Despite a thick Australian accent in some of his earlier films, actor Mel Gibson was born in Peeksill, NY, to Irish Catholic parents. One of eleven children, Gibson didn't set foot in Australia until 1968, and only developed an Aussie accent after his classmates teased him for his American tongue. Mel Gibson's looks have certainly helped him develop a largely female following similar to the equally rugged Harrison Ford, but since his 1976 screen debut in Summer City, Gibson has been recognized as a critical as well as physiological success.
Though he had, at one point, set his sights on journalism, Gibson caught the acting bug by the time he had reached college age, and studied at the National Institute of Dramatic Art in Sydney, Australia, despite what he describes as a crippling ordeal with stage fright. Luckily, this was something he overcame relatively quickly -- Gibson was still a student when he filmed Summer City and it didn't take long before he had found work playing supporting roles for the South Australia Theatre Company after his graduation.