Mel Columcille Gerard Gibson was born January 3, 1956 in Peekskill, New York, USA, as the sixth of eleven children of Hutton Gibson, a railroad brakeman, and Anne Patricia (Reilly) Gibson (who died in December of 1990). His mother was Irish, from County Longford, while his American-born father is of mostly Irish descent.
Mel and his family moved to Australia in the late 1960s, settling in New South Wales, where Mel's paternal grandmother, contralto opera singer Eva Mylott, was born. After high school, Mel studied at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, performing at the National Institute of Dramatic Arts alongside future film thespians Judy Davis and Geoffrey Rush.
After college, Mel had a few stints on stage and starred in a few TV shows. Eventually, he was chosen to star in the films Mad Max (1979) and Tim (1979), co-starring Piper Laurie. The small budgeted Mad Max made him known worldwide, while Tim garnered him an award for Best Actor from the Australian Film Institute