From the days of the Mad Max movies to his winning the Oscar for directing Braveheart (1995), which also received the Academy Award for best picture, US actor Mel Gibson had been a favorite son of Australia but his Down Under reputation has been badly tarnished by allegations of bigoted tirades and reports that he is under investigation for assaulting a former girlfriend.
Mel Gibson, actor, director, producer, was born in the United States in Peekskill, New York. His mother Ann was Australian-born. The Gibson family moved to Australia in 1968 and settled in Sydney. Most of Mel Gibson's young life was spent in Australia.
Mel Gibson first studied drama at the New Zealand Drama School, Toi Whakaari, in Wellington, New Zealand. He completed the course, then studied at Australia's National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) from 1975. While at NIDA, he roomed with Australian actor Geoffrey Rush. Among his early Australian films were Summer City (1977), Mad Max (1979), Tim (1979), and Gallipoli (1981).
He starred in the Lethal Weapon movies with Danny Glover; won an Oscar for directing Braveheart (1995), which also received the Academy Award for best picture; and directed, wrote and produced the box-office hit The Passion of the Christ (2004).
Because of his youth, training, studies and first appearance in films in Australia, Australians generally regarded Mel Gibson as one of their own. He contributed to the construction of the new National Institute of Dramatic Art building in Sydney, which was completed in 2003. But allegations of bigoted tirades and reports that he is under investigation for assaulting a former girlfriend now appear to have sadly and seriously tarnished his reputation.