Hollywood Icon? Or Anti-Semitic, Misogynist Jerk?
Actor/Director Mel Gibson's life path can be described as a roller-coaster ride on steroids. Beginning with his first Mad Max movie in 1979, where he played a loner surviving in a post-nuclear world, to his controversial 2004 blockbuster, "The Passion of the Christ," Gibson's talents remained unparalleled.
He won multiple Academy Awards for Braveheart, the 1995 film in which he played William Wallace, a thirteenth-century Scot who fought to overthrow British rule. He was named best director by the Academy, and his portrayal of Wallace garnered him the Oscar for best performance by an actor in a leading role.
He starred in the successful Lethal Weapon franchise opposite Danny Glover. He even played Shakespeare's Hamlet to perfection. Fans flocked to his movies -- Gallipoli, What Women Want and Mutiny on the Bounty, to name a few.
In addition to his obvious talents as actor and director, in 1985 he was named People Magazine's first ever Sexiest Man Alive. Female fans were taken with the actor's raven hair, piercing blue eyes and rugged good looks.
So what happened?
(photo courtesy of Alan Light, wikimedia commons)
From Mad Max to Mad Mel
Gibson's Downward Spiral
Mel Gibson never denied he had a life-long problem with alcoholism. But his personal demons turned public when, in July 2006, he was arrested for drunk driving. Once word leaked out that he had hurled anti-semitic barbs at one of the arresting officers, all Mel broke loose.
The incident strained his decades-long marriage to wife Robyn, mother of his seven children. (Mel professed to being a strictly conservative Catholic, thus shunning artificial birth control.) The fact that he had been "socializing" in a bar with women prior to the drunk-driving arrest probably did not sit well with the long-suffering Robyn.
The 2006 incident was mild when compared to what was to occur a few years down the road. Following the 2006 incident, Mel and Robyn separated and eventually divorced. Mel now had a new girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva, and the two had a daughter together.
In July 2010, Mel lost it again. In a telephone call to Oksana -- with whom he was estranged -- Mel launched a verbal tirade against the mother of his daughter. Violent and misogynistic were two words the press used to describe this latest Mel(t)-down. Oksana recorded Mel's ferocious outbursts and the video went viral. Mel was dropped by his long-time agents. The actor was now seen as a liability.
The Mel Gibson Controversy
Should Mel get a second chance in Hollywood?
A future for Mel?
Jodie Foster to the Rescue
Actor/Director Jodie Foster co-starred with Gibson in the movie Maverick. She believes in Mel and chose him to star in the 2011 movie the Beaver." Mel plays a man who can only communicate with his family with the help of a hand-puppet, a beaver.
His performance has Oscar written all over it; however, Mel's performance was long forgotten by Hollywood insiders at the February 2012 announcements of the upcoming 2012 Academy Awards.
Only time -- and Mel's future behavior -- will tell if Mel Gibson has a future as Hollywood actor and reasonable human being.