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Mel Gibson 24 Facts

2010-05-05 15:02
Mel Gibson Sexiest Man People Cover

Bad boy, good actor, rich man, barfly, controversial blabbermouth, Iraq war sceptic, pro death penalty, anti-abortion, Catholic and pro-divorce… and one of the world’s favourite movie stars. Mel’s no simple case to crack. With Edge of Darkness hitting the South African circuit soon, we attempt to decode code the Braveheart actor and headline-grabbing Hollywood mogul.  

1. Wikipedia says: "Mel Colm-Cille Gerard Gibson, AO (born January 3, 1956) is an American Australian actor, film director and producer and screenwriter." Dikipedia (yes, the website name is self-explanatory) says "Mel Columcille Gerard Gibson, AO (born January 3, 1956) is an Academy Award-winning actor, director, producer, screenwriter, alcoholic, anti-Semite, and a dick."

2. Mel, who is named after a saint and whose name is means "honey" in Portuguese,  was born and raised Catholic and has 10 brothers and sisters. He was the middle child (although of course, at some point, he was the youngest of six).

3. His younger brother Donal is also an actor, but does not frequently star in Mel Gibson movies, mainly does voice parts, and moonlights as an industrial painter. Beats working at McD's.

4. The Gib shares his birthday with racing driver Michael "Schumi" Schumacher, Lord of the Rings writer J.R.R. Tolkien, Stephen Stills of US country band Crosby Stills and Nash, Beatles’ producer George Martin, The Wonder Years star and mathematician Danica McKellar, Dallas actress Victoria Principal… and a few million other Capricorns.

5. Mel became an actor by accident, when his sister submitted an application behind his back. The night before his audition, Mel got into a fight, and got his face smashed up. It turned out to be just the look required for the role. He later went to drama school in Australia, and roomed with Geoffrey Rush.

6. Mel and cut his teeth in Australian theatre productions, including one of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, which co-starred Judy Davis.

7. His first credited filmed acting role was in a small role as Ray Henderson in the classic historical Aussie TV series, The Sullivans (1976). Watch a clip.

8. The Sullivans also helped launch the careers of Kylie Minogue, Dannii Minogue, Sam Neill, Kerry Armstrong and other Australian-born talents who later became famous worldwide.

9. Mel’s acting career took off swiftly after Mad Max (1979), in which he plays a relentless vigilante cop – a role that helped define his career. His voice was dubbed for the US release, as he sounded to Aussie for North American consumption.

10. A couple of firsts for Mel: He was the first Australian actor to earn over $1 million for a role. And the first-ever winner of the People Magazine’s Sexiest award.

11. Braveheart, his most famous movie in which he starred while he still had hair, won him two Oscars, for Best Picture and Best Director, in 2006.

12. Mel Gibson started drinking at the age of 13, and is currently in recovery after relapsing a few times – with hilarious (and the usual near-tragic) consequences.

13. He was accused of homophobia when he said of gay people, "They take it up the ass" and, "This is only for taking a shit." Original? No. Drunk at the time? Apparently, yes.

14. Mel explained his nastiness to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) like so: "I shouldn't have said it, but I was tickling a bit of vodka during that interview, and the quote came back to bite me on the ass." For a straight guy, he says "ass" a lot.

15. Mel’s most famous DUI arrest in 2006 – for driving drunk with an open container in the car (in other words, drinking while driving drunk) – led to an outburst of anti-Semitic  Gib-berish *cough* which he later claimed were "blurted out in a moment of insanity".

16. He has not confirmed whether he was drunk the entire time he wrote The Passion of the Christ (2004), which he directed, began writing in 1992, and produced, and which many feel is strongly anti-Semitic.

17. Gibson spent $25 million of his own money producing the ThePassion of the Christ, which Dikipedia describes like this: "…the main storyline depicts Jesus relentlessly pursued by an evil cabal of Jews…"

18. The Passion of the Christ gained Mel the vocal support of the National Socialist Front – a Scandinavian Neo-Nazi organisation, and was spoofed, notably in the 2004 South Park episode "The Passion of the Jew". 

19. Insanity prevailed. He was arrested once again in August 2006, plead guilty, and entered a rehab programme that seems to have worked. He is still a chain smoker.

20. Gibson and his wife met through a dating service. He is in the process of getting divorced and has a baby daughter with former Russian mistress Oksana Grigorieva, who also has a son with former James Bond star Timothy Dalton. Mel admits to some guilt: "When all's said and done, I did a pretty good hatchet job on my marriage. I'm to blame, if you're inclined to judge."

21. In movies, our man Mel often plays a widowed hero out to restore justice. Examples include Mad Max II and upwards, the Lethal Weapon franchise, Braveheart, The Patriot, Signs, and his most recent movie to date – the upcoming Edge of Darkness.

22. In real life, Mel Gibson is one of the richest men in the world, with about $850 million to his name. In 2005 he bought the island of Mago, near Fiji, for $15 million and plans to turn it into his personal retreat.

23. Considering his attention-seeking choice of career, Mel Gibson has a surprisingly great love of privacy. To quote: "I was thinking of pitching my tent right next to the weapons of mass destruction. Then no-one would find me."

24. Mel has various projects on the go. How I Spent My Summer Vacation (2011) is being filmed, The Beaver (2010) is in post-production, and he has another four productions listed on IMDB Pro as "in development".

* Edge of Darkness is due for a release in SA on 7 May.
A controversial Hollywood figure who’s hit the headlines for as many good reasons as he has bad ones.

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