Born in Australia in 1968, Hugh Jackman began his acting career on stage, appearing in several Melbourne musicals, and later won a Tony Award for his role as Peter Allen in The Boy from Oz. Additionally, Jackman has won international recognition for his roles as superheroes, most notably as Wolverine in the X-Men film series, as well as parts in such films as Kate & Leopold, Van Helsing, The Prestige, Australia and Les Miserables. He was named People magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive" in 2008.
Hugh Michael Jackman was born on October 12, 1968, in Sydney, Australia. The youngest of five children, Jackman was 8 when his mother left the family, and he and his siblings were largely raised by their father. He attended the exclusive Knox Grammar School and graduated from the University of Technology, Sydney. He got his first taste of professional acting on the stage, appearing in several Melbourne musicals. He soon entered the international scene, earning critical praise for his portrayals of Curly in Oklahoma! in London and Billy Bigelo in Carousel in New York City.
To mainstream audiences, Jackman is perhaps best known for the role of Wolverine in the American film X-Men (2000). Other early films include Swordfish (2001), Kate and Leopold (2001) and Van Helsing (2004). Despite his growing big-screen career, Jackman remains true to his stage roots. In 2004, he won a Tony Award for his lead role in Broadway's The Boy from Oz (2003-04). The following year, he won an Emmy Award for his turn as host of the 2005 Tony Awards.
Back on the big screen, Jackman returned as one of his most famous characters, Wolverine, for X-Men: The Last Stand (2006). The action film proved to be a big success, earning more than $234 million at the box office. Working with director Woody Allen, Jackman starred in the mystery Scoop (2006) with Scarlett Johansson. He next appeared with co-star Christian Bale in the historical drama The Prestige (2006), a film about two rival magicians in Victorian-era England.
Also in 2006, Jackman leant his voice to two animated feature films: Flushed Away and Happy Feet. He did some work on the small screen as well, appearing in the short-lived musical dramatic series Viva Laughlin in 2007. His 2008 thriller, Deception, failed to make much of an impression on the movie-going public, earning only $4.6 million at the box office.
Later that year, Jackman's highly anticipated work with fellow Australians Nicole Kidman and Baz Luhrmann was released. Epic in its scope, Australia (2008) tells the story of an English woman (Kidman) who travels to the outback to find her husband, and ends up fighting for the land she inherited after his death. She is helped by a local man, played by Jackman, and the two become an unlikely romantic couple. The film received mixed reviews and was a box office disappointment.
Commercial Success and Recognition
Despite these setbacks, Jackman remains one of the most popular actors working today. He was named "Sexiest Man Alive" by People magazine in December of 2008, joining the ranks of such past recipients as George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon.
Jackman also had the distinction of serving as the host of the Academy Awards in February of 2009. His next big film project, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, was released the following summer. He soon followed up his summer blockbuster with several smaller pictures. In Real Steel (2011), Jackman played a father builds a better relationship with his son through training a fighting robot. He also appeared in the comedy Butter that same year.
In 2012, Jackman helped bring one of the most famous musicals of all time to the big screen: He starred in Les Miserables with Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried and Russell Crowe. In the film, Jackman plays Jean Valjean, a former prisoner who tries to hold on to the new life he has built for himself. Russell Crowe portrays the police officer on his trail. In January 2013, Jackman received a Golden Globe Award (best actor in a musical or comedy) for his Les Miserables performance. For his acclaimed role in Les Mis, Jackman was nominated for an Academy Award in 2013 in the category of Best Actor, but lost to Daniel Day-Lewis for his role in Lincoln.
On December 13, 2012, Jackman was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. According to the Los Angeles Times, Jackman stated during the momentous event, "I believe this is the 2,487th star on the Walk of Fame. However, apart from Lassie, I'm the only one who's gotten it for playing the same character in 15 movies."
After the immense success of Les Mis, Jackman took on a lighter film role in the comedy Movie 43 (2013). The film had several A-list names attached, including Dennis Quaid, Halle Berry, Kate Winslet, Richard Gere, Gerard Butler and Emma Stone, among several others. However, even with a star-studded cast, the film was highly criticized and did far worse than expected at the box office.
He reprised his role as as Wolverine in his next two roles, starring in The Wolverine (2013) and X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014). Jackman took on lead roles as the popular mutant hero in both films, and stars alongside other actors who have also reprised their roles from previous X-Men films, including Jennifer Lawrence, Patrick Stewart and James McAvoy. Jackman has also continued to stay connected to his stage roots, hosting the 2014 Tony Awards.
In 2015, Jackman stepped into the role of the villain, playing the pirate Blackbeard in the Peter Pan-inspired fantasy Pan.
In 2016, Jackman starred as ski coach Bronson Peary in the biopic, Eddie the Eagle, about Olympic ski jumper Michael “Eddie” Edwards, and he made a cameo appearance in X-Men: Apocalypse. He made his last appearance as Wolverine in the 2017 blockbuster hit Logan, his ninth movie in the franchise. “I know this doesn’t sound right coming from an Australian, but at some point, you’ve got to leave the party,” he joked in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. “It’s time to go home.”
Jackman is slated to appear as famed promoter and Barnum & Bailey Circus founder P.T. Barnum in The Greatest Showman, which is scheduled for release in December 2017.
Married since 1996, Jackman and his wife, actress Deborra-Lee Furness, live in Melbourne, Australia, with their two adopted children, Oscar Maximilian and Ava Eliot. They met while making the Australian television show Correlli (1995). Jackman has been treated for basal cell carcinoma, the most common form of skin cancer, and has advocated for prevention and screenings on his social media networks.
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