Hugh Michael Jackman (born 12 October 1968) is an Australian actor, singer, and producer. Jackman has won international recognition for his roles in a variety of film genres. He is known for his long-running role as Wolverine in the X-Men film series, as well as for his lead roles in films such as the romantic-comedy fantasy Kate & Leopold (2001), the action-horror film Van Helsing (2004), the magic-themed drama The Prestige (2006), the epic fantasy drama The Fountain (2006), the epic historical romantic drama Australia (2008), the film version of Les Misérables (2012), the thriller Prisoners (2013), and the musical The Greatest Showman (2017). His work in Les Misérables earned him his first Academy Award nomination for Best Actor and his first Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy in 2013.
In Broadway theatre, Jackman won a Tony Award for his role in The Boy from Oz. A four-time host of the Tony Awards themselves, he won an Emmy Award for one of these appearances. Jackman also hosted the 81st Academy Awards on 22 February 2009.
Jackman was born in Sydney, New South Wales, to Grace McNeil (née Greenwood) and Christopher John Jackman, a Cambridge-trained accountant. His parents were English and had come to Australia in 1967 as part of the “Ten Pound Poms” immigration.One of his paternal great-grandfathers, Nicholas Isidor Bellas, was Greek, from the Ottoman Empire (now in Greece).His parents were devout Christians, having been converted by Evangelist Billy Graham after their marriage. Jackman has four older siblings and was the second of his parents’ children to be born in Australia.He also has a younger half-sister, from his mother’s remarriage. His parents divorced when he was eight, and Jackman remained in Australia with his father and two brothers, while his mother moved back to England with Jackman’s two sisters.As a child, Jackman liked the outdoors, spending a lot of time at the beach and on camping trips and school holidays 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.”
Jackman went to primary school at Pymble Public School and later attended the all-boys Knox Grammar School on Sydney’s Upper North Shore, where he starred in its production of My Fair Lady in 1985 and became the school captain in 1986. Following graduation, he spent a gap year working at Uppingham School in England as a Physical Education teacher. On his return, he studied at the University of Technology, Sydney, graduating in 1991 with a BA in Communications.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. He later commented, “In that week I felt more at home with those people than I did in the entire three years [at university]”.
After obtaining his BA, Jackman completed the one-year course “The Journey” at the Actors’ Centre in Sydney. 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 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 Journey”, he was offered a role on the popular soap opera Neighbours but turned it down to attend the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts of Edith Cowan University in Perth, Western Australia, from which he graduated in 1994.
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.’