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Hugh Jackman

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After vaulting to international fame as the feral antihero Wolverine in a series of feature films inspired by Marvel Comics' best-selling X-Men franchise, actor Hugh Jackman returned to his first love, musical theater, with a Tony Award-winning turn as Broadway icon Peter Allen in the acclaimed The Boy from Oz. Born in Sydney, Australia, on October 12, 1968, Jackman studied journalism, and while earning his degree in communications took his first acting class solely to fulfill a course requirement. He nevertheless found the stage much to his liking, and in 1994 graduated from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts. Almost immediately after finishing school, Jackman scored the lead role in the short-lived Australian television drama Corelli, playing opposite future wife Deborra-Lee Furness. Guest spots in series like Blue Heelers and Snowy River: The McGregor Saga followed, and in 1999 he made his feature debut in Paperback Hero. Jackman also starred on-stage in Melbourne productions of the musicals Beauty and the Beast and Sunset Boulevard, and in 1999 first earned international attention for his Olivier Award-nominated work as Curly in the Royal National Theatre's acclaimed London revival of the Rodgers & Hammerstein classic Oklahoma! Jackman was still little known to film buffs when he was named a last-minute replacement for actor Dougray Scott in 2000's long-awaited big-screen adaptation of the fan-favorite comic series X-Men. Cast as Wolverine, the savage mutant with retractable adamantium claws, the actor nevertheless impressed fans and critics alike, emerging as the movie's breakout talent. While Jackman's work as Wolverine cemented his box-office clout as an action star, he quickly diversified, co-starring in the romantic comedies Someone Like You and Kate & Leopold as well as the espionage thriller Swordfish. In 2003, the year X2: X-Men United hit theaters, Jackman also earned critical applause as host of the Tony Awards, the first of three consecutive years at the helm of the telecast. During the 2004 broadcast, he accepted his own Tony for his Broadway portrayal of Oscar-winning Australian performer and composer Peter Allen in Nick Enright's The Boy from Oz, the first Aussie musical to reach the fabled Great White Way. The original cast recording was also a bestseller, and after fulfilling his initial contractual obligations in September 2004, Jackman returned for a brief revival of The Boy from Oz in mid-2006, the same year he appeared onscreen in X-Men: The Last Stand, The Prestige, and The Fountain. ~ Jason Ankeny

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