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Hugh Jackman: From Wolverine to Broadway, the Australian Hollywood Legend

Hugh Jackman
Hugh Jackman (Credits: Alamy Stock Photo)

Hugh Jackman, arguably Australia’s most prominent actor in Hollywood since Mel Gibson, has accumulated a remarkable fortune of $180 million throughout his illustrious two-decade-plus career in the entertainment industry.

Jackman catapulted to stardom with his portrayal of the iconic Marvel Comics character, Wolverine, in the 2000 superhero blockbuster “X-Men.” This film, adapted from Marvel’s all-time favorite series, marked the genesis of his journey as the adamantium-clawed hero, a role he reprised in a total of nine films, culminating with the 2017 release of “Logan,” the tenth installment in the X-Men film franchise.

During the early 2000s, Jackman graced the silver screen alongside esteemed actors such as Halle Berry in “Swordfish,” Meg Ryan in “Kate & Leopold,” and Cate Blanchett in “Stories of Lost Souls.” In 2008, he shared the screen with fellow Australian Nicole Kidman in “Australia,” an epic period drama set against the backdrop of World War II.

Hugh Jackman

Hugh Jackman (Credits Getty Images)

Jackman’s artistic talents extended to the hallowed stages of Broadway, where he earned a Tony Award in 2004 for his remarkable portrayal of a legendary song-and-dance performer.

The role of Wolverine, however, was the catalyst that transformed Hugh Jackman’s life. Countless offers flowed in for the 6′ 3” actor, including the opportunity to step into the shoes of James Bond in the 2006 reboot of the franchise (though this honor ultimately went to English actor Daniel Craig).

Wolverine stands as the quintessential character that defines Jackman’s career and firmly establishes him as a Hollywood icon. His commitment to the role necessitated rigorous physical training to embody the rugged superhero, a challenge he willingly embraced.

Wolverine, originally introduced by Marvel in 1974 within the pages of “The Incredible Hulk” issue No. 181, quickly became an integral part of “The Uncanny X-Men,” Marvel’s renowned series featuring mutant crime fighters. As “James ‘Logan’ Howlett,” Wolverine remains the most prominent figure in the X-Men film franchise.

Hugh Jackman

Hugh Jackman (Credits: Getty Images)

Before conquering Hollywood’s cinematic landscape as Wolverine, Jackman shuttled between theater productions in both Australia and New York. His early musical contributions include the 1996–97 revivals of “Beauty and the Beast” and “Sunset Boulevard.”

In 1998, he assumed the role of Curly McLain in a West End revival of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, “Oklahoma!”

One of Jackman’s most cherished accomplishments as a stage actor was his starring role in “The Boy from Oz,” a production that delved into the life of one of Australia’s most beloved entertainers.

Hugh Jackman regarded this performance as a tribute to “a great Australian” and a celebration of the essence of Australian identity. His portrayal of Allen involved 32 previews and 365 performances during the Broadway run, which spanned from September 2003 to September 2004 at the Imperial Theatre. Furthermore, he reprised the role of Allen in 2006 during a five-week Australian arena tour of “The Boy from Oz.”

Even while embodying Wolverine in the X-Men franchise, Jackman ventured into a diverse array of projects, including the 2012 epic musical “Les Misérables,” based on Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel, and the 2013 thriller “Prisoners.”

In 2017, Jackman assumed the role of PT Barnum, the renowned circus impresario, in the biographical musical “The Greatest Showman.” He then took on a vastly different real-life character in “The Front Runner,” a 2018 political thriller centered around the fallen presidential contender, Gary Hart.

Notably, Jackman continues to grace the Broadway stage with his musical prowess. In 2022, he wowed audiences as Harold Hill in the fourth revival of Meredith Willson’s 1957 musical, “The Music Man.”

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