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Mel Columcille Gerard Gibson (born January 3, 1956) is an American-born actor, director, and producer raised primarily in Australia. After establishing himself as a household name with the Mad Max and Lethal Weapon series, Gibson went on to direct and star in the Academy Award-winning Braveheart. Gibson's direction of Braveheart made him the sixth actor-turned-filmmaker to receive an Oscar for Best Director. In 2004, he directed and produced The Passion of the Christ, a blockbuster movie that portrayed the last hours of the life of Jesus. Gibson is an honorary Officer of the Order of Australia and was ranked the world's most powerful celebrity in the annual list by Forbes magazine in 2004.
Gibson is a native-born United States citizen, being born in Peekskill, New York, the sixth of eleven children. He is the son of Hutton Gibson and Anne Reilly Gibson, who was born in Columcille Parish, County Longford, Ireland. His paternal grandmother was the Australian opera singer, Eva Mylott. One of Mel's younger brothers, Donal, is also an actor. Gibson's first name comes from a 5th century Irish saint, Mel, founder of the diocese of Ardagh containing most of his mother's native county, while his second name, Columcille is also linked to an Irish saint. Columcille is the name of the parish in County Longford where Anne Reilly was born and raised.
Hutton Gibson relocated his family to Sydney, Australia in 1968, after winning a work related injury lawsuit against New York Central. After a seven day trial on February 14, 1968, the jury awarded him $145,000. The family moved when Gibson was twelve.
Gibson received two Academy Awards, Best Director and Best Picture, for his 1995 direction of Braveheart. In the movie, Gibson starred as Sir William Wallace, a thirteenth-century Scottish freedom fighter.