Hugh Jackman, born Hugh Michael Jackman, is an Australian actor, singer, and producer. He’s known for his versatility on screen starring in a variety of genres. He’s graced the big screen in films such as the X-Men series, Kate & Leopold, The Fountain, and the film version of Les Misérables. Additionally, he has won several Oscars and awards for his acting ability and hosted the 81st Academy Awards in 2009.
Jackman was born in Sydney, New South Wales to mother, Grace McNeil and father, Christopher John Jackman. Both of his parents were born in England but moved to Australia in 1967. Jackman has four older siblings, two brothers and two sisters namely, Ralph, Zoe, Sonya, and Ian. He also has one half-sister from his mother’s remarriage. Jackman’s parents split up when he was eight years old. He remained in Australia with his father and two brothers, while his mother moved back to England with his two sisters.
As a child, Jackman was said to be quite the outdoorsman with a keen interest in spending time at the beach and going on camping trips. He admits that he wanted to see the world and says that, “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.”
Jackman attended Pymble Public School and later, Knox Grammar School – an all-boys high school on Sydney’s Upper North Shore. It was in high school that Jackman began getting involved in acting and the theatre, starring in the school production of My Fair Lady in 1985.
When he completed high school, he travelled to England where he spent a year working as a PE teacher at Uppingham School. When he returned to Australia he decided to began his tertiary education, doing a BA in Communications. In his last year, he took on a drama class in order to make up for missing credits. That year, he starred as the lead in the production of The Memorandum. He commented on his experience by saying, “In that week I felt more at home with those people than I did in the entire three years [at university]”.
Once Jackman completed his degree, he did a one-year course at an actor’s centre in Sydney, entitled The Journey. He says, “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 theatre. 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’.”
After completing the course, Jackman was offered a role on the hit Australian soap opera show, Neighbours, but turned it down. He decided that he would attend the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts in Perth instead, and graduated in 1994.
Jackman says that 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.'”
Jackman’s career began almost immediately after completing his studies. On the day of his graduation, he was offered the role on ABC’s drama-series, Correlli, which he accepted. It was on-set of the TV show that he met his now-wife Deborra-Lee Furness.
While talking about his experience on Correlli, Jackman says, “Meeting my wife was the greatest thing to come out of it,” due to the fact that the show only lasted all but one season.
After the season was up, Jackman decided to go back to on-stage performances and starred in two musicals, Walt Disney’s production of Beauty and the Beast – playing Gaston, and the summer cabaret production, Midsumma Cabaret. He also hosted an event called, Carols by Candlelight in Melbourne, and Carols in the Domain in Sydney.
Jackman then began gaining worldwide attention with his performance in the production of Oklahoma! In London’s West End. For this part, he was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Actor in a musical. Along with his on-stage musical roles, he also starred in a couple of films namely, Erskineville Kings and Paperback Hero, as well as several TV shows such as, Law of the Land, Blue Heelers, and The Man from Snowy River.
Jackman experienced his breakthrough role in 2000, when he was asked to play the role of Wolverine in the film, X-Men. For it, he studied wolves in order to fully capture the essence of the part as he believed the part was connected to wolves. This film proved to be a big success at the box office and brought in US $296 million. Jackman also won an award, Saturn Award for Best Actor, for the role. He went on to star in the next three X-Men films within the series in 2003, 2006, and 2009 respectively as well as a small role in the 2011’s X-Men: First Class.
After X-Men, Jackman went on to star in all four of the films in the series, Wolverine, which was a stand-alone sequel to the events of X-Men: The Last Stand. The role proved to be slightly difficult for him as it was more an emotional role rather than a speaking one. Additionally, he had to gain an immense amount of muscles for the part.
Jackman’s other films of different genres includes, Kate & Leopold (2001), Swordfish (2001), Van Helsing (2004), The Prestige (2006), The Fountain (2006) and, Scoop (2006). He also voiced characters in the animated films, Happy Feet (2006), and Flushed Away (2006).
From 2002 to 2004, Jackman continued to star in Broadway musicals such as Carousel, and The Boy from Oz. He also hosted the Tony Awards in 2003, 2004, and 2005 respectively, and, in 2007, produced and guest-starred in the TV musical show, Viva Laughlin.
In 2008, Jackman replaced Russell Crowe to take the lead in the film, Australia alongside Nicole Kidman. He talks about his part in the film by saying, “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.”
In 2009, Jackman was back on Broadway for four months starring in the show, A Steady Rain. In 2011, he participated in a one-man-show at the Curran Theatre in San Francisco which was comprised of his favorite Broadway and Hollywood musical numbers accompanied by a 17-piece orchestra. The show included slides of Jackman’s life such as his youth, family, and work, and he also interacted with the audience. In 2012, he took part in the Broadway show, Hugh Jackman: Back on Broadway, and voiced the E.Easter Bunnymund in the animated film, Rise of the Guardians. He also starred in the film version of the musical, Les Misérables, for which he won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy.
In 2013, Jackman was seen in the film, Movie 43, and was featured on a song by The Lonely Island entitled, ‘You’ve Got the Look’. In 2014, Jackman was back on Broadway to star in the musical, The River. In 2015, he toured Australia with his show, Broadway to Oz in which he performed an array of songs alongside a 150-piece orchestra and backup dancers. In the years following the tour, he participated in a number of roles in the films, Pan, Eddie the Eagle, and The Greatest Showman.
Jackman has also proved himself to be quite the businessman, as he formed a production company called Seed Productions with his longtime assistant, John Palermo in 2005. His wife, Deborra-Lee, is also involved in the company.
Jackman is adored by many worldwide for his good looks and charm. He’s also admired for his roles in the action-packed films such as X-Men and Wolverine. He’s often featured in the media with positive reviews and in good standing, as he has proven to be an all-round good guy who is talented, reflective, caring, handsome, and empathetic. His empathy is proven by his participation in several charity groups such as microedit, Global Poverty Project, and The Art of Elysium.
On the not-so-positive side, Jackman is one of the many celebrities to fall victim to the leaking of nude photos. In an article published in April 2017, it was said that his nude photos “spread like wildfire” and that the FBI are looking into the matter.
Jackman met his now-wife, Deberra-Lee Furness, on the set of the TV show, Correlli in 1996 to which he comments, “She was the star and I had this major crush on her,” he said. “Everyone did. The whole crew had a crush on her and I was so embarrassed by that, I didn’t talk to her for about a week.” He also admits that with the help of a few drinks, he mustered up the courage to tell her that he had a crush on her. Furness reciprocated the feelings and the two admit that the rest is history. Jackman personally designed their engagement rings with the Sanskrift inscription, “Om paramar mainamar” which translates to, “we dedicate our union to a greater source”.
Today, the pair have been married for over 20 years. Together, they adopted two children, Oscar and Ava after Furness had two miscarriages. Jackman and his family identify themselves as Christians and the star says that he meditates daily while following the practises of the School of Practical Philosophy.
Jackman is a fan of sports and participated in rugby, cricket, high jump, and swimming in high school. He also has a keen interest in WWE, playing the guitar, piano, and violin, and participating in yoga.