It's not every actor who can boast a resume as varied as Hugh Jackman's. The 40-year-old Aussie has embodied one of the most iconic superheroes ever to hit the big screen, won a Tony for playing a gay man, snagged an Emmy for hosting the Tonys (got that?) and earned raves for emceeing this year's Oscars. And, as if that's not enough, he's PEOPLE magazine's reigning Sexiest Man Alive and has biceps larger than the trunks of many oak trees.
As Jackman slashes his way into theaters with his fourth turn as the titular cigar-chomping, metal-clawed, tissue-regenerating badass in 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine,' Moviefone looks back on Hugh's greatest (and -- yes, ladies -- sexiest) moments -- from his beginnings on Australian TV to his breakout performance in 'X-Men' and beyond. -- By Tom DiChiara
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After four years of majoring in journalism at the University of Technology Sydney, Jackman had a senior-year epiphany and decided that his true calling lay with acting. He landed his first gig in 1995, starring opposite Deborra-lee Furness in the Australian TV prison drama 'Corelli.' The following year, Jackman and Furness, who is 13 years his senior, were wed -- and remain so today. He was cougar bait before cougar baitin' was cool (take that, Ashton).
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In 1998, Hugh's star began to rise with his headlining role in the London revival of the stage musical 'Oklahoma!' The role established Jackman as a leading man with both sex appeal -- his co-star Maureen Lipman told PEOPLE that "women, men, children and dogs completely went to pieces when Hugh took his shirt off" -- and serious acting skills. In 1999, Jackman earned an Olivier nomination, the U.K. version of a Tony, for his performance.
'X' Marks the Spot
When an extended shooting schedule on 'Mission Impossible II' forced Dougray Scott to bail on playing Wolverine in 2000's superhero ensemble 'X-Men,' Jackman stepped in to portray the emotionally tortured, metal-clawed badass. And what a fortuitous turn of events it was. The film was met with rave reviews and a $54.6 million opening weekend and ultimately grossed $157 mil domestically, catapulting fan favorite Jackman to superstardom in the process.
Romance Is Golden
The following year, Jackman tested his romantic comedy appeal with two films: 'Someone Like You,' co-starring Ashley Judd, and the time-travel romance 'Kate & Leopold,' in which he played a 19th-century duke who falls for modern-day New Yorker Meg Ryan. Though neither flick scored huge box office numbers, Hugh did earn his first -- and, to date, only -- Golden Globe nomination for 'Leopold.'
A Most 'X'-cellent Sequel
After a year without a theatrical release, Jackman tore back onto the big screen with a vengeance in 2003, reprising his role as Wolverine in the 'X-Men' sequel 'X2: X-Men United.' The film, which is widely considered the best in the 'X-Men' franchise, decimated expectations, raking in $85.6 mil in its opening weekend on its way to a $215 million cumulative gross.
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The Tony-Winning 'Boy From Oz'
Shortly thereafter, Jackman returned to the stage to showcase his versatility, playing the flamboyantly gay Peter Allen in the Broadway musical 'The Boy From Oz.' While critics blasted the play, audiences and reviewers alike were so enamored of Jackman's performance that he won the 2004 Tony Award for Best Lead Actor in a Musical. Samba-riffic.
Mark Barker, AP
'Van Helsing' Slays
Playing the titular vampire hunter in 2004's 'Van Helsing' brought Jackman a $51.8 million opening, at the time the third largest of his career and his best headlining a film on his own. Though reviews were less than favorable (we're trying to be kind), the movie earned a not-too-shabby $120 mil and proved Jackman didn't need muttonchops, adamantium claws and a slew of mutant pals to be a bankable action star.
An Emmy for the Tonys
Having already proved his talents as a singer, dancer and actor, Jackman next decided to conquer the world of hosting. In 2003, 2004 and 2005, Jackman was a runaway crowd pleaser as the singing, dancing, punchline-nailing emcee of theater's Tony Awards. His second and third go-rounds as host earned him Emmy nominations for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Music or Variety Show, and -- wouldn't you know it? -- he won in 2005.
Kathy Willens, AP
'X-Men' Makes a
Besting its two predecessors, 'X-Men: The Last Stand' opened to a whopping $122.9 million over Memorial Day weekend in 2006 and went on to a $234 million overall haul. To this day, it is the top-grossing flick in Jackman's oeuvre. (No pressure, 'Wolverine.')
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