Most of us know and love him the growling ferocious mutant from X-Men series, who has been winning over hearts as the character who is “the best at what he does”, except the fact that what he does is not only nice but is also extraordinary. Starting his career in Hollywood in 2000, Hugh Jackman had not the least idea that his debut will turn him into one of the most loved stars overnight. Ever since he wielded his adamantium claws on the silver screen, he etched himself on the hearts of his viewers, comic-book fans, and females alike. Some of his most memorable works include the period dramas- Kate & Leopold, The Prestige, Australia and Les Miserables, apart from his longest run as a superhero in the eight parts of the X-Men saga. It was at the ripe age of 30 when this charismatic actor got to taste major success. The range displayed by him, whether on screen or theatre, came to be appreciated by the critics as well as the audiences across the world. However, there is more to this ruggedly handsome Australian import that Hollywood has come to treasure than just his acting career, which endears him to each and every person that comes to him.
Born on October 12, 1968, to Grace McNeil and Christopher John Jackman in Australia, Hugh Michael Jackman is the youngest among the five children, and is of British, Irish and Greek descent- his paternal great-grandfather was Nicholas IsidorBellas, a Greek from the Ottoman Empire. His parents are English who had migrated to Australia, in 1967, as a part of Ten Pound Poms immigration. At the young age of * years, he had to witness his parents’ divorce with his mother moving back to England with his two sisters, whereas he stayed with his accountant father and two elder brothers, thus subjecting him to an unusual childhood. As it is often reported by him, this phase of his life taught him discipline and instilled in him a great deal of respect towards his father, whom he quotes as his “rock”. As a child, he had always liked outdoors, especially beaches, and most of his school holidays were spent on camping trips all over Australia. Being an inquisitive and creative kid, many questions raised in his mind regarding his career, ranging from being “a chef on a plane” to an actor. It was in 1991, during his final college year, when he landed the main role in the play, The Memorandum, that he developed a strong feeling towards acting as a career option. After graduating in BA (Communications) from University of Technology, Sydney, he completed one year course “The Journey” at the Actors’ Centre in Sydney. At this point, he was offered a role on the popular soap opera, Neighbours, which he declined and instead joined the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, Edith Cowan University, in Perth.
On the night of his final Academy graduation, he received a call offering him a role on Correlli, a prison drama, where he subsequently met his wife, Deborra Lee Furness, a famous Australian actress. Though the show lasted only one season, he often considers it to be the greatest thing to happen to him. After this, he tried his hands on stage performances in Melbourne and Sydney and a few Australian movies and TV shows, but it was in 1999 that he received his big break when he was offered the lead role in Oklahoma!, In Royal National Theatre, London’s West End. The show was well received and he received Olivier Award nomination and was considered for auditions in X-Men for the role of Wolverine. He replaced the then injured Dougray Scott at the last minute, four days after the project had begun. Standing a foot taller than the comic book character, Wolverine, the team was quite apprehensive about choosing Jackman for that role. The actor used to walk around in his living room with his claws to get used to them. His dedication and talent came to limelight when the movie was released. An unknown face had come to be loved by the audiences across the globe for doing justice to their favorite character. The success of X-Men was instrumental in setting a new trend for successful and well-executed comic book movies. After this, he went on to enhance and showcase his immense range, from a love-struck duke in Kate & Leopold, to a heart-warming womanizer in Someone Like You, and a slacking hacker in Swordfish. Several of these films failed to do well but his performance was appreciated in every role he undertook. His major commercial success relied on the X-Men series and action movies like Van Helsing. In the meantime, he also managed to garner critical acclaim for his performance as Peter Allen in ‘ The Boy From Oz’ for which he earned his first Tony Award. He also starred in some of the most underrated films, such as The Prestige and The Fountain, where his portrayal of complex characters has now generated a cult following a decade after their release. He has also lent his voice in several animation films and as a singer in various albums, most notable of them being in the musical adaptation of Les Miserables, released in 2012, for which he received his first Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award nomination. His other famous works include Real Steel, Eddie the Eagle, Chappie, Pan, and several others are underway, including the highly anticipated, The Greatest Showman on the Earth.
An ardent follower of practical philosophy since the age of 24, Jackman is an avid practitioner of transcendental meditation and maintains his record of being one of the fittest actors, which he attributes to sheer dedication and love towards his landmark role of Wolverine. Entitled as the ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ by People’s Magazine, in 2008, the father of two adopted kids, Oscar and Ava Jackman, and husband of 20 years to Deborra Lee Furness, he is one of the most bankable and sought after actors in Hollywood. He is also loved by his peers for being the nicest and most hardworking man in the show business, who always reaches on time, and makes it a point to befriend every person on the crew by buying them lottery tickets, every Friday, while he is shooting a film. He also started a production company with his longtime assistant, John Palermo, and wife, Deborra Lee, and has contributed to several projects such as Deception, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, The Wolverine, and Viva Laughlin.
Hugh Jackman, often quoted as “a triple threat”, is always a step ahead to give back to the community. His latest philanthropic business venture, Laughing Man Coffee, is a step he has taken in this direction, where all profits from the sales go directly to the coffee farmers in Ethiopia, to enable the indigenous people to get their share through direct marketing. Apart from this, he has often been reported to put up his personalized items for auction, and earnings from his stage show given in charity. The Jackmans have also been known to advocate for easier adoption policies in Australia, and are honorary members of Cancer Foundation and Global Poverty Project. He has often been named as one of the most influential people in the world, given his penchant for social work and extraordinary talent he has exhibited in every single performance in his career. His hard work, clean image, heroic gestures and loyalty towards his family and acquaintances, have set him apart from the rest of the industry, and also as a role model for the younger generation. This man is a miracle in himself, who has set the new standard of being a laid-back, suave, intelligent, gentleman, who also happens to be goofy and adorable at the same time.
As BazLuhrmann rightly pointed out-“In the old days, you’d have a dramatic actor, like Frank Sinatra, and the world would expect him to do From Here to Eternity, and he could also sing and dance and be a popular artist. That’s the same with Hugh. We haven’t seen that for a very long time- someone who’s a true song-and-dance man but is also a dramatic actor, and a card-carrying movie star”, this actor from Down Under is already a legend, and is getting only better with age.