The Greatest Show Man, X-Men, Kate & Leopold, Van Helsing, Les Misérables: what do all these movies have in common? Hugh Jackman, of course. The charismatic Australian won us over due to his acting chops, charm, and sublime voice. With an impressive filmography and several awards under his belt, the X-Men hunk became one of the most renowned actors working today, while also adding some producer stints to his resume.
Curious to learn more about Hugh Jackman’s biography? The Aussie star was born in 1968 and earned international recognition portraying Wolverine in the X-Men film series. He’s also a producer and musician. His role in Les Misérables got him his first Academy Award nomination for Best Actor and his first Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy. He also won a Tony for his work on Broadway and an Emmy for hosting the Tony Awards. Not too bad.
However, there is much more to Jackman than meets the eye. For example, did you know he had anger issues as a child? Or that he almost portrayed James Bond in Casino Royale? We've made a list of some Hugh Jackman facts that give you a glimpse at what’s hiding behind Wolverine’s tough exterior.
1. He Used to Work as a Professional Clown
Before he was famous, Jackman paid his dues taking on menial jobs to make ends meet. He spent years working the night shift at a gas station as a teen, and worked as a clown at children’s parties during university. He says these entertainment jobs were the hardest $50 he ever made, and that a six-year-old once called him a terrible clown because he didn’t know any tricks. Jackman admits that the kid was right.
2. He Never Watched SNL Before Hosting
Jackman wasn’t familiar with Saturday Night Live before being invited to host, back in 2001. The producers sent him tapes of the show so that he could have an idea about it before showing up to work.
3. He Accidentally Broke an Extra’s Hand
While filming Van Helsing, Jackman accidentally broke an extra’s hand. “I was getting lifted and propelled and couldn't stop. I put my hand out and felt this guy crumple in front of me. I found out later he'd been running away. He thought I was going to fire him - for getting in the star's way,” he said about the incident.
4. He Participated in an Actual WWE Match
Back in 2011, when he was promoting his action movie Real Steel, Jackman was at a WWE match where he punched wrestler Dolph Ziggler.
5. He Had a Stalker
In 2013, a woman followed the actor into his West Village gym, barging past the front desk and flinging a razor at the star. She apparently wanted to marry the Les Misérables hunk, but was sentenced to five years probation instead.
6. He Had Anger Issues When He Was Young
In order to play Wolverine, Jackman draws from personal experience. "As a teenager, I was explosively angry; I think rugby saved me, because that’s just organized violence," he said in an interview. His anger issues can probably be traced to his childhood, when his parents separated. He was eight. His mother moved to England, while his father brought up five children by himself.
7. He and His Wife Had Trouble Having Kids
Jackman and his wife, Deborra-Lee Furness, suffered through two miscarriages. Both of their children are adopted. They first adopted a son, Oscar, in 2000, and then a daughter, Ava, in 2004.
8. He Struggles with Skin Cancer
When Jackman first discovered a mark on his nose in November 2013, he thought it was a spot of blood caused by his Wolverine claws. It was much worse. He was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma, one of three types of skin cancer. A mild form, but still serious. He’s been struggling with the disease ever since. To raise awareness about how sun exposure can lead to serious complications, he launched a line of sunscreen for kids.
9. He Wears Contacts
The actor is terribly near-sighted and has extremely blurry vision when he isn't wearing contacts. He reportedly has trouble reading teleprompters and relies on old-fashioned memorization instead.?
10. He Adores George Clooney
“He’s funny, he’s naughty and he’s kind of cheeky. And he just looks like fun,” Jackman said about Clooney. Who could blame him?
11. He Passed on Casino Royale
Although there’s no doubt Jackman would make an awesome James Bond, he turned down the role of the British spy in the mid-2000s. However, he admitted last year that he’d seriously consider the role in the future.
11. He Wanted to Become a Journalist
Hugh Jackman majored in communications at the University of Technology in Sydney, wanting to become a journalist. During his senior year, however, the actor found himself a few credits short, so he decided to take a drama class. And the rest was history. There's no wonder he gets along great with reporters, as we can all see in the video above.
12. His Idol as a Teen Was Olivia Newton-John
Growing up, Jackman had a huge crush on Olivia Newton-John. “I did have a poster of Olivia Newton-John up on my wall, which I literally kissed… maybe even practiced tongue-kissing on. I'm not sure!,” he admitted during an event.
14. He Sang at Nicole Kidman’s Wedding
Hugh Jackman performed at Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban’s wedding, back in 2006. “I sang a song that Nicole asked me to sing - Keith’s favorite song, Tenterfield Saddler, a Peter Allen song, which is probably one of my favorite songs, as well,” the actor said.
15. He Holds a World Record
Jackman holds the world record for most superhero film appearances for his role of Logan/Wolverine. He’s also the only actor to star in all chapters of the X-Men franchise.
16. He Went on a 6,000-Calorie Diet to Play Wolverine
To build his body for The Wolverine, Hugh Jackman followed a brutal nutrition plan recommended to him by Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson. Besides vigorous training, he had to consume 6,000 calories per day. As a comparison, average sedentary men need between 2,000 to 2,600 calories per day.
17. He Met His Wife on Set
His first role was in Correlli, a ten-episode Australian drama series. Although it lasted for only one season, it was his first major job. Moreover, that’s when he met his future wife, on set. They got married in 1996 in Melbourne.
18. He Likes Sushi
Jackman is a huge fan of sushi. While in Japan, he stopped by Sukiyabashi Jiro in Tokyo and tweeted pics with the master himself. He also thinks we should all watch Jiro Dreams of Sushi, and for good reason. That's one great documentary.
19. He Would Have Loved to Play Jason on Friday the 13th
Jackman admitted in an interview that he is a fan of the Friday The 13th film series and he became an actor because he wanted to play Jason in one. Fingers crossed – maybe he’ll still get to do that one day.
20. People Think He's Pretty
Like that’s a secret. Jackman was chosen as one of People magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People in the World five years in a row, 2000-2004. He was also declared Sexiest Man Alive in 2008.