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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 August 2006, 17:18 GMT 18:18 UK
Mel Gibson's controversial career
Film-maker Mel Gibson's anti-Semitic outburst during a drink-drive arrest is the latest dramatic incident in a career that has combined success with controversy.

Mel Gibson at the 1996 Oscars
Gibson was named best director at the 1996 Academy Awards
Born in New York, Mel Gibson was the sixth of 11 children and moved to Australia in 1968 after his father won an injury payout and the TV quiz Jeopardy.

After being teased for being a "Yank", he adopted an Australian accent and later studied at the Australian National Institute of Dramatic Arts.

While there, he played Romeo opposite Judy Davis' Juliet and shared accommodation with Geoffrey Rush.

Like Kylie Minogue, he started his screen career with a role in TV soap The Sullivans before finding film fame in Mad Max in 1979.

The futuristic adventure became an unexpected hit, taking $100m (53m) around the world and spawning two sequels.

Global hit

More acclaimed roles in war drama Gallipoli and The Year of Living Dangerously - both directed by Peter Weir - followed before his hugely successful appearance in 1987's cop thriller Lethal Weapon.

It was around this time he began his battle with alcohol that he has blamed for his "vitriolic and harmful words" during his arrest.

Mel Gibson in The Patriot
He has remained one of Hollywood's biggest box office stars
Lethal Weapon was a global smash and established Gibson on the Hollywood A-list, with its three sequels helping both his image and bank balance.

But he wanted to prove he was more than a Hollywood hunk, winning critical praise in Hamlet in 1990 before directing his first film, The Man Without a Face, three years later.

The next film he directed, historical epic Braveheart, scored five Oscars in 1996, including best picture and best director.

Braveheart was a commercial hit, although some questioned its anti-English bias - the same charge levelled against his 2000 film, The Patriot.

Thanks to further successes like Ransom, Signs and What Women Want, his acting fee reportedly reached $25m (13.3m) per film.

Vocal opposition

But his religious faith drew him to risk public censure and ridicule by co-writing, directing, producing and financing The Passion of the Christ in 2004.

His radical and visceral retelling of Jesus' crucifixion, with dialogue entirely in Aramaic and Latin, took more than $600m (320m) at box offices worldwide.

The Passion of the Christ
Jim Caviezel (left) played the title role in The Passion of the Christ
But its success did not insulate its director from charges of anti-Semitism which he vigorously denied.

Gibson himself is a conservative Catholic and has been vocal about his opposition to abortion, birth control and divorce.

But his religious views are not as conservative as those held by his father Hutton, who set up a group called Alliance for Catholic Tradition and has questioned the extent of the Holocaust.

Mel Gibson has avoided publicly criticising his 87-year-old father, saying: "He never denied the Holocaust - he just said there were fewer than six million."

Gibson admits anti-Jewish remarks
01 Aug 06 |  Entertainment
Hollywood reacts to Gibson furore
01 Aug 06 |  Entertainment
Gibson 'outburst' under spotlight
31 Jul 06 |  Entertainment
Drink-driving Gibson says sorry
30 Jul 06 |  Entertainment
Gibson charged with drink-driving
28 Jul 06 |  Entertainment


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