Mel Gerard Gibson

November 19th, 2010

Mel Colm-Cille Gerard Gibson was born in Peekskill, New York, the sixth of 11 children, and the second son of Hutton Gibson and Irish-born Anne Patricia (née Reilly, died 1990). His paternal grandmother was the Australian opera soprano, Eva Mylott (1875–1920). One of Gibson’s younger brothers, Donal, is also an actor. Gibson’s first name comes from Saint Mel, fifth-century Irish saint, and founder of Gibson’s mother’s native diocese, Ardagh, while his second name, Colm-Cille, is also shared by an Irish saint and is the name of the parish in County Longford where Gibson’s mother was born and raised. Because of his mother, Gibson holds dual Irish and American citizenship.

Soon after being awarded $145,000 in a work-related-injury lawsuit against New York Central Railroad on February 14, 1968, Hutton Gibson relocated his family to West Pymble, Sydney, Australia. Gibson was 12 years old at the time. The move to Hutton’s mother’s native Australia was for economic reasons, and because Hutton thought the Australian Defence Forces would reject his oldest son for the draft during the Vietnam War. Gibson was educated by members of the Congregation of Christian Brothers at St. Leo’s Catholic College in Wahroonga, New South Wales, during his high school years.

Gibson gained very favorable notices from film critics when he first entered the cinematic scene, as well as comparisons to several classic movie stars. In 1982, Vincent Canby wrote that “Mr. Gibson recalls the young Steve McQueen… I can’t define “star quality,” but whatever it is, Mr. Gibson has it.” Gibson has also been likened to “a combination Clark Gable and Humphrey Bogart.” Gibson’s roles in the “Mad Max” series of films, Peter Weir’s Gallipoli, and the “Lethal Weapon” series of films earned him the label of “action hero”.Later, Gibson expanded into a variety of acting projects including human dramas such as Hamlet, and comedic roles such as those in Maverick and What Women Want. He expanded beyond acting into directing and producing, with: The Man Without a Face, in 1993; Braveheart, in 1995; The Passion of the Christ, in 2004; and Apocalypto, in 2006. Jess Cagle of Time has compared Gibson to Cary Grant, Sean Connery, and Robert Redford. Connery once suggested Gibson should play the next James Bond to Connery’s M. Gibson turned down the role, reportedly because he feared being typecast (when an actor becomes greatly affiliated with a fictional character).

Outside his career, remarks by Gibson have generated accusations of homophobia, misogyny, and antisemitism; he has previously attributed the statements to his battle with alcoholism.

 

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