The Man Who Had No Face

True story by Paul Harvey

Years ago a hardworking man took his family from New York State to Australia to take advantage of a work opportunity there. Part of this man's family was a handsome young son who had aspirations of joining the circus as a trapeze artist or an actor. This young fellow, biding his time, until a circus job or even a job as a stagehand came along, continued to work at the local shipyards which bordered on the worse section of town. Walking home from work one evening this young man was attacked by five thugs who wanted to rob him. Instead of just giving up his money, the young fellow resisted.

However they bested him easily and proceeded to beat him to a pulp. They mashed his face with their boots, and kicked and beat his body brutally with clubs, leaving him for dead. When the police happened to find him lying in the road, they assumed he was dead and called for the Morgue Wagon.

On the way to the morgue a policeman heard him gasp for air, and they immediately took him to the emergency unit at the hospital. When he was placed on a gurney a nurse remarked to her horror, that his young man no longer had a face. Each eye socket was smashed, his skull, legs, and arms fractured, his nose literally hanging from his face, all is teeth were gone, and his jaw was almost completely torn from his skull. Although his life was spared he spent over year in the hospital. When he finally left his body may have healed, but his face was disgusting to look at. He was no longer the handsome youth that everyone admired. When the young man started to look for work again he was turned down by everyone just on account of the way he looked. One potential employer suggested to him that he join the freak show at the circus as The Man Who Had No Face. And ... he did this for a while.

Still he was rejected by everyone and no one wanted to be seen in his company. He had thoughts of suicide.

This went on for five years. One day he passed a church and sought some solace there. Entering the church he encountered a priest who had seen him sobbing while kneeling in a pew. The priest took pity on him and took him to the rectory where they talked at length. The priest was impressed with him to such a degree that he said that he would do everything possible for him that could be done to restore his dignity and life, if the young man would promise to be the best Catholic he could be, and trust in God's mercy to free him from his torturous life. The young man went to Mass and communion every day, and after thanking God for saving his life, asked God to only give him peace of mind and the grace to be the best man he could ever be in His eyes.

The priest, through his personal contacts was able to secure the services of the best plastic surgeon in Australia. They would be no cost to the young man, as the doctor was the priest's best friend. The doctor too was so impressed by the young man, whose outlook now on life, even though he had experienced the worse was filled with good humor and love.

The surgery was a miraculous success. All the best dental work was also done for him. The young man became everything he promised God he would be. He was also blessed with a wonderful, beautiful wife, and many children, and success in an industry which would have been the furthest thing from his mind as a career, if not for the goodness of God and the love of the people who cared for him. This he acknowledges publicly.

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This young man is Mel Gibson.



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Read this so you will know the 'Rest of the Story'.

After drama school, he played Romeo to Judy Davis' Juliet on the Australian stage and almost immediately afterward became an international star as Mad Max in The Road Warrior (1979). Imported to America, he showed his facility for accents in The River and Mrs. Soffel both made in 1984. He hit the jackpot in 1987 with Lethal Weapon and has been among the half dozen most highly paid actors ever since.

Gibson himself was the middle child in a family of eleven. He was born in Peekskill, NewYork, and moved to Australia when he was 12 years old after his father, a railroad worker, got a large insurance settlement for a work accident. "It was a difficult move," Gibson remembers. "It made me observant. Right away I saw there was a difference between them and me. In order to cope and not have a punch-up every other day, I tried to be like them. I remember looking at them and observing them. It was good training for an actor."

"Things get to me in the worst sort of way," he admits when his publicity people have coaxed him back to our tryst. "At school I used to get into arguments and fist fighting, and immediately afterwards I'd feel terrible. It's taken me a long time to control my temper." Mel Gibson taps an unlit fag on the edge of the table.

"Under the good-looking facade, he's a real tough son-of-a-bitch," confides Richard Donner, director of all three Lethal Weapons, intimating that both Martin Riggs and Mad Max Rockatansky, Mel's two most famous characters (both just a notch or two short of psycho) are, perhaps, closer to the bone than previously thought. "He bottles it up well, but there have been times when I've seen the pot start to boil over, and I know enough to back off."

Mad Max "At the start of my career, I was hungry and would do any film just for the money," he admits. "Money's hard to resist, man. But nowadays it has to be a good film as well. I want to collect a body of work which I can be proud of, but I need box office hits in order to make personal projects. That's why I try to alternate between commercial projects and movies like Hamlet and The Man Without A Face."

Ah yes, the modestly budgeted drama The Man Without A Face, Gibson's directorial debut, which is due out later this year and based on the 1972 novel by Isabelle Holland about the relationship between a disfigured former school teacher (played by Gibson) and a 14-year-old boy.

Moral of the story....don't believe everything you read!  A Catholic indeed!

Kathi Stringer