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Timeline

Timeline

1968 - Hugh Michael Jackman was born October 12, in Sydney, Australia.

1986 - Graduated Knox Grammar School, in Wahroonga, Australia.

1990 - Earned a journalism BA from the University of Technology, Sydney, Australia.

1992 - Offered a part in the Australian series 'Neighbours' but turned it down to attend Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts.

1994 - Graduated from Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts.

1995 - Starred in Australian TV show 'Correlli'; met future wife, Deborra-Lee Furness; starred in Australian stage production of Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast'.

1996 - Starred as Joe Gillis in an Australian stage production of 'Sunset Boulevard'.

1997 - Hosted the weekly lifestyle series 'In Fashion' on Australia's Foxtel network.

1998 - Played the role of Detective Eric Ringer on the Australian TV series 'Halifax f.p'.

1998 - Performed as Curly in the Royal National Theatre's stage production of 'Oklahoma!' in London's West End.

1999 - Played an Australian outback truck driver who writes a romance novel in the comedy 'Paperback Hero' and starred in the low-budget Australian drama, 'Erskinville Kings'.

2000 - Cast as Wolverine in 'X-Men' as a last minute replacement for Dougray Scott.

2000 - Adopted a son, Oscar Maximillian Jackman, born May 15, 2000.

2001 - Co-starred in the action film, 'Swordfish' along with John Travolta and Halle Berry. Played first romantic lead opposite Meg Ryan in 'Kate & Leopold'.

2002 - Golden Globe nomination for performance in 2001's 'Kate & Leopold'. Acted in the short film 'Standing Room Only', the directorial debut of wife, Deborra-Lee Furness.

2003 - Starred in the Broadway musical 'The Boy From Oz' and on the big screen in 'X2: X-Men United'.

2004 - Won Tony and Drama Desk awards for portrayal of Peter Allen in 'The Boy From Oz'. Starred in the film 'Van Helsing'.

2004 - Won the Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical, also hosted that year's Tony Awards ceremony.

2005 - Won an Emmy Award for hosting the 2004 Tonys; hosted the 58th Annual Tony Awards ceremony. Adopted a girl, Ava Eliot Jackman, born July 15, 2005.

2006 - Hosted the 59th Annual Tony Awards ceremony, turning in another Emmy-worthy performance.

2006 - Starred in 'X-Men: The Last Stand,' 'The Fountain,' 'The Prestige' and 'Scoop'.

2007 - Produced and starred in the CBS musical-dramedy 'Viva Laughlin,' which was canceled after two episodes.

2008 - Selected as People magazine's Sexiest Man Alive and Australian GQ's Man of the Year. Starred in 'Deception,' 'Uncle Jonny' and 'Australia'.

2009 - Hosted the 81st Annual Academy Awards; produced and starred in 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine; co-starred with Daniel Craig in Broadway's 'A Steady Rain'.

2010 - Co-starred in the comedy 'Butter' along with Jennifer Garner and Oliva Wilde. Performed lead role in the futuristic film 'Real Steel'.

2011 - Returned to the stage in highly praised one man shows, ‘Hugh Jackman, In Performance’ and 'Hugh Jackman, Back on Broadway'. Launched charity brand 'Laughing Man Worldwide'.

2013 - won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for his performance in Les Miserables.

Hugh Jackman
The Song and X-Man

Born: Hugh Michael Jackman on October 12, 1968
Birth City: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Father: Christopher Jackman
Mother: Grace Watson
Brothers: Older, Ian and Ralph Jackman
Sisters: Older, Sonya and Zoe
(also has a younger half-sister on his mother's side)

Spouse: Deborra-Lee Furness, Australian actress, married April 11, 1996
Son: Oscar Maximilian Jackman, born May 15, 2000 (adopted)
Daughter: Ava Eliot Jackman, born July 10, 2005 (adopted)

Hugh Jackman Biography

Hugh Jackman

A stage and screen actor of remarkable versatility, Australian Hugh Jackman had the unusual honor of being named one of People magazine's "Sexiest Men Alive," while also maintaining fandom among legions of comic book enthusiast by portraying the muscular superhero, Wolverine, in the X-Men film series. Audiences swooned over him in Baz Luhrman's sweeping period drama Australia (2008), and honored him with a Tony Award for his portrayal of ostentatious songwriter Peter Allen in the Broadway musical, The Boy from Oz. To top it all, he was asked to host the 81st Academy Awards on February 22, 2009, the most entertaining Oscar show for years, largely due to Jackman's wit and showmanship. Such a diverse following is testament to Hugh Jackman's unaffected charm, leading man good looks, and classical stage training that equipped him to alternate between great displays of theatricality and the calculated reserve of his dramatic roles.

Early Life

Hugh Jackman, click image to enlarge

Hugh Michael Jackman was born on October 12, 1968, in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. The year before his birth, in 1968, his English parents migrated to Australia as 'Ten Pound Poms' (under the Australian government's scheme to encourage skilled migration). His father, Chris, knuckled down as a hard-working accountant but his mother, Grace, did not adapt so well. Hugh did not live with his mother for the first 18 months of his life and his parent's marriage finally dissolved when Hugh was eight years old and his mother moved back to England, leaving him and his four older siblings to be raised by their father. Years later, his mother remarried and Hugh has a half-sister from that marriage.

"My mother was not well," Jackman says. "She probably was suffering from postpartum depression. It may not have been diagnosed. I'm not sure. But she was going through a tough time. I spent my first 18 months with my godparents." -- Hugh Jackman: Parade, May 14, 2006

Hugh first went to primary school at Pymble Public in Sydney and then later attended the high-achieving all-boys school, Knox Grammar, where he was an all-rounder who became a school captain and excelled in sports and drama (he starred in the school's production of the musical My Fair Lady in 1985).

During his youth, Jackman drew great strength from his father, a devout Christian who brought up five children single-handedly through discipline and hand-me-downs.

"I've never heard Dad say a bad word about anybody including my mum. I love that quality about him." Hugh Jackman

After receiving his B.A. degree in Communications and Journalism at Sydney's University of Technology, Jackman switched to acting in 1991, turning down a role on the popular Australian soap opera Neighbours, to study at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts in Perth from which he graduated in 1994.

"Those three years were 'probably one of the happiest times of my life, he says. We'd do Shakespeare, then circus skills and singing and dancing. It is a quality that seems to tap into my surname, Jack of all trades." Hugh Jackman

Early Career

Hugh Jackman and Deborrah-lee Furness

During those early lean years Jackman made his living as a clown at children's parties, and worked in restaurants and gas stations, before receiving his first television break in 1995, in Correlli, a popular Australian prison drama. Hugh played the role of violent and manipulative but insidiously attractive prison inmate Kevin Jones who falls for his counselor played by his future wife Deborrah-lee Furness. Corrielli was centered on her character, he was 26 and it was his first big job; Furness, then 34, was a celebrated actress in Australia.

"When you're married to someone, as you know, who loves you for who you are and someone who I met before any of this happened I met her on my first job. I was a shmuck actor. Really, trust me, only $1,200 a week on an ABC TV Series in Australia. There was nothing about me that was saying, Hey, this is a good bet here. And when you know that you're loved completely for who you are, no matter what comes and goes and by the way, this went through my mind when I walked out on stage at the Oscars." Hugh Jackman: Dark Horizons, April 28, 2009

The success of the series, combined with Jackman's good acting skills helped him win a recurring role the following year in another television series, Snowy River: The McGregor Saga. His relaxed and natural presence was soon tapped for hosting duties on the pop culture show In Fashion (Foxtel, 1997) and the 1997 Australian Film Institute Awards.

Hugh Jackman, Beauty and the Beast

On stage in 1996, Jackman was hailed as one of the most promising newcomers in musical theater when he was cast in a Melbourne production of Walt Disney's Beauty and the Beast, essaying the supporting part of macho villain, Gaston. The tall and muscular Jackman still had to wear prosthetic pieces to pull off the exaggerated build of the character, but even with this added padding, his spot-on portrayal complete with appropriate pomp and swagger shone through.

Jackman followed up by playing hack screenwriter Joe Gillis in Trevor Nunn's Melbourne production of Sunset Boulevard, easily making the transition from his previously larger-than-life boaster to the Hollywood-fueled broken man cynicism of Gillis. His good acting handed him a Variety Club award for Musical Theater Performer of the Year and a Mo for Musical Theater Performer of the Year in 1997.

Oklahoma!, click image to enlarge

Trevor Nunn was so impressed with Jackman's work he invited him to audition at London's National Theatre, and it was as Curly in the acclaimed West End production of Oklahoma! where his strong and energetic performance earned excellent notices and a nomination for the country's top theatrical honor, an Olivier Award. Jackman also starred in the 1999 film version of Oklahoma! which has been screened in many countries around the world.

Following his successful stage performances, Jackman made a move to the wide screen in 1999 when he made his film debut in the little-seen Australian production Erskinville Kings(1999), a drama examining failing relationships. This was an emotional and challenging role for an actor so new to the art of film. For his performance he won the 2000 Film Critics Circle Australia (FCCA) award for Best Male Actor, and was also nominated for the 1999 Best Actor by the Australian Film Institute.

He soon reached a much wider audience with his starring role in Antony J. Bowman's amiable comedy Paperback Hero (1999), where Jackman portrayed an outback trucker who writes a sappy romance novel in his spare time and submits it to a publisher under a female pseudonym. The role was perfectly suited for the open and unpretentious actor, and Paperback Hero earned Jackman acclaim and exposed him to an international art-house audience.

Stage and Film Career (2000 to present)

Logan / Wolverine, click image to enlarge

Months later, Jackman broke into the big time, when Scottish heartthrob Dougray Scott backed out of his commitment to play the Logan / Wolverine character in the first X-Men movie. Jackman was selected by the film's director, Bryan Singer, as a last-minute replacement for the role that would ultimately make Jackman a world-wide star.

According to the comic books, Wolverine stands 5-feet-3-inches in height. Jackman, who plays Wolverine, stands almost a foot taller than his characte at 6' 2".

"The character I play is actually only 1.6 meters [5' 3"]. Before I had any kind of acting profile I was encouraged to lie about my height. I was told to say I was about six foot [1.83m] tall. I was worried about it when I first had my audition because pleasing fans of the franchise is important. My height was brought up on the Internet. They didn't think it was right. A lot of people who never met me think I'm very short. Jimmy Marsden (Cyclops), who's only 10cm [4 inches] shorter than me, was put on boxes and platforms in our scenes together. You'll notice that every character in X-men looks taller than me." -- Hugh Jackman on Logan/Wolverine

Jackman's performance as Wolverine in X-Men gained positive reviews from critics and handed him a Saturn Award for Best Actor in 2001. The film was also a large success at the box-office and became one of the biggest hits of the year. With that huge triumph, Hugh Jackman was made an instant star.

Someone Like You, Ashley Judd and Hugh Jackman

Jackman cemented his position as a movie star when he was hired to star in three silver screen films during 2001. He first costarred with Ashley Judd and Greg Kinnear in the romantic comedy Someone Like You. He then tackled the role of a computer hacker forced to participate in a major heist in the action thriller, Swordfish opposite John Travolta and his X-Men co-star Halle Berry. Jackman then starred as Leopold, opposite Meg Ryan, in the 2001 romantic comedy film Kate & Leopold, a role for which he received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor, Motion Picture Musical or Comedy.

On the small screen, Jackman hosted an episode of "Saturday Night Live" in 2001, and in 2002, sang the role of Billy Bigelow in the musical Carousel in a special concert performance at Carnegie Hall. Off screen, Jackman was listed as one of People magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People in the World for five years in a row, from 2000 through 2004. On May 15, 2000, Hugh and his wife were present at the birth of their adopted son, Oscar Maximilian Jackman.

Hugh Jackman again donned the sideburns and claws of Wolverine for X2: X-Men United (2003), the superior sequel to X-Men in which his character, Wolverine, stood out amidst the rest of the terrific ensemble cast as bits and pieces of Wolverine's mysterious origins were at last revealed. Like its predecessor, the action film was also a smash hit.

Boy From Oz, click image to enlarge

Now an international movie star, Jackman returned to his love of musical theater and debuted on Broadway in 2003 in The Boy from Oz. He starred as Peter Allen, the flamboyant showman best known for pop songs like "Don't Cry Out Loud," who died of AIDS-related cancer in 1992. Jackman received a highly coveted Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical, and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical in 2004. He also performed in the musical throughout Australia in 2006.

Jackman hosted the glitzy Tony Awards in 2003, 2004, and 2005, garnering positive reviews. His hosting of the 2004 Tony Awards earned him an Emmy win for Outstanding Individual Performer in a Variety, Musical or Comedy program in 2005.

Back in another pulpy turn on the big screen, Jackman played Count Dracula's old nemesis Dr. Abraham Van Helsing in the ultra-big budget monster thriller, Van Helsing (2004), which pitted the good doctor against an unholy union of his old foe, Frankenstein's Monster and the Wolfman.

Jackman also found time to appear in the short film (his wife's directorial debut) Standing Room Only (2004), and made a cameo appearance in the television film Making the Grade (2004). On the home front, Hugh and Deborra-Lee's second adopted child, Ava Eliot Jackman, was born on July 10, 2005.

In 2006, Jackman revived Wolverine for the third installment of the series, X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), directed by Brett Ratner. This time, the mutants faced a peculiar choice after a cure for mutations is found retain their uniqueness and remain isolated from society, or give up their strange powers to become human.

Hugh and Scarlett Johansson, The Prestige

In a further display of Jackman's versatility, he turned around to play a charming British playboy suspected of being an infamous killer terrorizing London in Scoop(2006), Woody Allen's comedy starring Scarlett Johansson as a journalist who poses as a wealthy American to sniff him out. In Christopher Nolan's period thriller The Prestige (2006), Jackman sparkled as a brash showman caught up  in a deadly rival with a brilliant trickster (Christian Bale). He then lightened the mood considerably with his next project, lending his voice to the hit animated children's adventure, Happy Feet (2006), about a tap dancing penguin.

Jackman played three characters in Darren Aronofsky's The Fountain (2006). Spanning almost a millennium, he plays a conquistador, research scientist and astronaut at different points of human history all in search of the secret of life. Jackman said The Fountain was his most difficult film thus far, due to the physical and emotional demands of the part.

In 2007, Jackman co-produced and guest-starred in the television musical-dramedy series Viva Laughlin, which was canceled by CBS after just two episodes.

"We wanted [Gabriele Muccino] to do the pilot of Viva Laughlin, which he did. The show was picked up and was quite spectacularly dumped after two or three episodes on air. Not that it was his fault. It just wasn't a success. As my wife says, If you're going to fail, you might as well fail spectacularly." -- Hugh Jackman: The Examiner, May 2, 2009

Australia, Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman

Jackman's 2008 movies included Deception (which he starred in and produced) and Uncle Jonny. Also 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. In the film, Jackman played a tough Australian 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 curriculum vitae." -- The Evening Herald, December 11, 2008

Adding icing to the cake, the film's release coincided with People magazine's annual declaration that for 2008, Hugh Jackman was the "Sexiest Man Alive."

When asked how his wife reacted, Hugh responded, "She said, I could've told them that years ago. And then she said, Obviously, Brad wasn't available this year. I said, you're kidding, right? But Deb is the most unfazed person in the world." Hugh Jackman: Mail On Sundays, April 29, 2009

Grauman's Chinese Theatre, click image to enlarge

In April 2009, Hugh Jackman sank his hands and feet into the famous Hollywood Boulevard cement outside Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles.  After an introduction by Jay Leno, Jackman told the crowd that he'd first visited the landmark when he originally arrived in L.A. a dozen years ago.

"It's a very humbling moment as an actor to be here. You look down at the names, from Fred Astaire to Cary Grant, Clint Eastwood, Al Pacino, Steve McQueen, John Wayne, and to think that those people have been immortalized and pretty soon I'll be putting my hands in wet cement." -- Hugh Jackman: Entertainment Weekly, April 22, 2009

Academy Awards Host, Hugh Jackman

Jackman reprised his role as Wolverine in X-Men Origins: Wolverine which was released May 1, 2009. Prior to the release of X-Men Origins, Jackman hosted the 81st Academy Awards on Feb. 22, 2009, which garnered good reviews and increased viewer ratings from previous years.

"My dad was about strict bedtimes but he let us stay up to watch [The Academy Awards]. Then at drama school, our biggest party of the year was on Oscar night and there were drinks involved. It's a very common drinking game in Australia: Whenever anyone thanks or mentions God or their parents, you have to 'skull' (Translation: chug a drink)." Hugh Jackman: People Magazine, February 21, 2009

Jackman finished out the year by co-starring with Daniel Craig on Broadway at the Schoenfeld Theatre in a limited engagement of the play A Steady Rain, opening in previews on September 10, 2009 and closing on December 6, 2009. Later, A Steady Rain came in at #2 on TIME Magazine's list of top 10 plays of 2009 - 2010.

In early 2010 Hugh Jackman co-starred in the comedy Butter along with Jennifer Garner and Oliva Wilde. Later in the year Jackman performed the lead role in the futuristic film Real Steel.

Hugh Jackman Back on Broadway Poster

Hugh Jackman, Back on Broadway, opened to rave reviews in November 2011 at the Broadhurst Theatre in NYC. The one-man song-and-dance spectacular found Jackman fronting an 18-piece orchestra and performing an array of songs from across the musical spectrum Rodgers and Hammerstein, American Songbook classics, movie medleys, Peter Allen pop hits. There was even a surprise musical nod to his native Australia. After a record-breaking 10-week run, Jackman was off to to shoot a big-screen version of Les Miserables.

For his stellar performance as Jean Valjean in Les Miserables Hugh Jackman won the 2013 Golden Globe Award for Best Actor Motion Picture Musical or Comedy and was nominated for several other awards including the Academy Award for Best Actor.

The Wolverine Movie Poster

2013 continued to be a busy year with the release of the thriller Prisoners which brought Hugh praise for his dramatic portrayal of Keller Dover, a man whose daughter has gone missing. The next Wolverine installment titled The Wolverine was also released that same year.

During the 66th Annual Tony Awards Hugh was presented with the Special Tony Award for Extraordinary Contribution to the Theatre Community, and the surprise presenter was his wife Deborrah-lee Furness.

Jackman will return to the Great White Way in 2015 as the lead in The River, a play from London by Jez Butterworth. The Broadway play will be a spiritually searching drama about a loner in a remote cabin and two of the women in his life.

Before he takes to the stage again, Jackman has a number of other projects on his plate, including the 2014 installment of X-Men, titled X-Men: Days Of Future Past. Scheduled for release in 2015 are the films Pan where Hugh will play the baddie Blackbeard, and a science fiction black comedy titled Chappie.

More Hugh Jackman Projects in Development »

"I've always felt that if you back down from a fear, the ghost of that fear never goes away. It diminishes people. So I've always said yes to the thing I'm most scared about.
-- Hugh Jackman
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