October 12, 1968– Hugh Jackman:
“I have a wife and kids, but the gay rumors have started. I guess it’s a sign that I’m moving up the ladder.”
Shocking, but I have never seen him as his most famous character, Wolverine. I avoid comic book films or anything Marvel. Still, Hugh Jackman is a favorite actor at my house.
With matinee idol looks and a perfect physique that should be nearly enough to fill the requirement for any movie star, Jackman is also sublimely skilled at swordplay, soft-shoe, singing show tunes, and he has a preternatural proficiency for picking roles that are commercially and artistically gratifying. His films have grossed over eight billion dollars worldwide.
Jackman enjoys a career that brings him awards and good reviews working on stage and on screen with roles as varied as that popular steel-clawed comic book anti-hero, an enigmatic prestidigitator, a singing providence-led ex-convict in early 19th century France, a time-traveling duke, and a monster killing bounty hunter.
On stage, in Australia, London and on Broadway, he moves easily between comedies, dramas and musicals with what Jackman calls a drive to be “perpetually curious and hungry, wanting to always get better”.
Jackman has a reputation for being one of the most professional and pleasant guys in showbiz.
Australian born Jackman began his acting career on stage, appearing in musicals in Melbourne and Sydney. He became known outside Australia when he played Curly, the male lead, in the 1998 Royal National Theatre‘s much loved production of Oklahoma! to great acclaim in London. It is a production that was filmed and is available for you in the PBS Great Performances archives. That great performance brought him an Olivier Award nomination for Best Actor In A Musical. He also played Billy Bigelow in Rodgers And Hammerstein’s classic musical Carousel at Carnegie Hall in 2002.
He won a Tony Award for singing and dancing as gay entertainer Peter Allen in The Boy From Oz (2004). Plus, Jackman hosted the Tony Awards in 2003, 2004, and 2005, pleasing the crowd and the television viewing audiences and earning an Emmy Award. That’s right, it’s possible to win an Emmy for hosting the Tonys. How meta. He also did a splendid job as host of the Academy Awards in 2009, always a tough gig. But, you can’t win a Tony for hosting the Oscars.
“Doing the Broadway musical The Boy From Oz was a big turning point for me. My film career was going very well, and here was this 18-month commitment playing a flamboyantly gay character. It wasn’t what anyone considered a good career move, but I just knew it was the right thing to do. I knew the piece moved me and I knew it would move audiences, so I just truly committed to it. Whatever we do in this life, if it’s done for the right reasons, from the heart, the result almost becomes irrelevant; it’s the journey that matters. I’ll only follow my heart from here on out, which is why I have to return to the stage every now and then.”
His performance in the film version of the musical Les Misérables brought Jackman his first Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe Award win in 2013.
Unsurprising, Jackman was named People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive in 2008.
It seems that Jackman would mostly be identified with his famous, money making Wolverine in the X-Men series, a role he has done nine times, but he has also worked in smaller films including Woody Allen’s mystery Scoop (2006) opposite the female version of Jackman, Scarlett Johansson. He starred with Christian Bale in Chrisopher Nolan’s trippy The Prestige (2006), with the two hunks playing a pair of rival magicians in Victorian England.
Jackman has continued to bounce between stage and screen. In 2009, he starred with Daniel Craig on Broadway in the drama A Steady Rain by Keith Huff. I sure would have liked to have found employment as the dresser for that play! In 2015, he was back on Broadway in another drama, The River by Jez Butterworth.
Jackman and Daniel Craig made a unique place for themselves in the history of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS in 2009, when they raised $1,550,000 with curtain appeals during the run of A Steady Rain. Jackman raised another one million for Broadway Cares in 2011, during his run of his show Hugh Jackman: Back On Broadway.
After more than a decade playing a fan-favorite superhero, the totally jacked actor has made his final appearance as that furry character in this summer’s Logan, the latest of Wolverine’s standalone films in the X-Men franchise. Jackman was perfectly cast as the cigar-chomping Canadian mutant for the original X-Men film, and he’s stayed with the franchise ever since.
One of my own favorite Jackman flicks is in the underrated Australia (2008) opposite fellow Australian Nicole Kidman, directed by Sydney resident Baz Luhrmann. In this one, Jackman is often shirtless and wet.
In winter 2012, Jackman was honored with his own star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame. At the unveiling, Jackman stated:
“I believe this is the 2,487th star on the Walk Of Fame. However, apart from Lassie, I’m the only one who’s gotten it for playing the same character in 15 movies.”
I got all excited when I read that Jackman was filming The Front Runner, thinking that it was the long-anticipated film version of the great gay 1974 novel by Patricia Nell Warren, but instead it is a film about Gary Hart’s presidential campaign in 1988 that was derailed when he was caught with a girl on his lap on a boat. Also coming soon: The Greatest Showman a musical that celebrates P.T. Barnum, the man who came up with the idea of a big top, where Jackman will battle it out with Zac Efron for best chest; plus, Broadway 4D, about life in The Theatre, featuring Harvey Fierstein, Matthew Morrison and Christina Aguilera.
Jackman is adored by gay fans for his good-looks and hot bod, plus all that singing and dancing. Yet, he has had to dodge his own gay rumors. I even have a friend in the biz that insists that Jackman has had special men friends visiting his trailer on the set.
He has been married since 1996 to fellow actor Deborra-Lee Furness, 17 years his senior. Jackman claims the rumors “bug” his wife and he revealed she has a tough time ignoring the whispering:
“She goes: ‘It’s big. It’s everywhere!'”
The Jackmans live in Melbourne with their two adopted children. I sympathize about the gay rumors, I suppose, but I bristled a bit when they claimed that the talk was “offensive” and that the speculation is “frustrating”.
“If I was, I would be. It’s to me not the most interesting thing about a person anyway. I do get frustrated for Deb, because I see Deb go, ‘Ah, this is crazy’.”
“I have a terrific marriage, but unlike a lot of relationships where they ebb and flow, no matter what happens you fall deeper and deeper in love every day. It’s kind of the best thing that can happen to you. It’s thrilling.”
All the fuss and the denials make me appreciate George Clooney‘s statement that he refuses to deny the gay rumors because it makes it look like being gay is a bad thing.
I was going to post Jackman’s workout routine here, but I opted for eating donuts.