Mel Colm-Cille Gerard Gibson AO (born January 3, 1956) is an American actor and filmmaker. He is most well known as an action hero, for roles such as Martin Riggs in the Lethal Weapon buddy cop film series and Max Rockatansky in the first three films in the Mad Max post-apocalyptic action series.
He was born in Peekskill, New York, and moved with his parents to Sydney when he was 12 years old. He studied acting at the Australian National Institute of Dramatic Art. During the 1980s, Gibson founded Icon Entertainment, a production company which independent film director Atom Egoyan has called, "an alternative to the studio system." Director Peter Weir cast Gibson as one of the leads in the critically acclaimed World War I drama Gallipoli (1981), which earned Gibson a Best Actor Award from the Australian Film Institute. The film also helped to earn Gibson the reputation of a serious, versatile actor.
In 1995, Gibson produced, directed, and starred in the epic historical drama film Braveheart, for which he won the Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Director, along with the Academy Award for Best Picture. In 2004, he directed and produced the financially successful, but controversial, biblical drama film The Passion of the Christ. Gibson received further critical notice for his directorial work of the 2006 action-adventure film Apocalypto, which is set in Mesoamerica during the early 16th century.