1 celebrity. And for good reason. He was the highest-paid celebrity of the year, beating even the mega-prosperous Oprah Winfrey, who came second.
J.K. Rowling was in third place, Tiger Woods and Michael Schumacher both tied in fourth place, and Steven Spielberg was in fifth place. One of the major contributions to Gibson’s earnings that year was his creation, “The Passion of the Christ” from which he made $210,000,000.
Back Home Down Under
Mel Gibson’s nationality could be described as having one foot firmly in the USA and another foot somewhat in Australia. Back in the late 1960s, Gibson’s father, Hutton, relocated the family to Australia. Hutton Gibson’s decision to relocate was primarily motivated by economic difficulties facing the family and because he was worried his eldest son would be called up for military service in the Vietnam War.
Though Gibson senior hailed from New York, USA, the Gibsons in Australia go back several generations. Now, we understand Hutton Gibson’s affinity with the land down under. That said, the Gibsons’ ancestors originally came from Ireland, Scotland, and England and can be traced back to John Gibson from 1601.
You’ve probably seen Icon Productions' logo composed of a cropped-out eye of Mary (Jesus’ mother). Given its religious imagery, you’d not be wrong to think that a religious person is the founder of Icon Productions. That’s right, Mel Gibson is one of the founders of this production house. Back in 1989, he and Australian producer Bruce Davey established Icon.
Interestingly, Gibson was trying to finance a movie project for “Hamlet” but was struggling to do so, so he decided to create his own production house. Since its establishment, Icon Productions has amounted to quite the collection, including “Hamlet” (1990), “Maverick” (1994), “Braveheart,” “The Passion of the Christ,” “Seraphim Falls,” “The Neon Demon,” and “Hacksaw Ridge.”
A Three Stooges Fanboy
What do Mel Gibson and his “Lethal Weapon” persona, Martin Riggs, have in common? They’re both big-time fanboys of the comedy trio “The Three Stooges.” In “Lethal Weapon,” we see Riggs and his dog watching “The Three Stooges.” Like his onscreen persona, Gibson is also a fan of the comedy trio.
It may have been his love for the classic comedy act that inspired his Riggs’ love. And when we say that Gibson is a big-time fanboy of the comedy trio, we weren’t kidding. The actor produced the TV movie “The Three Stooges” in 2000, which served as a biographical piece on the classic comedy act.
As the owner of his own production house, when it comes to directing, Mel Gibson has a lot of creative freedom. That said, even Gibson has limits to his creative direction. As the main voice behind “The Passion of the Christ,” the film was shot completely in Latin, Hebrew, and Aramaic.
While we’re wondering where Gibson found Aramaic actors (or even speakers), this clearly wasn’t a problem for Gibson. Interestingly, the “Passion of the Christ” director originally didn’t plan to use subtitles. This would have left a lot of people scratching their heads, as there are very few of us who are fluent in Hebrew, Latin, and Aramaic. After some pressure, Gibson eventually included subtitles for the film’s theatrical release.
A Hot Potato Too Hot for Hollywood
Mel Gibson probably doesn’t look back on 2010 without some pangs of regret. It wasn’t a good year for the actor. On July 10 that year, some audio recordings were leaked on the internet, and the content put the actor in a bad light. That very day, Gibson’s agency, William Morris Endeavor, dropped him.
Things got even worse for the “Braveheart” actor. He went from being one of the most beloved Hollywood figures to one of the most shamed. There was a call for a boycott of all his films. While some friends have come to his defense, Gibson hasn’t totally recovered from the day those audio recordings were shared.
A Break Down Under
In his acting career, Mel Gibson has taken several breaks. We don’t blame him. If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen. What’s curious is that Gibson’s idea of getting away from the heat involved even more heat – to be more specific, Australia’s Outback.
After Gibson’s first four roles in cinema, the actor took a break and decided to work at an Australian cattle station. Apparently, the logic behind Gibson’s decision was that it was easier to work with cows than actors. We have to say, we kind of see where he was coming from. However, we’d probably look for a place with fewer cows.
One of Mel Gibson’s strange quirks is that he is a fan of comedy – and it’s not the witty, intellectual kind. In fact, it ranks even lower than slapstick comedy – it’s toilet humor. And the last place you’d think you’d find toilet humor is on a set of a movie based on a Shakespearean play.
That would be the case unless Gibson is the creative visionary of the film. And in the case of “Hamlet” (1990), he was. One of the rather surprising ways Gibson tried to lighten the mood after shooting a serious scene was to moon the cast and crew. While we’re sure it certainly lightened the mood, we’re guessing this kind of toilet humor wouldn’t be all that appropriate in Hollywood nowadays.
Turns Down Two-Face for Face Paint
One of the most iconic looks the actor Mel Gibson has given us is from the historical epic, “Braveheart.” Thanks to Gibson’s memorable appearance, we’ll forever associate William Wallace with long brown braids, a rugged brown kilt, and blue-white warrior face paint. Though, we can’t really vouch for the historical accuracy of Wallace’s look.
While working on “Braveheart”, Gibson was offered the role of Harvey Dent/Two-Face in Joel Schumacher’s “Batman Forever”. The role eventually went to Tommy Lee Jones. What’s interesting is that Gibson almost traded in his warrior face paint for the two faces of Harvey Dent. However, that does beg the question, would a Two-Face Gibson be more memorable than a William Wallace Gibson?
Taking It Out on the Cops
The “Ransom” actor Mel Gibson must have experienced his world-turning-upside-down day on July 28, 2006. Gibson was arrested for driving (or, to be perfectly honest, speeding) while under the influence in Los Angeles. If it weren’t at all obvious that Gibson was driving under the influence, he had some alcohol with him in the car in an open container.
Gibson broke down and explained to the arresting officer that his then-wife, Robyn Moore, was leaving him. The arresting officer wouldn’t let Gibson drive home (naturally), but the “Lethal Weapon” actor wasn’t having that. His breakdown then became a prejudiced outburst, accusing one ethnic group of causing all the world’s problems.
Order of Australia
One of the interesting behaviors of the United Kingdom is to hand out medals of honor and titles to actors, actresses, and sports figures. This tradition may raise a lot of eyebrows, but the Brits are not the only ones to do so. In fact, this tradition has been inherited by many Commonwealth nations, including Jamaica and Australia.
Mel Gibson is one such actor belonging to the Australian order. Following his success with “Braveheart,” on July 25, 1997, Gibson received a medal of honor and was named honorary Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) – Australia’s highest honor – for his contributions to “the Australian film industry.”
An Injury Casts a Shadow
Though Mel Gibson’s father is most well-known for his profession as a writer, Hutton Gibson worked for a short stint for the New York Central Railroad. However, an injury put an end to Gibson’s work for the railroads. On December 11, 1964, Hutton Gibson slipped off a steel platform and injured his back. Apparently, an accident was waiting to happen as the steel platform was covered in oil and snow.
It took just over three years for a verdict to be reached in a work injury lawsuit, but in the end, Gibson won and was paid $145,000 in worker’s compensation. After paying his legal fees that year, in 1968, Gibson immigrated with his family and his compensation package. First, they traveled to Ireland, but they eventually settled in Australia.
A “Sign” for a Change
We’re not sure exactly how it worked, but after starring in M. Night Shyamalan’s Sci-Fi film “Signs,” actor Mel Gibson took it as a sign only to take on roles that were extraordinary. As if starring in the enigmatic Sci-Fi “Signs” as a former reverend was not extraordinary enough. As the saying goes, one man’s rubbish is another’s treasure.
That kind of logic certainly applied to Mel Gibson’s “extraordinary” roles. While roles in “Edge of Darkness” and “Machete Kills” may have been treasures for the actor, they failed to move audiences. The films simply aren’t household names. Perhaps more “ordinary” roles, such as William Wallace and Max Rockatansky, will do just fine.
A Truly Experimental Role
Gibson is so much a fan of Shakespeare that he established the production company Icon Productions to shoot “Hamlet.” Back in the 1970s, he starred as Romeo in a production of “Romeo & Juliet.” Gibson added another Shakespearean role to his repertoire, namely “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
However, this was “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” with a twist as Gibson played the role of Queen Titania. This must have been an interesting role for the actor as Titania falls in love with the artisan, Bottom, who has magically been given the head of a donkey. Admittedly, starring in the Dystopian franchise “Mad Max” must have been a piece of cake after this Shakespeare adaption.
It seems like all A-listers want an exotic island to get away from it all. Apparently, there are some serious downsides to being super famous that actors want to move away to some remote island. Mel Gibson is no exception. In December 2004, he traveled to Fiji, where he bought over 2000 hectares of Mago island from a hotel chain.
In March 2005, the transaction was completed, and Mago Island, from there on, has been owned by Gibson. The actor transformed the island into his personal retreat. Considering that the Mago island has white beaches, two beautiful lagoons, and crystalline waters, we can’t say that we blame Gibson. It is a stunning destination.
Even super-successful celebrities have their struggles. Mel Gibson may have become a household name from his onscreen presence, but soon, every household became aware of his struggles. In 2006, Gibson was arrested for driving under the influence. However, this wasn’t the actor’s first transgression of that kind. In fact, in 1984, a similar incident occurred where Gibson rear-ended an automobile.
Though Gibson’s struggles with the bottle only came to light in 2006 following his arrest and divorce from Robyn Moore, it has plagued the actor for much longer than that. Gibson admitted that he started drinking when he was 13. After joining a 12-step program, we’re glad to report that the actor has celebrated over a decade of sobriety.
When we say “pilot roles,” we’re not speaking about the introductory episodes of a series; we’re talking about portraying actual pilots. One quirk about actor Mel Gibson is that he has portrayed a pilot in four different films: “Bird on a Wire” (1990), “Air America” (1992), “Forever Young” (1992), and “Ransom” (1996).
Fiction meets reality when it comes to aviation. Gibson is the holder of a pilot license, and throughout his career, he has owned different aircraft. He also has an avid love and passion for aircraft and aviation. Perhaps Gibson’s love for aviation landed the actor these four pilot roles.
A Bit of Nepotism
Plenty of celebrities have learned the hard way that nepotism doesn’t do anyone any favors. That said, Mel Gibson may have gotten away with an itsy-bitsy amount of nepotism in his showbiz career. During the production of the historical war film “The Patriot,” Gibson’s eldest child, Hannah, was given a job doing the makeup.
Honestly, no criticism can be made about Hannah’s make-up efforts – Gibson’s daughter seemed to do a fair job. However, this was a one-time thing, and we have to say that perhaps nepotism in very small doses is not completely terrible. Let’s just hope Francis Ford Coppola took a note from Gibson’s book.
A Sucker for Spoofing
Even before Mel Gibson became the pariah figure of Hollywood, he was the target of spoofing. Back in the late 1990s, both “South Park” and “Family Guy” made the A-lister the butt of their jokes. And it only got worse. In 2004, after “The Passion of the Christ,” “South Park” didn’t hold back. And they made no bones about their blatant spoofing of Gibson. In “The Passion of the Jew” – obviously a stab at Gibson – “South Park” parodied Gibson’s film.
In an episode titled “North by North Quahog” in “Family Guy,” it was clear that the world of comedy enjoyed spoofing Gibson. Apparently, Gibson was offered the role of spoofing himself on “Family Guy” but turned it down. He now regrets this decision as he admits the episode was hilarious.
From the 1980s to the late 1990s, Mel Gibson was clearly at his peak. Hollywood couldn’t offer the actor enough roles. And not only couldn’t audiences get enough of the actor, but so couldn’t magazines, specifically one magazine, GQ. GQ has had plenty of stars in its publishing history, and one of them is Gibson.
All in all, the actor appeared on four covers: June 1983, February 1987, May 1995 without pants (but a kilt reviving his role as William Wallace), and November 1996. While Gibson probably won’t get to revive his time on GQ covers, he’s certainly had his share of appearances on the front covers of magazines.
A Prankster With a Big Red Nose
Considering that one of Mel Gibson’s comedic loves and influences is the comedy trio “The Three Stooges,” you can’t be surprised that the actor has a pretty slapstick side to him. And we’re not kidding when we say that he has a slapstick side. Cast and crew who have worked with him on sets have seen this side of Gibson – and sometimes, it can involve a big red nose.
The actor aims to keep things light on sets, so every now and then, actors have to don a big red clown nose. Now, it might be hard to keep a straight face around Gibson’s film sets, but you should definitely keep your eyes peeled because the actor has a tendency to enjoy pranking cast and crew.
Bonham Scoffs at Gibson’s Humor
Helena Bonham Carter may be a British actress, but she’s long been a part of the American acting scene and even once rubbed elbows with Mel Gibson. Not that the British actress appreciated the exchange all that much. Bonham starred as Ophelia and Gibson as Hamlet in the 1990 production of “Hamlet.” Unfortunately, Gibson had a tendency to moon cast and crew members.
We can’t exactly see Bonham, a Commander of the British Empire and a member of the British aristocracy, being impressed by this kind of behavior. In fact, the actress expressed as much, stating Gibson’s sense of humor was rather basic. She also described it most candidly as “a bit lavatorial” and “not very sophisticated.” We wish we could describe toilet humor in such a refined manner as Bonham.
While most actors know from a young age that they would like to hit the silver screen, Mel Gibson wasn’t immediately set on becoming an actor. However, that all changed after Gibson encountered the Western series, “Maverick.” For many of us, this classic series was before our time. It was a light-hearted Western series that had a total of 124 episodes over 5 seasons.
One of the stars was the classic actor James Garner. In fact, it was Garner’s role as the daring poker player Bret Maverick that inspired Gibson to go into acting. When director Richard Donner cast Gibson as Bret Maverick in the 1994 remake “Maverick,” it must have felt like Gibson’s dreams had come true.
You know you’re really something special when you’re invited to a university’s graduation or commencement speech. While many celebrities are followed by millions, it takes something more than simply being a celebrity to give a speech at a university. In 2010, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos was invited to Princeton to give a commencement speech. Five years before that, Steve Jobs was invited to Stanford to deliver his commencement speech.
In 2016, Gibson joined their ranks and gave his commencement speech at Liberty University – the US’s biggest evangelical college. Naturally, Liberty University isn’t as prestigious as Princeton or Stanford, but Gibson has shown that he’s more than just a Hollywood actor. He’s also an inspiration to many.
A True Calling
Sometimes, we just have to wonder whether it was really destiny that played a part in Mel Gibson becoming an incredibly successful actor. If you look at Gibson’s history, he was an almost overnight success after starring in the first “Mad Max” film. One thing convincing us that Gibson was really destined for showbiz happened at birth. The doctor who delivered Gibson is believed to be Charles Sweet.
While Charles Sweet is an unknown figure, you might know his grandson, Jay Ruzicka – a director and producer from Peekskill, New York. Ruzicka may not have had the stellar career Gibson had, but it does make us wonder whether Gibson’s calling for a career on the silver screen happened at birth.
Whenever an A-list couple divorces these days, it’s almost always for the same reason – the dreaded Irreconcilable Differences. When Mel Gibson’s three-decade marriage came to an end, the reasons cited for the divorce were “irreconcilable differences.” While we don’t exactly want to wake any sleeping dogs, we’re guessing there’s a little bit more behind the matter.
In 2011, Gibson and his then-long-time spouse, Robyn Moore, were officially divorced. Yet even before the divorce was finalized, Gibson was photographed with the Russian pianist, Oksana Grigorieva, on a beach in 2009. We’re sure that there was plenty behind the stated “irreconcilable differences" if you scratched the surface.
His First Appearance After His Arrest
If you’re somewhat familiar with Mel Gibson’s history, then you’d probably know that things started going seriously wrong for the actor back in 2006. Of course, the cracks probably started showing before, but following Gibson’s arrest in California for driving under the influence, things were pretty bad in July 2006 for the actor.
For a while, Gibson took a break from the public eye, and for several months, the actor was not seen. Yet later in November, Gibson reappeared in the public eye. After winning the Visionary Award from the Latin Business Association, Gibson got up the courage to attend the Latino Global Business Conference and Digital Expo in Beverly Hills to receive his award.
There is always that one film that tends to divide film viewers. Director Mel Gibson’s “Apocalypto” can be said to divide viewers on a whole range of topics. Some directors and fans loved it. They thought that Gibson showed great attention to detail while still delivering a grand story. It’s particularly appreciated by directors like Quentin Tarantino, Spike Lee, Martin Scorsese, and Edgar White.
On the other hand, there have been critics bringing up historical inaccuracies of the film. While the film might be historically inaccurate, “Apocalypto” seems well-loved among the people whose country’s history it represents. Following its release, more people attended the Mexican premieres of “Apocalypto” than of “Titanic.” Now, isn’t that a titanic achievement for Mel Gibson?
Scott’s First Choice
Ridley Scott’s historical epic, “Gladiator,” is a classic. We can’t imagine anyone else in the role of the two leads, Russel Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix. Interestingly, Crowe almost didn’t get the part. Scott’s first choice to portray Maximus Decimus Meridius was Mel Gibson. The “Braveheart” actor was, after all, at the peak of his career and seemingly could do no wrong. However, it was not to be. Gibson turned down the role.
He was concerned that there was too much violence in the film, and it might have taken its toll on his body. In short, Gibson believed he was too old for the role. Crowe, who’s eight years younger than Gibson, was eventually given the main character role. This was certainly the boost Crowe’s acting career needed.
Quite the Horseman
Mel Gibson is considered a versatile actor, and behind the scenes, he seems to be the same. Gibson has his own ranch where he breeds horses, and he makes a fairly decent equestrian. After his failed relationship with Oksana Grigorieva and his divorce from his long-time wife, Robyn Moore, Gibson turned to horse-whispering to help him with his struggles.
It makes perfect sense why he and Rosalind Ross have paired up, as the actress is no amateur when it comes to horse riding. While we can’t comment on Gibson’s current skills as a horse whisperer, we can say in 1995, they definitely weren’t up to scratch. During the filming of “Braveheart,” Gibson fell off his horse and was almost seriously wounded. Fortunately, the actor was saved by his stunt double.
It is no secret that Mel Gibson was once the black sheep of Hollywood. Gibson fell very quickly in the limelight and learned the lesson “the higher you are, the harder you fall,” better than everyone else. While there’s been plenty of criticism directed at the “Braveheart” actor, you really can’t say anything negative about Gibson’s tough mindset.
After almost six years of being shunned by Hollywood, Gibson made a comeback like no other. He directed the biographical war film “Hacksaw Ridge.” Clearly, Hollywood was on the path to forgiveness as the war film was well-received. It won two Academy Awards for Best Film Editing and Best Sound Mixing and was up for the Best Picture and Best Director awards.
A Spot of Voice-acting
Here’s one that will catch most people off-guard. Generally, Mel Gibson is associated with either being the main character and driving the action of a film, or he’s seen as the director – the man behind the scenes. Gibson is not often associated with his voice-acting roles, but the A-lister has had them.
Did you know that Gibson was the voice of John Smith in Disney’s 1995 classic “Pocahontas”? What’s even more impressive is Gibson did most of the singing for his role as John Smith. Four years later, Gibson was back at voice acting. This time, he did the voicework in “Chicken Run,” where he portrayed Rocky Rhodes, the rooster who’s given the responsibility of training the chickens to fly.
Joining Action Legends
For most of his career, Mel Gibson has been loosely labeled as an action actor – very loosely. After all, Gibson is the face of Martin Riggs from the “Lethal Weapon” franchise, and the actor brought to life one of action’s finest characters, Max Rockatansky, in the “Mad Max” Trilogy. However, for most of his career, Gibson has been cautious – he has tried to avoid being typecast as an action hero.
We’re not exactly sure if Gibson was completely successful with this as he was invited to join the cast of “The Expendables” in the third installment. Joining other quintessential action actors like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Statham, Jet Li, and Sylvester Stallone in “The Expendables 3” certainly confirms Gibson’s status as a legendary action actor – whether he likes it or not.
“Hacksaw Ridge” was intended to voice Mel Gibson’s stance on the topic of war. If you’ve watched the 2016 biographical war drama, then it wouldn’t surprise you to learn that the film’s director is anti-war. “Hacksaw Ridge” is an anti-war film. In fact, you don’t get anything more anti-war than “Hacksaw Ridge.” Gibson has also spoken out against the Iraq War.
Perhaps that’s why Gibson’s production company, Icon Productions, sold the rights to the documentary “Fahrenheit 9/11” to Miramax. We’ll never really know. What’s more curious is that even though Gibson’s quite outspoken about being anti-war and dedicated himself to directing an anti-war film, he is rather generous when it comes to veterans. When it comes to activism, Gibson advocates for veterans’ rights and helping former soldiers.
Debut as a Director
While most of us are just getting used to the idea of Mel Gibson being a director, he’s been at the gig for three decades. In 1993, the action actor released the drama, “The Man Without a Face”. It was Gibson’s first cinematic release as a director, and while it wasn’t an instant classic, it didn’t perform all that badly.
Interestingly, Gibson starred as the main character, Justin McLeod. However, the role originally wasn’t destined for him. The problem is that Gibson couldn’t find any actors he considered suitable who were willing to take the role. So, he played it himself. Now we know why Gibson makes such a fine director – he’s been a perfectionist from the start.
Every actor dreads a Golden Raspberry nomination, but Golden Razzies can take even some of the most talented actors by surprise. Including Mel Gibson. Though Gibson gave us solid performances as Max Rockatansky in “Mad Max” and William Wallace in “Braveheart,” in 2014, the actor received his first Golden Razzie nomination for his performance in “The Expendables.”
In 2017, Gibson sealed the deal and won his first Golden Razzie in 2018 for “Daddy’s Home.” Fortunately for Gibson, he’s been able to take back some of his pride. At the 37th Golden Raspberry Awards ceremony, he won the Razzie Redeemer Award for “Hacksaw Ridge.” We’re pretty sure Gibson appreciates his Redeemer Award more than his Worst Supporting Actor one for “Daddy’s Home.”
Donner’s Blue-eyed Boy
It is well-known that directors have their favorites. And even legendary directors like Richard Donner had his favorites – one of which was Mel Gibson. Donner may not be a big name, but he certainly made his mark on Hollywood history. In fact, Donner was once considered “the most reliable maker of action blockbusters.” And when you have action actor Gibson on your side it’s that much easier. Gibson starred in six of Donner’s films.
Of course, Gibson portrayed Martin Riggs in the “Lethal Weapon” franchise, but he also had main roles in Donner’s “Maverick” (1994) and “Conspiracy Theory”. Gibson worked with Donner towards the end of the director’s career. We have no doubt if the two had more time, Gibson would have had more roles in Donner’s action films.
Love for History
What is one thing that stands out about the films that Mel Gibson has directed? What do the films “Braveheart,” “The Passion of the Christ,” “Apocalypto”, and “Hacksaw Ridge” all have in common? They all engage with history. They all wrapped up in very different periods of history, like crucifixion during the Roman period in “The Passion of the Christ”; Mesoamerica just before the decline of the Mayan kingdom; and Desmond Doss’s experiences during World War 2.
The reason Gibson’s films are based on different historical periods didn’t happen by chance. Gibson has an incredible interest in history. He uses his films to showcase what he believes are significant periods in humanity’s history.
According to the Urology Care Foundation, 1 in 500 children are born with a horseshoe condition. This medical condition means that instead of having two kidneys, the afflicted person’s two kidneys have been welded into one giant or super kidney, giving rise to the name “horseshoe kidney.” This welding occurs during the baby’s fetal development so that is why by the time the babies are born, their kidneys are fused together.
One particularly famous baby who was born with the condition is legendary actor Mel Gibson. This medical condition might come with a range of ailments, such as kidney stones and urinary tract infections. Still, considering Gibson’s acting credentials (many of which are action films), Gibson’s super kidney hasn’t slowed him down in the slightest.
A Love for Language
Both when it comes to his directing visions and his personal life, “Payback” actor Mel Gibson shows that he has a true affinity and love for language. And no, we’re not referring to Gary Chapman’s “Five Love Languages” — we’re speaking about a love for languages. Two principal examples include shooting “The Passion of the Christ” only in Latin, Hebrew, and Aramaic and shooting his Mesoamerican action-adventure “Apocalypto” in the Yucatec Maya language.
In the actor’s personal life, he clearly demonstrates his passion for language. Gibson is fluent in several languages, including Spanish, French, and Italian. The actor is clearly a lover of language – need he say anymore? If it’s necessary, he can express his passion for language in several tongues.