The following biography
Gerard Gibson, AO (born 3 January 1956) is an American born but
Australian-raised actor, film director, producer and screenwriter. Born
in Peekskill, New York, Gibson moved with his parents to Sydney when he
was 12 years old and later studied acting at the Australian National
Institute of Dramatic Art.
After appearing in the
Mad Max and Lethal Weapon series, Gibson went on to direct and star in the
Academy Award-winning Braveheart. In 2004, he directed and produced The Passion
of the Christ, a film portraying the last hours in the life of Jesus.
Mel Colm-Cille Gerard
3 January 1956
Peekskill, New York,
Actor, film director,
Robyn Moore Gibson
6 sons, 2 daughters
(née Reilly, deceased)
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 contralto 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
US$145,000 in a work-related-injury lawsuit against New York Central Railroad on
14 February 1968, Hutton Gibson relocated his family to West Pymble, Sydney,
Australia. Mel 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.
Gibson studied at the
National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) in Sydney. The students at NIDA were
classically trained in the British-theater tradition rather than in preparation
for screen acting. As students, Gibson and actress Judy Davis played the
leads in Romeo and Juliet, and Gibson played the role of Queen Titania in an
experimental production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. After graduation in
1977, Gibson immediately began work on the filming of Mad Max, but continued
to work as a stage actor, and joined the State Theatre Company of South
Australia in Adelaide. Gibson’s theatrical credits include the character
Estragon (opposite Geoffrey Rush) in Waiting for Godot, and the role of Biff
Loman in a 1982 production of Death of a Salesman in Sydney. Gibson’s most
recent theatrical performance, opposite Sissy Spacek, was the 1993 production of
Love Letters by A. R. Gurney, in Telluride, Colorado.
Australian television and cinema
While a student at NIDA,
Gibson made his film debut in the 1977 film Summer City, for which he was paid
Gibson then played the
title character in the film Mad Max (1979). He was paid $15000 for this
role. Shortly after making the film he did a season with the South
Australian Theatre Company. During this period he shared a $30 a week apartment
in Adelaide with his future wife Robyn. After Mad Max Gibson also played a
mentally slow youth in the film Tim.
During this period
Gibson also appeared in Australian television series guest roles. He appeared in
serial The Sullivans as naval lieutenant Ray Henderson, in police procedural
Cop Shop, and in the pilot episode of prison serial Punishment which was
produced in 1980, screened 1981.
Gibson joined the cast
of the World War II action film Attack Force Z, which was not released until
1982 when Gibson had become a bigger star. Director Peter Weir cast Gibson as
one of the leads in the critically acclaimed World War I drama Gallipoli, which
earned Gibson another Best Actor Award from the Australian Film Institute.
The film Gallipoli also helped to earn Gibson the reputation of a serious,
versatile actor and gained him the Hollywood agent Ed Limato. The sequel Mad Max
2 was his first hit in America (released as The Road Warrior). In 1982 Gibson
again attracted critical acclaim in Peter Weir’s romantic thriller The Year of
Living Dangerously. Following a year hiatus from film acting after the birth of
his twin sons, Gibson took on the role of Fletcher Christian in The Bounty in
1984. Playing Max Rockatansky for the third time in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome,
in 1985, earned Gibson his first million dollar salary.
Early Hollywood years
Mel Gibson's first
American film was Mark Rydell’s 1984 drama The River, in which he and Sissy
Spacek played struggling Tennessee farmers. Gibson then starred in the Gothic
romance Mrs. Soffel for Australian director Gillian Armstrong. He and Matthew
Modine played condemned convict brothers opposite Diane Keaton as the warden's
wife who visits them to read the Bible. In 1985, after working on four films in
a row, Gibson took almost two years off at his Australian cattle station. He
returned to play the role of Martin Riggs in Lethal Weapon, a film which helped
to cement his status as a Hollywood "leading man". Gibson's next film was
Robert Towne’s Tequila Sunrise, followed by Lethal Weapon 2, in 1989. Gibson
next starred in three films back-to-back: Bird on a Wire, Air America, and
Hamlet; all were released in 1990.
During the 1990s, Gibson
alternated between commercial and personal projects. His films in the first half
of the decade were Forever Young, Lethal Weapon 3, Maverick, and Braveheart. He
then starred in Ransom, Conspiracy Theory, Lethal Weapon 4, and Payback. Gibson
also served as the speaking and singing voice of John Smith in Disney’s
In 2000, Gibson acted in
three films that each grossed over $100 million: The Patriot, Chicken Run, and
What Women Want. In 2002, Gibson appeared in the Vietnam War drama We Were
Soldiers and M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs, which became the highest-grossing film
of Gibson’s acting career. While promoting Signs, Gibson said that he no
longer wanted to be a movie star and would only act in film again if the script
were truly extraordinary. In 2010, Gibson appeared in Edge of Darkness, which
marked his first starring role since 2002 and was an adaptation of the BBC
miniseries, Edge of Darkness. In 2010, following an outburst at his
ex-girlfriend that was made public, Gibson was dropped from the talent agency of
William Morris Endeavor.
After his success in
Hollywood with the Lethal Weapon series, Gibson began to move into producing and
directing. With partner Bruce Davey, Gibson formed Icon Productions in 1989 in
order to make Hamlet. In addition to producing or co-producing many of
Gibson's own star vehicles, Icon has turned out many other small films, ranging
from Immortal Beloved to An Ideal Husband. Gibson has taken supporting roles in
some of these films, such as The Million Dollar Hotel and The Singing Detective.
Gibson has also produced a number of projects for television, including a biopic
on The Three Stooges and the 2008 PBS documentary Carrier. Icon has grown from
being just a production company to also be an international distribution company
and film exhibitor in Australia and New Zealand.
Mel Gibson has credited
his directors, particularly George Miller, Peter Weir, and Richard Donner, with
teaching him the craft of filmmaking and influencing him as a director.
According to Robert Downey, Jr., studio executives encouraged Gibson in 1989 to
try directing, an idea he rebuffed at the time. Gibson made his directorial
debut in 1993 with The Man Without a Face, followed two years later by
Braveheart, which earned Gibson the Academy Award for Best Director. Gibson had
long planned to direct a remake of Fahrenheit 451, but in 1999 the project was
indefinitely postponed because of scheduling conflicts. Gibson was scheduled
to direct Robert Downey, Jr. in a Los Angeles stage production of Hamlet in
January 2001, but Downey's drug relapse ended the project. In 2002, while
promoting We Were Soldiers and Signs to the press, Gibson mentioned that he was
planning to pare back on acting and return to directing. In September 2002,
Gibson announced that he would direct a film called The Passion in Aramaic and
Latin with no subtitles because he hoped to "transcend language barriers with
filmic storytelling." In 2004, he released the controversial film The
Passion of the Christ, with subtitles, which he co-wrote, co-produced, and
directed. The film went on to become the highest grossing rated R film of all
time with $370,782,930 in U.S. box office sales. Gibson directed a few
episodes of Complete Savages for the ABC network. In 2006, he directed the
action-adventure film Apocalypto, his second film to feature sparse dialogue in
a non-English language.
Gibson's acting career
began in 1976, with a role on the Australian television series The Sullivans. In
his career, Gibson has appeared in 43 films, including the Mad Max and Lethal
Weapon film series. In addition to acting, Gibson has also directed four films,
including Braveheart and The Passion of the Christ; produced 11 films; and
written two films. Films either starring or directed by Mel Gibson have earned
over US$2.5 billion, in the United States alone. Gibson's filmography
includes television series, feature films, television films, and animated films.
Mad Max series
Gibson got his
breakthrough role as the leather-clad post-apocalyptic survivor in George
Miller's Mad Max. The independently financed blockbuster helped to make him an
international star everywhere but in the United States, where the actors'
Australian accents were dubbed with American accents. The original film
spawned two sequels: Mad Max 2 (known in North America as The Road Warrior), and
Mad Max 3 (known in North America as Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome). A fourth
movie, Mad Max 4: Fury Road, is in development, but both Gibson and George
Miller have indicated that the starring role would go to a younger actor.
Gibson played the role
of the cynical Frank Dunne alongside co-star Mark Lee in the 1981 Peter Weir
film. Gallipoli is about a group of young men from rural Western Australia who
enlist in the Australian Imperial Force during World War I. They are sent to the
Ottoman Empire, where they take part in the Gallipoli Campaign. During the
course of the movie, the young men slowly lose their innocence about the war.
The climax of the movie occurs at the brutal attack during Battle of the Nek.
According to Gibson, "Gallipoli was the birth of a nation. It was the shattering
of a dream for Australia. They had banded together to fight the Hun and died by
the thousands in a dirty little trench war."[verification needed] The
critically acclaimed film helped to further launch Gibson's career. He won
the award for Best Actor in a Leading Role from the Australian Film
The Year of Living Dangerously
Gibson played a naïve
but ambitious journalist opposite Sigourney Weaver and Linda Hunt in Peter
Weir’s atmospheric 1982 film The Year of Living Dangerously, based on the novel
of the same name by Christopher Koch. The movie was both a critical and
commercial success, and the upcoming Australian actor was heavily marketed by
MGM studio. In his review of the film, Vincent Canby of The New York Times
wrote, "If this film doesn't make an international star of Mr. Gibson, then
nothing will. He possesses both the necessary talent and the screen
presence." According to John Hiscock of The Daily Telegraph, the film did,
indeed, establish Gibson as an international talent.
Gibson was initially
reluctant to accept the role of Guy Hamilton. "I didn't necessarily see my role
as a great challenge. My character was, like the film suggests, a puppet. And I
went with that. It wasn't some star thing, even though they advertised it that
way." Gibson saw some similarities between himself and the character of Guy.
"He's not a silver-tongued devil. He's kind of immature and he has some rough
edges and I guess you could say the same for me." Gibson has cited this
screen performance as his personal favorite.[when?]
Gibson followed the
footsteps of Errol Flynn, Clark Gable, and Marlon Brando by starring as Fletcher
Christian in a cinematic retelling of the mutiny on the Bounty. The resulting
1984 film The Bounty is considered to be the most historically accurate version.
However, Gibson thinks that the film's revisionism did not go far enough. He
stated that his character should have been portrayed as more of a villain and
described Anthony Hopkins's performance as William Bligh as the best aspect of
Lethal Weapon series
Gibson moved into more
mainstream commercial filmmaking with the popular buddy cop Lethal Weapon
series, which began with the 1987 original. In the films he played LAPD
Detective Martin Riggs, a recently widowed Vietnam veteran with a death wish and
a penchant for violence and gunplay. In the films, he is partnered with a
reserved family man named Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover). Following the success
of Lethal Weapon, director Richard Donner and principal cast revisited the
characters in three sequels, Lethal Weapon 2 (1989), Lethal Weapon 3 (1993), and
Lethal Weapon 4 (1998). With its fourth installment, the Lethal Weapon series
embodied "the quintessence of the buddy cop pic".
Gibson made the unusual
transition from the action to classical genres, playing the melancholic Danish
prince in Franco Zeffirelli's Hamlet. Gibson was cast alongside such experienced
Shakespearean actors as Ian Holm, Alan Bates, and Paul Scofield. He described
working with his fellow cast members as similar to being "thrown into the ring
with Mike Tyson".
Mel Gibson directed,
produced, and starred in Braveheart, an epic telling of the legend of Sir
William Wallace, a 13th century Scottish patriot. Gibson received two Academy
Awards, Best Director and Best Picture, for his second directorial effort. In
winning the Academy Award for Best Director, Gibson became only the sixth
actor-turned-filmmaker to do so. Braveheart influenced the Scottish
nationalist movement and helped to revive the film genre of the historical epic;
the Battle of Stirling Bridge sequence is considered by critics to be one of the
all-time-best-directed battle scenes.
The Passion of the Christ
produced, co-wrote, and funded the 2004 film The Passion of the Christ, which
chronicled the passion and death of Jesus (Jim Caviezel). The film was shot
exclusively in Aramaic, Latin, and Hebrew. Although Gibson originally intended
to release the film without subtitles; he eventually relented for theatrical
exhibition. The film sparked divergent reviews, ranging from high praise to
criticism of the violence.
League further accused Gibson of anti-semitism over the film's unflattering
depiction of Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin. Among those to defend Gibson were
Orthodox Jewish Rabbi Daniel Lapin and radio personality Michael Medved.
Referring to ADL National Director Abraham Foxman, Rabbi Lapin said that by
calling The Passion of the Christ anti-Semitic, "what he is saying is that the
only way (for Christians) to escape the wrath of Foxman is to repudiate (their
In an interview with the
Globe and Mail, Gibson stated, "If anyone has distorted Gospel passages to
rationalize cruelty towards Jews or anyone, it's in defiance of repeated Papal
condemnation. The Papacy has condemned racism in any form... Jesus died for the
sins of all times, and I'll be the first on the line for culpability".
continued media attacks began to anger Gibson. After his father's Holocaust
denial was sharply criticized in print by The New York Times writer Frank
Rich, Gibson retorted, "I want to kill him. I want his intestines on a
stick.... I want to kill his dog."
Catholic upbringing was also the target of criticism. In a 2006 interview with
Diane Sawyer, Gibson stated that he feels that his "human rights were violated"
by the often vitriolic attacks on his person, his father's beliefs, and his
religious beliefs which were sparked by The Passion.
The movie grossed
US$611,899,420 worldwide and $370,782,930 in the US alone, surpassing any
motion picture starring Gibson. In US box offices, it became the eighth (at
the time) highest-grossing film in history and the highest-grossing rated R
film of all time. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards and
won the People's Choice Award for Favorite Dramatic Motion Picture.
Gibson received further
critical acclaim for his directing of the 2006 action-adventure film
Apocalypto. Gibson's fourth directorial effort is set in Mesoamerica during
the early 16th century against the turbulent end times of a Maya civilization.
The sparse dialogue is spoken in the Yucatec Maya language by a cast of Native
Gibson starred in The
Beaver, a film directed by former Maverick co-star, Jodie Foster. The Beaver
premiered at The South by Southwest Festival in Austin on 16 March 2011. The
opening weekend in 22 theaters was considered a flop: it made $104,000 which
comes to a per-theater average of $4,745. The film's distributor, Summit
Entertainment, had originally planned for a wide release of The Beaver for the
weekend of 20 May, but after the initial box-office returns for the film, the
company changed course and decided instead to give the film a "limited art-house
run". Michael Cieply of the New York Times observed on 5 June 2011, that the
film had cleared just about $1 million, making it a certified "flop".
Director Jodie Foster opined that the film did not do well with American
audiences because it was a dramedy and "And very often Americans are not
comfortable with (that)."
In March 2007, Gibson
told a screening audience that he was preparing another script with Farhad
Safinia about the writing of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). Gibson's
company has long owned the rights to The Professor and the Madman, which tells
the story of the creation of the OED.
Gibson has dismissed the
rumors that he is considering directing a film about Spanish explorer Vasco
Núñez de Balboa. Asked in September 2007 if he planned to return to
acting and specifically to action roles, Gibson said: "I think I’m too old for
that, but you never know. I just like telling stories. Entertainment is valid
and I guess I’ll probably do it again before it's over. You know, do something
that people won’t get mad with me for."
In 2005, the film Sam
and George was announced as the seventh collaboration between director Richard
Donner and Gibson. In February 2009, Donner said that this Paramount project was
"dead," but that he and Gibson were planning another film based on an
original script by Brian Helgeland for production in fall 2009.
He has also expressed an
intention to direct a movie set during the Viking Age, starring Leonardo
DiCaprio. The as-yet untitled film, like The Passion of the Christ and
Apocalypto, will feature dialogue in period languages. However, DiCaprio
ultimately opted out of the project. In a 2012 interview, Gibson announced
that the project, which he has titled Berserker, was still moving forward.
In June 2010, Gibson was
in Brownsville, Texas, filming scenes for another movie, How I Spent My Summer
Vacation, about a career criminal put in a tough prison in Mexico.
In October 2010, it was
reported that Gibson would have a small role in The Hangover: Part II, but
he was removed from the film after the cast and crew objected to his
In 2011, it was
announced that Gibson had commissioned a screenplay from Joe Eszterhas about the
Maccabees. The film is to be distributed by Warner Brothers Pictures. The
announcement generated significant controversy. In a 2012 interview, Gibson
explained that the project was still in preparation. He explained he was drawn
to the Biblical account of the Maccabees due to its similarity to the Western
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Gibson met Robyn Denise
Moore in the late 1970s soon after filming Mad Max when they were both tenants
at a house in Adelaide. At the time, Robyn was a dental nurse and Mel was an
unknown actor working for the South Australian Theatre Company. On 7 June
1980, Mel and Robyn Gibson were married in a Roman Catholic church in
Forestville, New South Wales. They currently have one daughter, six sons,
and three grandchildren as of 2011.
After 26 years of
marriage, Mel and Robyn Gibson separated on 29 July 2006. In a 2011
interview, Gibson stated that the separation began the day following his arrest
for drunk driving in Malibu. Robyn Gibson filed for divorce on 13 April
2009, citing irreconcilable differences. In a joint statement, the Gibsons
declared, "Throughout our marriage and separation we have always strived to
maintain the privacy and integrity of our family and will continue to do so."
The divorce filing followed the March 2009 release of photographs appearing to
show him on a beach embracing Russian pianist Oksana Grigorieva.
Gibson's divorce was finalized on 23 December 2011, and the settlement with his
ex-wife was said to be the highest in Hollywood history at over
On 28 April 2009, Gibson
made a red carpet appearance with Grigorieva. Grigorieva, who had previously had
a son with actor Timothy Dalton, gave birth to Gibson's daughter Lucia on 30
October 2009. In April 2010, it was made public that Gibson and
Grigorieva had split. On 21 June 2010, Grigorieva filed a restraining order
against Gibson to keep him away from her and their child. The restraining order
was modified the next day regarding Gibson's contact with their child.
Gibson obtained a restraining order against Grigorieva on 25 June
2010. In response to claims by Grigorieva that an incident of domestic
violence occurred in January 2010, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
launched a domestic violence investigation in July 2010.
Gibson is a property
investor, with multiple properties in Malibu, California, several locations in
Costa Rica, a private island in Fiji and properties in Australia. In
December 2004, Gibson sold his 300-acre (1.2 km2) Australian farm in the Kiewa
Valley for $6 million. Also in December 2004, Gibson purchased Mago Island
in Fiji from Tokyu Corporation of Japan for $15 million. Descendants of the
original native inhabitants of Mago, who were displaced in the 1860s, have
protested the purchase. Gibson stated it was his intention to retain the
pristine environment of the undeveloped island. In early 2005, he sold his
45,000-acre (180 km2) Montana ranch to a neighbour. In April 2007 he
purchased a 400-acre (1.6 km2) ranch in Costa Rica for $26 million, and in July
2007 he sold his 76-acre (310,000 m2) Tudor estate in Connecticut (which he
purchased in 1994 for $9 million) for $40 million to an unnamed buyer. Also
that month, he sold a Malibu property for $30 million that he had purchased for
$24 million two years before. In 2008, he purchased the Malibu home of
David Duchovny and Téa Leoni.
Gibson has a reputation
for practical jokes, puns, Stooge-inspired physical comedy, and doing outrageous
things to shock people. As a director he sometimes breaks the tension on set by
having his actors perform serious scenes wearing a red clown nose. Helena
Bonham Carter, who appeared alongside him in Hamlet, said of him, "He has a very
basic sense of humor. It's a bit lavatorial and not very sophisticated."
During the filming of Hamlet, Gibson would relieve pressure on the set by
mooning the cast and crew, directly following a serious scene. In addition
to inserting several homages to the Three Stooges in his Lethal Weapon movies,
Gibson produced a 2000 television movie about the comedy group which starred
Michael Chiklis as Curly Howard. As a gag, Gibson inserted a
single frame of himself smoking a cigarette into the 2005 teaser trailer of
Gibson and his former
wife have contributed a substantial amount of money to various charities, one of
which is Healing the Children. According to Cris Embleton, one of the founders,
the Gibsons gave millions to provide lifesaving medical treatment to needy
children worldwide. They also supported the restoration of Renaissance
artwork and gave millions of dollars to NIDA.
Gibson donated $500,000
to the El Mirador Basin Project to protect the last tract of virgin rain forest
in Central America and to fund archeological excavations in the "cradle of Mayan
civilization." In July 2007, Gibson again visited Central America to make
arrangements for donations to the indigenous population. Gibson met with Costa
Rican President Óscar Arias to discuss how to "channel the funds." During
the same month, Gibson pledged to give financial assistance to a Malaysian
company named Green Rubber Global for a tire recycling factory located in
Gallup, New Mexico. While on a business trip to Singapore in September
2007, Gibson donated to a local charity for children with chronic and terminal
illnesses. Gibson is also a supporter of 'Angels at Risk', a nonprofit
organization focusing on education about drug and alcohol abuse among
In a 2011 interview,
Gibson said of his philanthropic works, "It gives you perspective. It’s one of
my faults, you tend to focus on yourself a lot. Which is not always the
healthiest thing for your psyche or anything else. If you take a little time out
to think about other people, it’s good. It’s uplifting."
Religious and political views
Gibson was raised a
Traditionalist Catholic. When asked about the Catholic doctrine of "Extra
Ecclesiam nulla salus", Gibson replied, "There is no salvation for those outside
the Church ... I believe it. Put it this way. My wife is a saint. She's a much
better person than I am. Honestly. She's... Episcopalian, Church of England. She
prays, she believes in God, she knows Jesus, she believes in that stuff. And
it's just not fair if she doesn't make it, she's better than I am. But that is a
pronouncement from the chair. I go with it." When he was asked whether
John 14:6 is an intolerant position, he said that "through the merits of Jesus'
sacrifice... even people who don't know Jesus are able to be saved, but through
him." Acquaintance Father William Fulco has said that Gibson denies neither
the Pope nor Vatican II. Gibson told Diane Sawyer that he believes
non-Catholics and non-Christians can go to heaven.
Gibson has been
described as "ultraconservative".
filmmaker Michael Moore and his documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 when he and Moore
were recognized at the 2005 People's Choice Awards. Gibson's Icon
Productions originally agreed to finance Moore's film, but later sold the rights
to Miramax Films. Moore said that his agent Ari Emanuel claimed that "top
Republicans" called Mel Gibson to tell him, "don’t expect to get more
invitations to the White House". Icon's spokesman dismissed this story,
saying "We never run from a controversy. You'd have to be out of your mind to
think that of the company that just put out The Passion of the Christ."
In a July 1995 interview
with Playboy magazine, Gibson said President Bill Clinton was a "low-level
opportunist" and someone was "telling him what to do". He said that the Rhodes
Scholarship was established for young men and women who want to strive for a
"new world order" and this was a campaign for Marxism. Gibson later backed
away from such conspiracy theories saying, "It was like: 'Hey, tell us a
conspiracy'... so I laid out this thing, and suddenly, it was like I was talking
the gospel truth, espousing all this political shit like I believed in it."
In the same 1995 Playboy interview, Gibson argued against ordaining women to the
In 2004, he publicly
spoke out against taxpayer-funded embryonic stem-cell research that involves the
cloning and destruction of human embryos. In March 2005, he condemned the
outcome of the Terri Schiavo case, referring to Schiavo's death as
Gibson questioned the
Iraq War in March 2004. In 2006, Gibson said that the "fearmongering"
depicted in his film Apocalypto "reminds me a little of President Bush and his
In a 2011 interview,
"The whole notion of
politics is they always present you with this or this or this. I’ll get a
newspaper to read between the lines. Why do you have to adhere to prescribed
formulas that they have and people argue over them and they’re all in a box. And
you watch Fox claw CNN, and CNN claw Fox. Sometimes I catch a piece of the news
and it seems insanity to me. I quietly support candidates. I’m not out there
banging a drum for candidates. But I have supported a candidate and it’s a whole
other world. Once you’ve been exposed to it, once or twice or however many
times, if you know the facts and see how they’re presented, it’s mind-boggling.
It’s a very scary arena to be in, but I do vote. I go in there and pull the
lever. It’s kind of like pulling the lever and watching the trap door fall out
from beneath you. Why should we trust any of these people? None of them ever
deliver on anything. It’s always disappointing."
The Gay & Lesbian
Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) accused Gibson of homophobia after a
December 1991 interview in the Spanish newspaper El País in which he made
derogatory comments about homosexuals. Gibson later defended his
comments and rejected calls to apologise. However, Gibson joined GLAAD
in hosting 10 lesbian and gay filmmakers for an on-location seminar on the set
of the movie Conspiracy Theory in January 1997. In 1999 when asked about
the comments to El País, Gibson said, "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."
Alleged anti-semitism in The Passion of the Christ
Gibson's 2004 film The
Passion of the Christ sparked a fierce debate over alleged antisemitic imagery
and overtones. Gibson denied that the film was antisemitic, but critics remained
divided. Some agreed that the film was consistent with the Gospels and
traditional Catholic teachings, while others argued that it reflected a
selective reading of the Gospels. James Carroll, in Constantine's Sword:
The Church and the Jews, states that the Catholic Church traditionally blames
the Jews for the death of Jesus; John Dominic Crossan's Who Killed Jesus points
out that the traditional Jewish method of execution was stoning; crucifixion was
a Roman method. Crossan also looks at the record of Pontius Pilate, who never
hesitated to use extreme measures against unruly Jews.
Allegations of sexism and domestic violence
In July 2010, it was
alleged that Gibson had been recorded during a phone call with Oksana Grigorieva
suggesting that if she got "raped by a pack of niggers," she would be to
blame. Gibson was barred from coming near Grigorieva or her
daughter due to a domestic violence-related restraining order. The Los
Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has launched a domestic violence
investigation against Gibson. Gibson's estranged wife, Robyn Gibson, has
filed a court statement declaring that she never experienced any abuse from
Gibson, while forensic experts have questioned the validity of some of the
tapes. In March 2011, Mel Gibson agreed to plead no contest to a
misdemeanor battery charge.
In a subsequent
interview, Gibson stated,
"I was allowed to end
the case and still maintain my innocence. It’s called a West Plea and it’s
not something that prosecutors normally allow. But in my case, the prosecutors
and the judge agreed that it was the right thing to do. I could have continued
to fight this for years and it probably would have come out fine. But I ended it
for my children and my family. This was going to be such a circus. You don’t
drag other people in your life through this sewer needlessly, so I’ll take the
hit and move on."
Accusations of racism
On 8 July 2010, Gibson
was alleged to have used the term "wetbacks" as he suggested turning in one of
his employees to immigration authorities. On 9 July 2010, some audio
recordings alleged to be of Gibson were posted on the internet. The same
day Gibson was dropped by his agency, William Morris Endeavor. Civil rights
activists commented that Gibson had shown patterns of racism, sexism and
anti-Semitism and called for a boycott of Gibson's movies.
In April 2011, Gibson
finally broke his silence about the incident in question. In an interview with
Deadline.com, Gibson expressed gratitude to longtime friends Whoopi Goldberg and
Jodie Foster, both of whom had spoken publicly in his defense. About the
recordings, Gibson said,
"I’ve never treated
anyone badly or in a discriminatory way based on their gender, race, religion or
sexuality – period. I don’t blame some people for thinking that though, from the
garbage they heard on those leaked tapes, which have been edited. You have to
put it all in the proper context of being in an irrationally, heated discussion
at the height of a breakdown, trying to get out of a really unhealthy
relationship. It’s one terribly, awful moment in time, said to one person, in
the span of one day and doesn’t represent what I truly believe or how I’ve
treated people my entire life."
Alcohol abuse and legal issues
Gibson has said that he
started drinking at the age of thirteen. In a 2002 interview about his time
at NIDA, Gibson said, "I had really good highs but some very low lows. I found
out recently I'm manic depressive."
Gibson was banned from
driving in Ontario for three months in 1984, after rear-ending a car in Toronto
while under the influence of alcohol. He retreated to his Australian farm
for over a year to recover, but he continued to struggle with drinking. Despite
this problem, Gibson gained a reputation in Hollywood for professionalism and
punctuality such that Lethal Weapon 2 director Richard Donner was shocked when
Gibson confided that he was drinking five pints of beer for breakfast.
Reflecting in 2003 and 2004, Gibson said that despair in his mid-30s led him to
contemplate suicide, and he meditated on Christ's Passion to heal his
wounds. He took more time off acting in 1991 and sought
professional help. That year, Gibson's attorneys were unsuccessful at
blocking the Sunday Mirror from publishing what Gibson shared at AA
meetings.[clarification needed] In 1992, Gibson provided financial support
to Hollywood's Recovery Center, saying, "Alcoholism is something that runs in my
family. It's something that's close to me. People do come back from it, and it's
DUI incident with antisemitic remarks
On 28 July 2006, Gibson
was arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) while speeding in his vehicle
with an open container of alcohol. According to a 2011 article in Vanity Fair,
Gibson first told the arresting officer, "My life is over. I’m f*cked. Robyn’s
going to leave me." According to the arrest report, Gibson then exploded
into an angry tirade at the arresting officer. Gibson climaxed with the words,
"f*cking Jews... the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the
After the arrest report
of was leaked on TMZ.com, Gibson issued two apologies through his
publicist, and in a televised interview with Diane Sawyer, he affirmed
the accuracy of the quotations. He further apologized for his "despicable"
behavior, saying the comments were "blurted out in a moment of insanity"
and asked to meet with Jewish leaders to help him "discern the appropriate path
for healing." After Gibson's arrest, his publicist said he had entered a
recovery program to battle alcoholism.
On 17 August 2006,
Gibson pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor drunken-driving charge and was
sentenced to three years probation. He was ordered to attend self-help
meetings five times a week for four and a half months and three times a week for
the remainder of the first year of his probation. He was also ordered to attend
a First Offenders Program, was fined $1,300, and his license was restricted for
At a May 2007 progress
hearing, Gibson was praised for his compliance with the terms of his probation
and his extensive participation in a self-help program beyond what was
According to a friend
interviewed on condition of anonymity, "It is my belief he felt that he had just
absolutely failed as a human being. Mel was trying to invite death by cop. I
don’t think this was about being anti-Semitic. I think he was trying to rile
that guy into pulling out a gun and shooting him. Before he left the restaurant
that night, he went to every single table and said good-bye. Why would you say
good-bye to every table unless you think you’re never going to see them again? I
believe that what was going on that night was a farewell."
On 25 July 1997, Gibson
was named an honorary Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), in recognition of
his "service to the Australian film industry". The award was honorary because
substantive awards are made only to Australian citizens. In 1985,
Gibson was named "The Sexiest Man Alive" by People, the first person to be named
so. Gibson quietly declined the Chevalier des Arts et Lettres from the
French government in 1995 as a protest against France's resumption of nuclear
testing in the Southwest Pacific. TIME magazine chose Mel Gibson and
Michael Moore as Men of the Year in 2004, but Gibson turned down the photo
session and interview, and the cover went instead to George W. Bush.
Awards and accomplishments
Institute Award: Best Actor in a Lead Role, for Tim (1979) and Gallipoli
Academy Award: Best
Picture, for Braveheart (1995)
Academy Award: Best
Director, for Braveheart (1995)
People's Choice Awards:
Favorite Motion Picture Actor (1991, 1997, 2001, 2003,
People's Choice Awards:
Favorite Motion Picture Star in a Comedy (2001)
ShoWest Award: Male
Star of the Year (1993)
ShoWest Award: Director
of the Year (1996)
Gala Tribute: American Cinematheque Award (1995)
Theatricals: Man of the Year (1997)
Institute: Global Achievement Award (2002)
Recipient and Undergraduate Commencement Speaker, Loyola Marymount University
World's most powerful
celebrity by US business magazine Forbes (2004)
Innovator of the Year (2004)
Honorary fellowship in
Performing Arts by Limkokwing University (2007)
Contribution to World Cinema Award at the Irish Film and Television Awards
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Edna," 15 December 1990
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33.^ Press release (25
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43.^ N'Gai Croal (12
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Max' As First Game From Creative Alliance With God of War II Director Cory
44.^ Davin Seay
(February 1983). "An American from Kangaroo-land hops to the top". Ampersand.
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16 July 2010.
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50.^ Paul Scofield's
career highlights, The Daily Telegraph, 20 March 2008. Retrieved 16 July 2010.
51.^ a b c "1995
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worst – movie battle scenes 2 April 2007
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55.^ a b Adato, Allison
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words". USA Today. 1 August 2006.
57.^ a b c d
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2005. Retrieved 31 July 2006.
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59.^ Mel Gibson Movie
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67.^ Dargis, Manohla (5
May 2011). "Leave It to the Beaver to Do All the Talking". The New York Times.
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68.^ "Audiences reject
Mel Gibson as 'The Beaver' flops". Los Angeles Times. 8 May 2011.
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May 2011). "'The Beaver' sluggish in limited release". Los Angeles Times (Eddy
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71.^ "Director says
movie struck out in the U.S. because it’s a dramedy". Newsok.com. 20 May 2011.
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72.^ Event Report: 
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September 1998). "The Strange Case of the Madman With a Quotation for Every
Word". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 November 2007.
74.^  10 minutes
with Mel Gibson: "When going green comes naturally" – The New Straits Times – 1
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75.^  "Mel Gibson to
film in Panama?" – Opodo Travel News – 7 March 2007
76.^ Mel Gibson
Thinking About Setting Next Splatter Film In Panama 6 March 2007
77.^ Enter the eco
warrior The Star (Malaysia) – 10 September 2007 – accessed 10 September 2007
78.^ Adam Jahnke (27
February 2009). "Inside Man: Richard Donner on Inside Moves".
79.^ Mr. Beaks (19
February 2009). "Richard Donner And Mr. Beaks Talk INSIDE MOVES!". Aint It Cool
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81.^ "EXCLUSIVE: Leo
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83.^ Hollywood Hits
Home: Mel Gibson, film crew shoot scenes in Brownsville The Brownsville Herald
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October 2010. "Mel Gibson making a cameo comeback". Accessed 18 October 2010.
85.^ Cieply, Michael
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21 October 2010.
86.^ Jewish Leaders
Slam Mel Gibson and Warner Brothers for Judah Maccabee Movie.
88.^ DEVLIN, REBEKAH
(16 October 2007). "Star's family farewell father". The Advertiser. Retrieved 6
89.^ Clarkson, Wensley
(1993). Mel Gibson: Living Dangerously. New York: Thunder's Mouth Press. p. 125.
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April 2009). "INSIDE STORY: Meet Mel Gibson's Children — Mel Gibson". People.
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91.^ "Source: Tension
Between Mel Gibson and Wife Was Obvious". People. 15 April 2009. Retrieved 20
92.^ a b c d Deadline,
The (21 April 2011). "Exclusive: Mel Gibson Finally Talks –". Deadline.com.
Retrieved 24 July 2011.
93.^ "Mel Gibson's
marriage ends after 28 years and beach embrace pictures". The Daily Telegraph
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94.^ "Oksana #4 Appears
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95.^ "Mel Gibson's Ex
Wife Takes Half His Estimated $850 Million in Divorce Settlement". 23 December
2011. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
96.^ "Mel Gibson and
Oksana Grigorieva together at Wolverine premiere". news.com.au. 29 April 2009.
Retrieved 12 September 2010.
97.^ Gina DiNunno. "Mel
Gibson's Girlfriend Gives Birth to Baby Girl". TVGuide.com.
98.^ Leonard, Elizabeth
(25 May 2009). "Rep: Mel Gibson and Girlfriend Are Expecting!". People.
Retrieved 25 May 2009.
99.^ Elizabeth Leonard.
"Mel Gibson and Oksana Grigorieva Split". People.com.
100.^ a b Cavanagh,
Kristie (25 June 2010). "Oksana Grigorieva files domestic violence restraining
order against ex Mel Gibson". Daily News (New York). Retrieved 18 July 2010.
101.^ "Mel Gibson Files
Restraining Order Against Baby Mama Oksana Grigorieva". Fox News. 25 June 2010.
Retrieved 25 June 2010.
102.^ Barnett, Sophie
(7 July 2010). "Mel Faces Abuse Claims". MTV. Retrieved 9 July 2010.
103.^ a b "Mel Gibson
investigated for domestic violence". Vancouver Sun. 8 July 2010. Retrieved 9
July 2010.[dead link]
104.^ Mel Gibson denied
bid to reclassify estate as farm[dead link] 17 Jan 2005
105.^ Mel Gibson:
Hollywood Takes Sides 4 August 2006
106.^ Mel Gibson
selling up[dead link] 16 September 2004
Fijians may sue island-buying Mel Gibson". Sydney Morning Herald. 3 May 2005.
Retrieved 14 September 2007.
neighbor buys his Beartooth Ranch". Deseret News. 28 February 2005. Retrieved 14
September 2007.[dead link]
109.^ Mel Gibson
reportedly listing his Greenwich, CT estate for $39.5M; status of his Malibu
properties is uncertain[dead link] 12 July 2007
110.^ "Mel Gibson sells
Malibu home for $30 million: Star bought the property two years ago for $24
million". MSNBC. 30 July 2007. Retrieved 24 July 2011.
111.^ Brenoff, Ann (20
September 2008). "Mel Gibson buys Malibu home of David Duchovny and Téa Leoni".
Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 27 September 2008.
112.^ The Passion of
Mel Gibson 19 Jan. 2003, Time.com Accessed 9 September 2007
113.^ Clarkson, Wensley
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114.^ Davis, Ivor (18
January 1991). "Hello, Sweet Prince". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 19 July
115.^ Apple Inc. (8
December 2006). "Teaser Trailer. Frame 2546. Timecode 01:01:47:03. Time
00:01:46". Apple.com. Retrieved 12 July 2010.
116.^ "Actor and
Director Mel Gibson Donates $10 million." UCLA.edu Newsroom.
117.^ "Mel's $14m
donation." Sydney Morning Herald. 13 October 2004.
118.^ Oborne, Peter (16
July 2003). "Mel Gibson and Sting to fund David restoration". The Daily
Telegraph (UK). Retrieved 23 September 2007.[dead link]
119.^ "Meln An
Interview with John Clark". Quadrant Magazine. May 2004. Archived from the
original on 11 October 2007. Retrieved 23 September 2007.
120.^ "Enter the eco
warrior". The Star (Malaysia). 10 September 2007. Retrieved 13 September 2007.
121.^ "Mel Gibson Meets
With Costa Rican Leader." ABC News. 10 July 2007.
122.^ "Mel Gibson Backs
Green Rubber." EcoRazzi.com. 12 July 2007.
123.^ "Mel Gibson makes
S$25,000 donation to charity organisation". Channel NewsAsia. 14 September 2007.
Retrieved 14 September 2007.
124.^ "Angels at Risk".
Retrieved March 26 2012.
125.^ Mel and Robyn
Gibson Reunite for Conjoined Twins Birthday.
126.^ a b Boyer, Peter
J. The New Yorker. 15 September 2003
127.^ "Inside Mel
Gibson's "Passion"." Salon. 27 January 2004.
128.^ "Whose Passion?
Media, Faith & Controversy" panel discussion video, time 1:05
129.^ Martin, Allie and
Jenni Parker (20 February 2004). "Gibson's Words Fuel Controversy Already
Sparked By 'Passion'". Agape Press.
130.^ a b
Padgett/Veracruz, Tim. "Apocalypto Now." Time. 19 March 2006.
131.^ "Moore, Gibson: I
Love His Work." Fox News. 10 January 2005.
132.^ Keough, Peter.
"Not so hot: Fahrenheit 9/11 is more smoke than fire." Boston Phoenix. 25 June
133.^ Stein, Ruthe.
"'Fahrenheit 9/11' too hot for Disney." San Francisco Chronicle. 6 May 2004.
134.^ a b c Grobel,
Lawrence. "Interview: Mel Gibson". Playboy. July 1995. Vol. 42, No. 7, Pg. 51.
Retrieved 17 May 2006.
135.^ a b Nui Te Koka.
"Did I say that?" The Daily Telegraph. 30 January 1999, pg 33.
136.^ Grobel, Lawrence.
Grobel, Lawrence. The art of the interview: lessons from a master of the craft.
Three Rivers Press, 2004. ISBN 1-4000-5071-5. p. 151.
137.^ a b DeAngelis,
Michael. Gay Fandom and Crossover Stardom. Duke University Press, 2001. ISBN
Stands Athwart a Brave New World." National Review. 1 November 2004.
139.^ Rich, Frank (10
April 2005). "A Culture of Death, Not Life". New York Times. Retrieved 10 July
140.^ "Mel Gibson joins
stars to question Iraq war." Sydney Morning Herald. 18 March 2004.
141.^ a b Wockner, Rex.
"Mel Gibson, Circa 1992, "Refuses to Apologize to Gays"." San Francisco Bay
Times. 17 August 2006. Quote: Asked what he thought of gay people, he said,
"They take it up the ass." Gibson then proceeded to point at his posterior and
said: "This is only for taking a shit." When reminded that he had worked closely
with gay people at drama school, Gibson said, "They were good people, kind, I
like them. But their thing is not my thing." When the interviewer asked if
Gibson was afraid that people would think he is gay because he's an actor,
Gibson replied, "Do I sound like a homosexual? Do I talk like them? Do I move
like them? What happens is when you're an actor, they stick that label on you."
142.^ "Mel Gibson to
Meet Up-and-Coming Lesbian and Gay Filmmakers."[dead link] glaad.org.
143.^ Some criticism of
The Passion[dead link]
144.^ a b Pilkington,
Ed (2 July 2010). "Mel Gibson faces flak again after alleged racist rant". The
Guardian (UK). Retrieved 2 July 2010.
145.^ "Mel Gibson
'threatens to burn house down in new tape'". The Daily Telegraph (UK). 15 July
2010. Retrieved 15 July 2010.
Anthony (12 July 2010). "Gibson tape mentions alleged hitting of girlfriend".
Associated Press. Washington Post. Retrieved 12 July 2010.[dead link]
Internet posting of Gibson's alleged words". Radaronline.com. 12 July 2010.
Retrieved 24 July 2011.
Anthony. Source: Gibson's wife says no signs of abuse[dead link].
Georgina (16 July 2010). "Mel Gibson Tape Fabricated: Claims , Robyn Gibson
Supports Mel". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 21 July 2010.
150.^ Michael Cieply
(11 March 2011). "Mel Gibson in Plea Deal in Battering Case". The New York
151.^ The People of the
State of California v. Dale West, 3 Cal. 3d 595; 477 P.2d 409 (California
Supreme Court, 1970)
152.^ a b c "Website
Posts Recording of Gibson's Racist Rant, Actor Dropped by Talent Agency". Los
Angeles Times. 9 July 2010. Retrieved 9 July 2010.
153.^ Kaufman, Gil (2
July 2010). "Mel Gibson Condemned For Alleged Racist, Sexist Rant Against Ex".
MTV. Retrieved 2 July 2010.
154.^ "Rant aftermath a
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155.^ Murray, Elicia
and Garry Maddox (15 May 2008). "Mel opens up, but ever so fleetingly". The
Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 15 May 2008.
156.^ Seitz, Matt
Zoller (25 May 1995). "Mel Gibson talks about Braveheart, movie stardom, and
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157.^ Ryan, Tim (22
February 2004). "Mel Gibson's Passion". Honolulu Star-Bulletin.
158.^ Wright, Gerard (5
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20 July 2010.
159.^ The Advertiser.
22 September 1991
160.^ Higgins, Bill.
Los Angeles Times. 14 December 1992.
161.^ a b Vanity Fair,
162.^ "Mel Gibson
Apologizes for Tirade After Arrest". The New York Times. 30 July 2006.
163.^  Gibson's
Anti-Semitic Tirade – Alleged Cover Up; TMZ.com; 28 July 2006
statement about anti-Semitic remarks". MSNBC. 8 January 2006. Retrieved 12 July
165.^ "Mel Gibson's
Statement on His DUI Arrest". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 12 July
166.^ Stephen M.
Silverman (12 October 2006). "Mel Gibson Admits He Drank After Arrest".
Retrieved 4 June 2009.
167.^ a b c "Gibson
takes first starring role in six years". Guardian.uk.co (London). 29 April 2008.
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168.^ "Gibson Asks Jews
For Help To Find "Appropriate Path To Healing"". 3 July 20060.
169.^ "Mel Gibson
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170.^ "It's an Honour —
Honours — Search Australian Honours". Itsanhonour.gov.au. 25 July 1997.
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171.^ Daniel Vidoni.
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172.^ "Think You Know
Sexy?". People. 3 November 2005. Retrieved 12 July 2010.
Stephen. The Hollywood Reporter. 30 October 1995. "It was a definite decision to
make a protest against the nuclear tests", said Gibson, who is mad at French
President Jacques Chirac for deciding to detonate some bombs in the Pacific.
174.^ Michael Moore
Defends Cruise, Slags Gibson 16 September 2006
175.^ "AACTA - Past
Winners - 1979". AACTA.org. Retrieved 9 November 2011.
176.^ "AACTA - Past
Winners - 1981". AACTA.org. Retrieved 9 November 2011.
177.^ "People's Choice
Awards Nominees & Winners: 1991". PeoplesChoice.com. Retrieved 18 July 2010.
178.^ "People's Choice
Awards Nominees & Winners: 1997". PeoplesChoice.com. Retrieved 18 July 2010.
179.^ a b "People's
Choice Awards Nominees & Winners: 2001". PeoplesChoice.com. Retrieved 18 July
180.^ "People's Choice
Awards Nominees & Winners: 2003". PeoplesChoice.com. Retrieved 18 July 2010.
181.^ "People's Choice
Awards Nominees & Winners: 2004". PeoplesChoice.com. Retrieved 18 July 2010.
The Milwaukee Journal. 13 March 1993. Retrieved 18 July 2010.
Michelle (8 March 1996). "Travolta, Bullock honored". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved
18 July 2010.
184.^ BWW News Desk (25
March 2010). "Jennifer Garner and Sarah Silverman Added to All-Star Lineup
Honoring Matt Damon". Broadway World. Retrieved 18 July 2010.
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