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Hugh Jackman
Jackman at the Sydney premiere for Real Steel on September 2011
Jackman at the Sydney premiere for Real Steel, September 2011
Born Hugh Michael Jackman
12 October 1968 (age 43)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Occupation Actor
Years active 1994–present
Spouse Deborra-Lee Furness
(1996–present)
Hugh Michael Jackman (born 12 October 1968) is an Australian actor and producer who is involved in film, musical theatre, and television.
Jackman has won international recognition for his roles in major films, notably as action/superhero, period and romance characters. He is known for his role as Wolverine in the X-Men film series, as well as for his leads in Kate & Leopold, Van Helsing, The Prestige, Australia, and Real Steel. Jackman is a singer, dancer, and actor in stage musicals, and won a Tony Award for his role in The Boy from Oz.
In November 2008, Open Salon named Jackman one of the sexiest men alive.[1] Later that same month, People magazine named Jackman "Sexiest Man Alive."[2]
A three-time host of the Tony Awards, winning an Emmy Award for one of these appearances, Jackman also hosted the 81st Academy Awards on 22 February 2009.[3]

Early life

Jackman was born in Sydney, New South Wales, the youngest of five children of English parents Chris Jackman and Grace Watson, and the second child to be born in Australia (he also has a younger half-sister, from his mother's re-marriage).[4] One of his paternal great-grandfathers was Greek.[5] His parents divorced when he was eight, and he remained with his accountant father and siblings, while his mother moved back to England.[6] As a child, Jackman liked the outdoors, spending a lot of time at the beach and on camping trips and vacations all over Australia. He wanted to see the world: "I used to spend nights looking at atlases. I decided I wanted to be a chef on a plane. Because I'd been on a plane and there was food on board, I presumed there was a chef. I thought that would be an ideal job."[7]
Jackman went to primary school at Pymble Public School and later attended the all-boys Knox Grammar School, where he starred in its production of My Fair Lady in 1985, and became the captain of the school in 1986.[8] Following graduation, he spent a gap year working at Uppingham School in England.[9] On his return, he studied at the University of Technology, Sydney, graduating in 1991 with a BA in Communications.[10] In his final year of university, he took a drama course to make up additional credits. The class did Václav Havel's The Memorandum with Jackman as the lead.[4] He later commented, "In that week I felt more at home with those people than I did in the entire three years [at university]".[11]
After obtaining his BA, Jackman completed the one-year course "The Journey" at the Actors' Centre in Sydney.[4] About studying acting full-time, he stated, "It wasn't until I was 22 that I ever thought about my hobby being something I could make a living out of. As a boy, I'd always had an interest in theater. But the idea at my school was that drama and music were to round out the man. It wasn't what one did for a living. I got over that. I found the courage to stand up and say, 'I want to do it'."[7] After completing "The Journey", he was offered a role on the popular soap opera Neighbours but turned it down[12] to attend the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts of Edith Cowan University in Perth, Western Australia, from which he graduated in 1994.[13]
Jackman has said he "always loved acting but when I started at drama school I was like the dunce of the class. It just wasn’t coming right to me. Everyone was cooler, everyone seemed more likely to succeed, everyone seemed more natural at it and in retrospect I think that is good. I think it is good to come from behind as an actor. I think it is good to go into an audition thinking 'Man I’ve got to be at my best to get this gig.'"[14]

Career

Early work

On the night of his final Academy graduation performance, Jackman received a phone call offering him a role on Correlli: "I was technically unemployed for thirteen seconds." Correlli, devised by Australian actress Denise Roberts, was a 10-part drama series on ABC, Jackman's first major professional job, and where he met his future wife Deborra-Lee Furness: "Meeting my wife was the greatest thing to come out of it."[7] The show lasted only one season.
After Correlli Jackman went on the stage in Melbourne. In 1996, Jackman played Gaston in the local Walt Disney production of Beauty and the Beast, and Joe Gillis in Sunset Boulevard.[4] During his stage musical career in Melbourne, he starred in the 1998 Midsumma festival cabaret production Summa Cabaret. He also hosted Melbourne's Carols by Candlelight and Sydney's Carols in the Domain.
Jackman's early film work includes Erskineville Kings and Paperback Hero (1999), and his television work includes Law of the Land, Halifax f.p., Blue Heelers, and Banjo Paterson's The Man from Snowy River.

Oklahoma!

Jackman became known outside of Australia in 1998, when he played the leading role of Curly in the Royal National Theatre's acclaimed stage production of Oklahoma!, in London's West End.[4] The performance earned him an Olivier Award nomination for Best Actor in a Musical. Jackman said "I totally felt like it can't get any better than this. On some level that production will be one of the highlights of my career."[7] He also starred in the 1999 film version of the same stage musical, which has been screened in many countries.

X-Men

Jackman at the X-Men Origins: Wolverine premiere, April 2009.
In 1999, Jackman was cast as Wolverine in Bryan Singer's X-Men (2000), replacing Dougray Scott. His co-stars included Patrick Stewart, James Marsden, Famke Janssen, and Ian McKellen. According to a CBS interview in November 2006, Jackman's wife Deborra-Lee Furness told him not to take the role, a comment she later told him she was glad he ignored.
Wolverine was tough for Jackman to portray because he had few lines, but a lot of emotion to convey in them. To prepare, he watched Clint Eastwood in the Dirty Harry movies and Mel Gibson in Road Warrior. "Here were guys who had relatively little dialogue, like Wolverine had, but you knew and felt everything. I'm not normally one to copy, but I wanted to see how these guys achieved it."[7] Jackman was adamant about doing his own stunts for the movie. "We worked a lot on the movement style of Wolverine, and I studied some martial arts. I watched a lot of Mike Tyson fights, especially his early fights. There's something about his style, the animal rage, that seemed right for Wolverine. I kept saying to the writers, 'Don't give me long, choreographed fights for the sake of it. Don't make the fights pretty."[7]
Jackman also had to get used to wearing Wolverine's claws. "Every day in my living room, I'd just walk around with those claws, to get used to them. I've got scars on one leg, punctures straight through the cheek, on my forehead. I'm a bit clumsy. I'm lucky I didn't tell them that when I auditioned."[7]
Jackman, at 6 feet 2.5 inches (1.89 m),[15] stands a foot taller than Wolverine, who is said in the original comic book to be 5 feet 3 inches (1.60 m).[16] Hence, the filmmakers were frequently forced to shoot Jackman at unusual angles or only from the waist up to make him appear shorter than he actually is, and his co-stars wore platform soles. Jackman was also required to add a great deal of muscle for the role, and in preparing for the fourth film in the series, he bench-pressed over 300 pounds.[17] An instant star upon the film's release, Jackman later reprised his role in 2003's X2: X-Men United, 2006's X-Men: The Last Stand, and 2009's X-Men Origins: Wolverine. He also cameos as Wolverine in 2011's X-Men: First Class.

2001

Jackman starred as Leopold in the 2001 romantic comedy film Kate & Leopold, a role for which he received a Best Actor Golden Globe nomination.[4] Jackman plays a Victorian English duke who accidentally time-travels to 21st-century Manhattan, where he meets Kate (Meg Ryan), a cynical advertising executive. In 2001, Jackman also starred in the action/drama Swordfish with John Travolta and Halle Berry. This was the second time Jackman worked with Berry, and the two have worked together twice more in the X-Men movies.
He hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live in 2001.[18]

2002–2011 (Stage)

Local advertising for the musical The Boy from Oz starring Jackman in New York City (2004)
In 2002, Jackman sang the role of Billy Bigelow in the musical Carousel in a special concert performance at Carnegie Hall with the Orchestra of St. Luke's.
In 2004, Jackman won the Tony Award and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical for his 2003–2004 Broadway portrayal of Australian songwriter and performer Peter Allen in the hit musical The Boy from Oz, which he also performed in Australia in 2006.[4] In addition, Jackman hosted the Tony Awards in 2003, 2004, and 2005, garnering positive reviews. His hosting of the 2004 Tony Awards earned him an Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Performer in a Variety, Musical or Comedy program.
Jackman co-starred with Daniel Craig on Broadway at the Schoenfeld Theatre in a limited engagement of the play A Steady Rain, which ran from 10 September 2009 to 6 December 2009.[19]
He returned to Broadway in a new show, Hugh Jackman, Back on Broadway at the Broadhurst Theatre, which began performances on 25 October 2011 and concluded on 1 January 2012.[20]

2003–2008 (Films)

After 2003's X2: X-Men United, Jackman played the title role of monster killer Gabriel Van Helsing in the 2004 film Van Helsing.[4] Jackman and the film were noted in Bruce A. McClelland's book "Slayers and Their Vampires: A Cultural History of Killing the Dead".
Jackman was one of the choices to play James Bond in 2006's Casino Royale, but eventually lost out to Daniel Craig.[21] Jackman starred in the 2006 film The Prestige, directed by Christopher Nolan and co-starring Christian Bale, Michael Caine, and Scarlett Johansson. As Robert Angier, Jackman portrayed a magician who built up a rivalry with contemporary Alfred Borden in attempt to one-up each other in the art of deception. Jackman stated that his main reason for doing The Prestige was to work with the musician David Bowie, who played scientist Nikola Tesla.
Hugh Jackman and Ryan Reynolds (right) at the X-Men Origins: Wolverine premiere in Tempe, Arizona (2009)
Jackman portrayed three different characters in Darren Aronofsky's science-fiction film The Fountain: Tommy Creo, a neuroscientist, who's torn between his wife, Izzi (Rachel Weisz) who is dying of a brain tumor, and his work at trying to cure her; Captain Tomas Creo, a Spanish Conquistador in 1532 Seville; and a future astronaut, Tom, travelling to a golden nebula in an eco-spacecraft seeking to be reunited with Izzi. Jackman said The Fountain was his most difficult film thus far due to the physical and emotional demands of the part.
Jackman also starred in Woody Allen's 2006 film Scoop opposite Scarlett Johansson. That year he also reprised the role of Wolverine in X-Men: The Last Stand. He rounded out 2006 with two animated films: Happy Feet, directed by George Miller, in which he voiced the part of Memphis, an emperor penguin; and Flushed Away, where Jackman supplied the voice of a rat named Roddy who ends up being flushed down a family's toilet into the London sewer system. Flushed Away co-starred Kate Winslet and Ian McKellen (Jackman's fourth time working with him).
In 2007, Jackman produced and guest-starred in the television musical-dramedy series Viva Laughlin, which was canceled by CBS after two episodes. Jackman's 2008 movies included Deception (which he starred in and produced), Uncle Jonny, and Australia.

Australia

In 2008, director Baz Luhrmann cast Jackman to replace Russell Crowe as the male lead in his much-publicized epic film, Australia, which co-starred Nicole Kidman. The movie was released in late November 2008 in Australia and the U.S.
Jackman played a tough, independent cattle drover, who reluctantly helps an English noblewoman in her quest to save both her philandering husband's Australian cattle station and the half-caste Aboriginal child she finds there.
Of the movie, Jackman said, "This is pretty much one of those roles that had me pinching myself all the way through the shoot. I got to shoot a big-budget, shamelessly old-fashioned romantic epic set against one of the most turbulent times in my native country's history, while, at the same time, celebrating that country's natural beauty, its people, its cultures.... I'll die a happy man knowing I've got this film on my CV."[22]

2009 to present

Jackman's X-Men spin-off film, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, opened in 2009.
Jackman had a one-man show at the Curran Theatre in San Francisco from 3–15 May 2011.[23] The production was a mixture of his favorite Broadway and Hollywood musical numbers, backed by a 17-piece orchestra, from shows including Oklahoma and The Boy from Oz. The show had a run-time of approximately 100 minutes, and also included slide shows of Jackman's youth, family, and work, as well as some one-on-one interaction with the audience. Jackman was backed by fellow musical theatre veterans Merle Dandridge and Angel Reda.[24][25]

Future projects

Production company

In 2005, Jackman joined with longtime assistant John Palermo to form a production company, Seed Productions, whose first project was Viva Laughlin in 2007. Jackman's wife Deborra-Lee Furness is also involved in the company, and Palermo had three rings made with a "unity" inscription for himself, Furness, and Jackman.[34] Jackman said, "I'm very lucky in the partners I work with in my life, Deb and John Palermo. It really works. We all have different strengths. I love it. It's very exciting."[35]
The Fox-based Seed label has grown in size to include execs Amanda Schweitzer, Kathryn Tamblyn, Allan Mandelbaum and Joe Marino, with Alana Free operating the Sydney-based production office whose goal is to mount modest-budget films to harness local talent in Jackman's home country.

Other interests

Charity work

Jackman aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge in New York (2006)
As a philanthropist, Jackman is a longtime proponent of microcredit – the extension of very small loans to prospective entrepreneurs in impoverished countries. He is a vocal supporter of Muhammad Yunus, microcredit pioneer and the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner.[36][37][38]
Jackman is a global advisor of the Global Poverty Project, for which he narrated a documentary;[39] and he and the project's founder Hugh Evans visited the UN for the cause in 2009.[40] Jackman hosted a preview of the Global Poverty Project Presentation in New York together with Donna Karan, Lisa Fox and his wife Deborra-Lee.[41] He is also a World Vision ambassador and participated in the climate week NYC ceremony on 21 September 2009.[42][43]
Jackman supports The Art of Elysium[44] and the MPTV Fund Foundation,[45] and he and his wife Deborra-Lee Furness are patrons of the Bone Marrow Institute in Australia.[46] Jackman also narrated the 2008 documentary about global warming, The Burning Season.[47]
Jackman also uses his Twitter account for charity. On 14 April 2009 Jackman posted on his Twitter page that he would donate $100,000 to one individual's favorite non profit organization.[48] On 21 April 2009 he revealed his decision to donate $50,000 to Charity:Water and $50,000 to Operation of Hope.[49][50]
Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig made a unique place for themselves in the history of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS fundraising 8 December 2009, when it was announced that they had raised $1,549,953 in the 21st annual Gypsy of the Year competition, from six weeks of curtain appeals at their hit Broadway drama, A Steady Rain.[51]

Sports and other activities

Jackman and Furness at Mumbai International Airport to attend FICCI – Frames film convention, 2011[52]
Jackman has shown keen interest in sports. In high school, he played rugby union and cricket, took part in high jumping and was on the swimming team.[4] He enjoys basketball and kayaking.[53] He has expressed an interest in football, committing his support to Norwich City FC.[54] In the United States, Jackman supports the Philadelphia Union of Major League Soccer, attending a game at PPL Park in June 2010.[55] On 22 June 2011, Jackman again attended a home Union match against Sporting KC, sitting in front of the Sons of Ben supporters section, nicknamed "The River End".
Jackman is a longtime fan and supporter of the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, a National Rugby League (NRL) club based in Sydney's north.[56] He sang the national anthem at the 1999 NRL Grand Final.[57]
Jackman also guest starred on the 19 September 2011 edition of WWE Monday Night Raw, assisting Zack Ryder in a win over WWE United States Champion Dolph Ziggler. Jackman helped "Long Island Iced Z" get the 3 count in a non-title match by punching the champion in the jaw whilst the referee was not looking.[58][59]
Jackman plays the piano,[60] does yoga,[61] and has been a member of the School of Practical Philosophy since 1992.[62]

Personal life

Jackman married Deborra-Lee Furness on 11 April 1996. They met on Correlli, an Australian television series. Jackman personally designed an engagement ring for Furness, and their wedding rings bore the Sanskrit inscription "Om paramar mainamar", translated as "we dedicate our union to a greater source".[63]
Furness had two miscarriages,[64] following which she and Jackman adopted two children, Oscar Maximillian (born 15 May 2000)[65] and Ava Eliot (born 10 July 2005).[66]

Filmography

Year Film Role Notes
1994 Law of the Land Charles McCray 1 episode
1995 Correlli Kevin Jones 10 episodes
1995 Blue Heelers Brady Jackson 1 episode
1996 The Man from Snowy River Duncan Jones 5 episodes
1999 Erskineville Kings Wace Film Critics Circle of Australia Award for Best Actor
Nominated – Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actor
1999 Paperback Hero Jack Willis
2000 X-Men Logan / Wolverine Saturn Award for Best Actor
2001 Kate & Leopold Leopold Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
2001 Someone Like You Eddie
2001 Swordfish Stanley Jobson
2003 X2 Logan / Wolverine Nominated – Empire Award for Best Actor
2004 Van Helsing Gabriel Van Helsing
2004 Van Helsing: The London Assignment Gabriel Van Helsing (voice)
2005 Stories of Lost Souls Roger segment "Standing Room Only"
2006 Happy Feet Memphis (voice)
2006 Flushed Away Roddy (voice)
2006 The Prestige Robert Angier Nominated – Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actor
2006 The Fountain Tomas / Tommy / Tom Creo Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama
2006 Scoop Peter Lyman
2006 X-Men: The Last Stand Logan / Wolverine
2007 Viva Laughlin Nicky Fontana TV series, also executive producer
2008 Deception Wyatt Bose Producer
2008 Uncle Jonny Uncle Russell
2008 Australia The Drover Nominated – Teen Choice Award for Choice Actor in a Drama
2008 The Burning Season Narrator Documentary
2009 X-Men Origins: Wolverine Logan / Wolverine Also producer
2011 X-Men: First Class Logan / Wolverine Uncredited cameo
IGN Award for Favorite Cameo[67]
Scream Award for Best Cameo
2011 Snow Flower and the Secret Fan Arthur
2011 Real Steel Charlie Kenton People's Choice Award for Favorite Action Movie Actor
Nominated - People's Choice Award for Favorite Movie Actor
2012 Butter Boyd Bolton Post-production
2012 Rise of the Guardians Bunnymund (Easter Bunny) (voice); Post-production
2012 Les Misérables Jean Valjean Post-production
2012 A Night out with Friends himself special appearance
2013 The Wolverine Logan / Wolverine

Awards and nominations

Awards

Jackman's signature at Grauman's Chinese Theatre

Nominations

Mentions in popular culture

  • Jackman was chosen as People magazine's Sexiest Man Alive of 2008.[2]
  • In the ABC comedy-drama Scrubs, one of the more prominent running gags is Dr. Cox's (John C. McGinley) seemingly irrational hatred of Jackman.
  • In the 7th season of Punk'd, Jackman was led to believe that he had accidentally blown up director Brett Ratner's house.[69]
  • On the Season 6, Episode 13 of Will & Grace, which aired on 10 February 2004, the character Jack McFarland (Sean Hayes), mentions he is going to see The Boy From Oz, because he can not wait to see Hugh Jackman.[70] He later discusses wanting to sue Jackman for stealing some of his dance moves.

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