Jack Nicholson

John Joseph Nicholson (born April 22, 1937) is an American actor and filmmaker who has performed for over sixty years. He is known for playing a wide range of starring or supporting roles, including satirical comedy, romance, and dark portrayals of anti-heroes and villainous characters. In many of his films, he has played the "eternal outsider, the sardonic drifter", someone who rebels against the social structure.[1]

His most known and celebrated films include the road drama Easy Rider (1969); the dramas Five Easy Pieces (1970) and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975); the comedy-dramas The Last Detail (1973), Terms of Endearment (1983), As Good as It Gets (1997), About Schmidt (2002), and The Bucket List (2007); the neo-noir mystery Chinatown (1974); the horror film The Shining (1980); the biopic Reds (1981); the fantasy comedy The Witches of Eastwick (1987); the superhero film Batman (1989) as the Joker; the legal drama A Few Good Men (1992); the romantic horror film Wolf (1994); the science fiction comedy Mars Attacks! (1996); the comedy Anger Management (2003); the romantic comedy Something's Gotta Give (2003); and the crime drama The Departed (2006). Nicholson has not acted in a film since How Do You Know in 2010, but does not consider himself to be retired. He has also directed three films, including The Two Jakes (1990), the sequel to Chinatown.

Nicholson's 12 Academy Award nominations make him the most nominated male actor in the Academy's history. Nicholson has won the Academy Award for Best Actor twice – one for the drama One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), and the other for the romantic comedy As Good as It Gets (1997). He also won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for the comedy-drama Terms of Endearment (1983). Nicholson is one of three male actors to win three Academy Awards. Nicholson is one of only two actors to be nominated for an Academy Award for acting in every decade from the 1960s to the 2000s; the other is Michael Caine. He has won six Golden Globe Awards, and received the Kennedy Center Honor in 2001. In 1994, at 57, he became one of the youngest actors to be awarded the American Film Institute's Life Achievement Award.

He has had a number of high-profile relationships, most notably with Anjelica Huston and Rebecca Broussard, and was married to Sandra Knight from 1962 until their divorce in 1968. Nicholson has five children – one with Knight, two with Broussard (including Lorraine Nicholson), and one each with Susan Anspach and Winnie Hollman.

Jack Nicholson
Jack Nicholson 2001
In 2001
Born
John Joseph Nicholson

April 22, 1937 (age 82)
ResidenceLos Angeles, California, U.S.
NationalityAmerican
OccupationActor, director, producer, screenwriter
Years active1953–present
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)
Sandra Knight
(m. 1962; div. 1968)
Partner(s)Anjelica Huston
(1973–1990)
Rebecca Broussard
(1989–1994)
Lara Flynn Boyle
(1999–2000, 2001–2004)
Children5, including Lorraine Nicholson
AwardsFull list

Early life

Nicholson was born on April 22, 1937, in Neptune City, New Jersey,[2][3][4] the son of a showgirl, June Frances Nicholson (stage name June Nilson).[5][6] Nicholson's mother was of Irish, English, and German descent. She married Italian-American showman Donald Furcillo (stage name Donald Rose) in 1936, before realizing that he was already married.[7]:8[8] Biographer Patrick McGilligan stated in his book Jack's Life that Latvian-born Eddie King (originally Edgar A. Kirschfeld),[9] June's manager, may have been Nicholson's biological father, rather than Furcillo. Other sources suggest June Nicholson was unsure of who the father was.[5] As June was only seventeen years old and unmarried, her parents[note 1] agreed to raise Nicholson as their own child without revealing his true parentage, and June would act as his sister.[10]

In 1974, Time magazine researchers learned, and informed Nicholson, that his "sister", June, was actually his mother, and his other "sister", Lorraine, was really his aunt.[11] By this time, both his mother and grandmother had died (in 1963 and 1970, respectively). On finding out, Nicholson said it was "a pretty dramatic event, but it wasn't what I'd call traumatizing ... I was pretty well psychologically formed".[10]

Nicholson grew up in Neptune City, New Jersey.[7]:7 He was raised in his mother's Roman Catholic religion.[12][13] Before starting high school, his family moved to an apartment in Spring Lake, New Jersey.[7]:16 "When Jack was ready for high school, the family moved once more—this time two miles (three kilometres) farther south to old-money Spring Lake, New Jersey's so-called Irish Riviera, where Ethel May set up her beauty parlor in a rambling duplex at 505 Mercer Avenue."[14] "Nick", as he was known to his high school friends, attended nearby Manasquan High School, where he was voted "Class Clown" by the Class of 1954. He was in detention every day for a whole school year.[4] A theatre and a drama award at the school are named in his honor. In 2004, Nicholson attended his 50-year high school reunion accompanied by his aunt Lorraine.[7]

Military service

In 1957, Nicholson joined the California Air National Guard,[15] a move he sometimes characterized as an effort to "dodge the draft";[16] the Korean War-era's Military Selective Service Act was still in force, and draftees were required to perform up to two years of active duty. After completing the Air Force's basic training at Lackland Air Force Base,[16] Nicholson performed weekend drills and two-week annual training as a fire fighter assigned to the unit based at the Van Nuys Airport.[16] During the Berlin Crisis of 1961, Nicholson was called up for several months of extended active duty,[16] and he was discharged at the end of his enlistment in 1962.[17]

Career

Early work

Little Shop of Horrors Nicholson
Nicholson as Wilbur Force in The Little Shop of Horrors (1960)

Nicholson first came to Hollywood in 1954, when he was seventeen, to visit his sister. He took a job as an office worker for animators William Hanna and Joseph Barbera at the MGM cartoon studio. They offered him a starting-level job as an animator, but he declined, citing his desire to become an actor.[16]

He trained to be an actor with a group called the Players Ring Theater, after which time he found small parts performing on the stage and in TV soap operas.[1] He made his film debut in a low-budget teen drama The Cry Baby Killer (1958), playing the title role. For the following decade, Nicholson was a frequent collaborator with the film's producer, Roger Corman. Corman directed Nicholson on several occasions, most notably in The Little Shop of Horrors, as masochistic dental patient and undertaker Wilbur Force, and also in The Raven, The Terror where he plays a French officer seduced by an evil ghost, and The St. Valentine's Day Massacre.

Nicholson also frequently worked with director Monte Hellman on low-budget westerns, though two in particular, Ride in the Whirlwind and The Shooting, initially failed to find interest from any US film distributors but gained cult success on the art-house circuit in France and were later sold to television. Nicholson also appeared in two episodes of The Andy Griffith Show.

1960s

With his acting career heading nowhere, Nicholson seemed resigned to a career behind the camera as a writer/director. His first real taste of writing success was the screenplay for the 1967 counterculture film The Trip (directed by Corman), which starred Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper. After first reading the script, Fonda told Nicholson he was totally impressed by the writing and felt it could become a great film. However, he was disappointed with how the film turned out, and blamed the editing which turned it into a "predictable" film, and said so publicly. "I was livid", he recalls.[18] Nicholson also co-wrote, with Bob Rafelson, the movie Head, which starred The Monkees. He also arranged the movie's soundtrack.

After a spot opened up in Fonda and Hopper's Easy Rider (1969), it led to his first big acting break. Nicholson played hard-drinking lawyer George Hanson, for which he received his first Oscar nomination. The film cost only $400,000 to make, and became a blockbuster, grossing $40 million.[19] Biographer John Parker states that Nicholson's interpretation of his role placed him in the company of earlier "anti-hero" actors, such as James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart, while promoting him into an "overnight number-one hero of the counter-culture movement".[19]

The part was a lucky break for Nicholson—the role had been written for actor Rip Torn, who withdrew from the project after an argument with Hopper.[20] In interviews, Nicholson later acknowledged the importance of being cast in Easy Rider: "All I could see in the early films, before Easy Rider, was this desperate young actor trying to vault out of the screen and create a movie career."[21]

Nicholson was cast by Stanley Kubrick, who was impressed with his role in Easy Rider, in the part of Napoleon in a film about his life, and although production on the film commenced, the project fizzled out, partly due to a change in ownership at MGM, and other issues.[22]

1970s

Jack Nicholson - 1976
Nicholson in 1976

Nicholson starred in Five Easy Pieces alongside Karen Black in 1970 in what became his persona-defining role. Nicholson and Black were nominated for Academy Awards for their performances. Nicholson played Bobby Dupea, an oil rig worker, and Black was his waitress girlfriend. During an interview about the film, Black noted that Nicholson's character in the film was very subdued, and was very different from Nicholson's real-life personality. She says that the now-famous restaurant scene was partly improvised by Nicholson, and was out of character for Bobby, who wouldn't have cared enough to argue with a waitress.[23] "I think that Jack really has very little in common with Bobby. I think Bobby has given up looking for love. But Jack hasn't, he's very interested in love, in finding out things. Jack is a very curious, alive human being. Always ready for a new idea."[24]:37 Nicholson himself said as much, telling an interviewer, "I like listening to everybody. This to me is the elixir of life."[25]

Black later admitted that she had a crush on Nicholson from the time they met, although they only dated briefly. "He was very beautiful. He just looked right at you ... I liked him a lot ... He really sort of wanted to date me but I didn't think of him that way because I was going with Peter Kastner ... Then I went to do Easy Rider, but didn't see him because we didn't have any scenes together ... At the premiere, I saw him out in the lobby afterward and I started crying ... He didn't understand that, but what it was was that I really loved him a lot, and I didn't know it until I saw him again, because it all welled up."[24]:36

Within a month after the film's release that September, the movie became a blockbuster, making Nicholson a leading man and the "new American anti-hero", according to McDougal.[7]:130 Critics began speculating whether he might become another Marlon Brando or James Dean. His career and income skyrocketed. He said, "I was much sought after. Your name becomes a brand image like a product. You become Campbell's soup, with thirty-one different varieties of roles you can play."[7]:130 He told his new agent, Sandy Bresler, to find him unusual roles so he could stretch his acting skill: "I like to play people that haven't existed yet, a 'cusp character'", he said:

I have that creative yearning. Much in the way Chagall flies figures into the air: once it becomes part of the conventional wisdom, it doesn't seem particularly adventurous or weird or wild.[7]:130

Also in 1970, he appeared in the movie adaptation of On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, although most of his performance was left on the cutting room floor. His agent turned down a starring role in Deliverance when the film's producer and director, John Boorman, refused to pay what Nicholson's agent wanted.[7]:130

Nicholson starred in Carnal Knowledge in 1971, a comedy-drama directed by Mike Nichols, which co-starred Art Garfunkel, Ann-Margret, and Candice Bergen. He was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor. As director, Mike Nichols was limited in the actors who he felt could handle the role, saying, "There is James Cagney, Spencer Tracy, Humphrey Bogart, and Henry Fonda. After that, who is there but Jack Nicholson?"[26] During the filming, Nicholson struck up what became a lifelong friendship with co-star Garfunkel. When he visited Los Angeles, Garfunkel would stay at Nicholson's home in a room Nicholson jokingly called "the Arthur Garfunkel Suite".[7]:127

Other Nicholson roles included Hal Ashby's The Last Detail (1973), with Randy Quaid, for which Nicholson won for Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival, and he was nominated for his third Oscar and a Golden Globe. Television journalist David Gilmour writes that one of his favorite Nicholson scenes from all his films was in this one, when Nicholson slaps his gun on the bar yelling he was the Shore Patrol.[27][28] Critic Roger Ebert called it a very good movie, but credited Nicholson's acting as the main reason: "He creates a character so complete and so complex that we stop thinking about the movie and just watch to see what he'll do next."[29]

In 1974, Nicholson starred in Roman Polanski's noir thriller Chinatown, and was again nominated for Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as Jake Gittes, a private detective. The film co-starred Faye Dunaway and John Huston, and included a cameo role with Polanski. Roger Ebert described Nicholson's portrayal as sharp-edged, menacing, and aggressive, a character who knew "how to go over the top", as he did in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. It is that edge that kept Chinatown from becoming a typical genre crime film.[30] Ebert also notes the importance of the role for Nicholson's career, seeing it as a major transition from the exploitation films of the previous decade. "As Jake Gittes, he stepped into Bogart's shoes", says Ebert. "As a man attractive to audiences because he suggests both comfort and danger ... From Gittes forward, Nicholson created the persona of a man who had seen it all and was still capable of being wickedly amused."[31]

Nicholson had been friends with the director Roman Polanski long before the murder of Polanski's wife, Sharon Tate, at the hands of the Manson Family, and supported him in the days following the deaths.[7]:109–110[32] After Tate's death, Nicholson began sleeping with a hammer under his pillow,[7] and took breaks from work to attend the Manson trial.[16]

In 1977, three years after Chinatown, Polanski was arrested at Nicholson's home for the sexual assault of 13-year-old Samantha Geimer, who was modeling for Polanski during a magazine photo shoot around the pool. At the time of the incident, Nicholson was out of town making a film, but his steady girlfriend, actress Anjelica Huston, had dropped by unannounced to pick up some items. She heard Polanski in the other room say, "We'll be right out."[33] Polanski then came out with Geimer, and he introduced her to Huston, and they chatted about Nicholson's two large dogs, which were sitting nearby. Huston recalled Geimer was wearing platform heels and appeared quite tall.[33] After a few minutes of talking, Polanski had packed up his camera gear, and Huston saw them drive off in his car. Huston told police the next day, after Polanski was arrested, that she "had witnessed nothing untoward" and never saw them together in the other room.[33]

Geimer learned afterwards that Huston herself wasn't supposed to be at Nicholson's house that day, since they had recently broken up, but stopped over to pick up some belongings. Geimer described Nicholson's house as "definitely" a guy's house, with lots of wood and shelves crowded with photos and mementos.[34]

One of Nicholson's greatest successes came in 1975, with his role as Randle P. McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. The movie was an adaptation of Ken Kesey's novel, and was directed by Miloš Forman and co-produced by Michael Douglas. Nicholson plays an anti-authoritarian patient at a mental hospital where he becomes an inspiring leader for the other patients. Playing one of the patients was Danny DeVito in an early role. Nicholson learned afterwards that DeVito grew up in the same area of New Jersey, and they knew many of the same people.[35] The film swept the Academy Awards with nine nominations, and won the top five, including Nicholson's first for Best Actor.

The role seemed perfect for Nicholson, with biographer Ken Burke noting that his "smartass demeanor balances his genuine concern for the treatment of his fellow patients with his independent spirit too free to exist in a repressive social structure".[36][37] Forman allowed Nicholson to improvise throughout the film, including most of the group therapy sequences.[16]:273 Reviewer Marie Brenner notes that his bravura performance "transcends the screen" and continually inspires the other actors by lightening their mental illnesses with his comic dialogue. She describes his performance:

Nicholson is everywhere; his energy propels the ward of loonies and makes of them an ensemble, a chorus of people caught in a bummer with nowhere else to go, but still fighting for some frail sense of themselves. ... There are scenes in Cuckoo's Nest that are as intimate—and in their language, twice as rough—as the best moments in The Godfather ... [and] far above the general run of Hollywood performances.[38]

Also in 1975, Nicholson starred in Michelangelo Antonioni's The Passenger (1975), which co-starred Maria Schneider. Nicholson plays the role of a journalist, David Locke, who during an assignment in North Africa decides to quit being a journalist and simply disappear by taking on a new hidden identity. Unfortunately, the dead person whose identity he takes on turns out to have been a weapons smuggler on the run. Antonioni's unusual plot included convincing dialogue and fine acting, states film critic Seymour Chatman.[39] It was shot in Algeria, Spain, Germany, and England.

The film received good reviews, and revived Antonioni's reputation as one of cinema's great directors.[39] He says he wanted the film to have more of a "spy feeling [and] be more political".[39] Nicholson began shooting the film from an unfinished script, notes Judith Crist,[40] yet upon its completion he thought so highly of the film that he bought the world rights and recorded a reminiscence of working with Antonioni.[39] Critic and screenwriter Penelope Gilliatt provides an overview of Nicholson's role:

The Passenger is an unidealized portrait of a drained man whose one remaining stimulus is to push his luck. Again and again in the movie, we watch him court danger. It interests him to walk the edge of risk. He does it with passivity, as if he were taking part in an expressionless game of double-dare with life. Jack Nicholson's performance is a wonder of insight. How to animate a personality that is barely there.[16]:443

He continued to take more unusual roles. He took a small role in The Last Tycoon, opposite Robert De Niro. He took a less sympathetic role in Arthur Penn's western The Missouri Breaks (1976), specifically to work with Marlon Brando. Nicholson was especially inspired by Brando's acting ability, recalling that in his youth, as an assistant manager at a theater, he watched On the Waterfront about forty times.[41] "I'm part of the first generation that idolized Marlon Brando", he said.[42]

Marlon Brando influenced me strongly. Today, it's hard for people who weren't there to realize the impact that Brando had on an audience. ... He's always been the patron saint of actors.[26]

Nicholson has observed that while both De Niro and Brando were noted for their skill as method actors, he himself has seldom been described as a method actor, a fact which he sees as an accomplishment: "I'm still fooling them", he told Sean Penn during a phone conversation. "I consider it an accomplishment because there's probably no one who understands Method acting better academically than I do—or actually uses it more in his work. But it's funny, nobody really sees that. It's perception versus reality, I guess."[25]

1980s

Although he garnered no Academy Award for Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of Stephen King's The Shining (1980), it remains one of his more significant roles. He was Kubrick's first choice to play the lead role, although the book's author, Stephen King, wanted the part played by more of an "everyman". However, Kubrick as director won the argument, and described Nicholson's acting quality as being "on a par with the greatest stars of the past, like Spencer Tracy and Jimmy Cagney".[43]

On the set, Nicholson always appeared in character, and if Kubrick felt confident that he knew his lines well enough, he encouraged him to improvise and go beyond the script.[43]:434 For example, Nicholson improvised his now famous "Here's Johnny!" line,[43]:433 along with the scene in which he's sitting at the typewriter and unleashes his anger upon his wife after she discovers he has gone insane when she looks at his writing ("all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" typed endlessly).[43]:445 There were also extensive takes of scenes, due to Kubrick's perfectionism. Nicholson shot a scene with the ghostly bartender thirty-six times.[44] Nicholson states that "Stanley's demanding. He'll do a scene fifty times, and you have to be good to do that."[45]:38

In 1982, he starred as an immigration enforcement agent in The Border, directed by Tony Richardson. It co-starred Warren Oates, who played a corrupt border official.[46] Richardson wanted Nicholson to play his role less expressively than he had in his earlier roles. "Less is more", he told him, and wanted him to wear reflecting sunglasses to portray what patrolmen wore.[16]:318 Richardson recalled that Nicholson worked hard on the set:

He's what the Thirties and Forties stars were like. He can come on the set and deliver, without any fuss, without taking a long time walking around getting into it. "What do you want? Okay." And he just does it straight off. And then if you want him to do it another way on the next take, he can adapt to that too.[16]:318

Nicholson won his second Oscar, an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, for his role of retired astronaut Garrett Breedlove in Terms of Endearment (1983), directed by James L. Brooks. It starred Shirley MacLaine and Debra Winger. McGilligan claims it was one of Nicholson's most complex and unforgettable characters. He and MacLaine played many of their scenes in different ways, constantly testing and making adjustments. Their scenes together gave the film its "buoyant edge", states McGilligan, and describes Nicholson's acting as "Jack floating like a butterfly".[16]:330

Nicholson continued to work prolifically in the 1980s, starring in such films as The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981), Reds (1981), where Nicholson portrays the writer Eugene O'Neill with a quiet intensity, Prizzi's Honor (1985), The Witches of Eastwick (1987), Broadcast News (1987), and Ironweed (1987). Three Oscar nominations also followed (Reds, Prizzi's Honor, and Ironweed).[47][48][49] John Huston, who directed Prizzi's Honor, said of Nicholson's acting, "He just illuminates the book. He impressed me in one scene after another; the movie is composed largely of first takes with him."[50]

In the 1989 Batman movie, Nicholson played the psychotic murderer and villain, the Joker. The film was an international smash hit, and a lucrative percentage deal earned him a percentage of the box office gross estimated at $60 million to $90 million.[51] Nicholson said that he was "particularly proud" of his performance as the Joker: "I considered it a piece of pop art", he said.[25]

1990s

For his role as hot-headed Col. Nathan R. Jessup in A Few Good Men (1992), a movie about a murder in a U.S. Marine Corps unit, Nicholson received yet another Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.[52][53] One review describes his performance as "spellbinding", adding that he portrayed "the essence of the quintessential military mind-set".[54] Critic David Thomson notes that Nicholson's character "blazed and roared".[55]

The film's director, Rob Reiner, recalls how Nicholson's level of acting experience affected the other actors during rehearsals: "I had the luck of having Jack Nicholson there. He knows what he's doing, and he comes to play, every time out, full-out performance! And what it says to a lot of the other actors is, 'Oooooh, I better get on my game here because this guy's coming to play! So I can't hold back; I've got to come up to him.' He sets the tone."[56]

In 1996, Nicholson collaborated once more with Batman director Tim Burton on Mars Attacks!, pulling double duty as two contrasting characters, President James Dale and Las Vegas property developer Art Land. At first, studio executives at Warner Bros. disliked the idea of killing off Nicholson's character, so Burton created two characters and killed them both off.

Not all of Nicholson's performances have been well received. He was nominated for Razzie Awards as worst actor for Man Trouble (1992) and Hoffa (1992). However, Nicholson's performance in Hoffa also earned him a Golden Globe nomination.[57][58] While David Thomson states that the film was terribly neglected, since Nicholson portrayed one of his best screen characters, someone who is "snarly, dumb, smart, noble, rascally—all the parts of 'Jack'"[55]

Nicholson went on to win his next Academy Award for Best Actor in the romantic comedy, As Good as It Gets (1997), his third film directed by James L. Brooks. He played Melvin Udall, a "wickedly funny",[59] mean-spirited, obsessive-compulsive novelist. "I'm a studio Method actor", he said. "So I was prone to give some kind of clinical presentation of the disorder."[60] His Oscar was matched with the Academy Award for Best Actress for Helen Hunt, who played a Manhattan wisecracking, single-mother waitress drawn into a love/hate friendship with Udall, a frequent diner in the restaurant. The film was a tremendous box office success, grossing $314 million, which made it Nicholson's second-best-grossing film of his career, after Batman.[26]

Nicholson admits he initially didn't like playing the role of a middle-aged man alongside much younger Hunt, seeing it as a movie cliché. "But Helen disarmed that at the first meeting", he says, "and I stopped thinking about it." They got along well during the filming, with Hunt saying that he "treated me like a queen", and they connected immediately: "It wasn't even what we said", she adds. "It was just some frequency we both could tune into that was very, very compatible."[59]

Critic Jack Mathews of Newsday described Nicholson as being "in rare form", adding that "it's one of those performances that make you aware how much fun the actor is having".[59] Author and screenwriter Andrew Horton describes their on-screen relationship as being like "fire and ice, oil and water— seemingly complete opposites".[61] Nonetheless, Hunt was Nicholson's perfect counterpart, and delivered "a simply stunning performance", writes critic Louise Keller. Co-star Greg Kinnear's role was also seen as showing his full range of acting in an "exquisitely heartfelt performance".[62]

In 2001, Nicholson was the first actor to receive the Stanislavsky Award at the 23rd Moscow International Film Festival for "conquering the heights of acting and faithfulness".[63]

2000s

Jack Nicholson.0920
Nicholson in 2008

In About Schmidt (2002), Nicholson portrayed a retired Omaha, Nebraska, actuary who questions his own life following his wife's death. His quietly restrained performance earned him an Academy Award Nomination for Best Actor. In Anger Management (2003), he played an aggressive therapist assigned to help an overly pacifist man (Adam Sandler). In 2003, Nicholson also starred in Something's Gotta Give, as an aging playboy who falls for the mother (Diane Keaton) of his young girlfriend. In late 2006, Nicholson marked his return to the dark side as Frank Costello, a nefarious Boston Irish Mob boss, based on Whitey Bulger who was still on the run at that time, presiding over Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio in Martin Scorsese's Oscar-winning film The Departed, a remake of Andrew Lau's Infernal Affairs. The role earned Nicholson worldwide critical praise, along with various award wins and nominations, including a Golden Globe nomination for supporting actor.

In 2007, Nicholson co-starred with Morgan Freeman in Rob Reiner's The Bucket List.[64] Nicholson and Freeman portrayed dying men who fulfill their list of goals. In researching the role, Nicholson visited a Los Angeles hospital to see how cancer patients coped with their illnesses.

2010s

Nicholson's next film role saw him reunite with James L. Brooks, director of Terms of Endearment, Broadcast News, and As Good as It Gets, for a supporting role as Paul Rudd's character's father in the 2010 film How Do You Know. It had been widely reported in subsequent years that Nicholson had retired from acting because of memory loss,[65] but in a September 2013 Vanity Fair article, Nicholson clarified that he did not consider himself retired, merely that he was now less driven to "be out there any more".[66]

On February 15, 2015, Nicholson made a special appearance as a presenter on SNL 40, the 40th anniversary special of Saturday Night Live.[67] After the death of boxer Muhammad Ali on June 3, 2016, Nicholson appeared on HBO's The Fight Game with Jim Lampley for an exclusive interview about his friendship with Ali.[68]

In February 2017, it was reported that Nicholson would be starring in an English-language remake of Toni Erdmann opposite Kristen Wiig, his first feature film role since How Do You Know.[69] On August 20, 2018, Nicholson dropped out of the project.[70]

Personal life

Relationships and children

Nicholson's only marriage was to Sandra Knight from June 17, 1962, to August 8, 1968; they had been separated for two years prior to the divorce. They had one daughter together, Jennifer (born September 16, 1963).

Actress Susan Anspach contended that her son, Caleb Goddard (born September 26, 1970), was fathered by Nicholson. In 1984, Nicholson stated that he was not convinced he is Caleb's father;[71] however, in 1996, Caleb stated that Nicholson had acknowledged him as his son.[72] At some point between 1988 and 1994, Nicholson provided financial assistance to put Caleb through college,[73] and Anspach's New York Times obituary referred to Caleb as "her son, whose father is Jack Nicholson".[74]

Between April 1973 and January 1990, Nicholson had an on-again, off-again relationship with actress Anjelica Huston that included periods of overlap with other women, including Danish model Winnie Hollman, by whom he fathered a daughter, Honey Hollman (born 1981).[75]

From 1989 to 1994, Nicholson had a relationship with actress Rebecca Broussard. They had two children together: daughter Lorraine (born April 16, 1990), and son Raymond (born February 20, 1992).[75][76]

For over a year, from 1999 to 2000, Nicholson dated actress Lara Flynn Boyle; they later reunited, before splitting permanently in 2004.[77]

Nicholson has stated that children "give your life a resonance that it can't have without them ... As a father, I'm there all the time. I give unconditional love."[25] However, he has also lamented that he "didn't see enough of my eldest daughter because I was trying to make a career".[78]

Assault charge

In a criminal complaint filed on February 8, 1994, Robert Blank stated that Nicholson, then 56, approached Blank's Mercedes-Benz while he was stopped at a red light in North Hollywood. After accusing the other man of cutting him off in traffic, Nicholson used a golf club to bash the roof and windshield of Blank's car. A witness confirmed Blank's account of the incident, and misdemeanor charges of assault and vandalism were filed against Nicholson. Charges were dropped after Nicholson apologized to Blank, and the two reached an undisclosed settlement, which included a reported $500,000 check from Nicholson.[79]

Celebrity friendships

Nicholson lived next door to Marlon Brando for a number of years on Mulholland Drive in Beverly Hills. Warren Beatty also lived nearby, earning the road the nickname "Bad Boy Drive". After Brando's death in 2004, Nicholson purchased his bungalow for $6.1 million, with the purpose of having it demolished. Nicholson stated that it was done out of respect to Brando's legacy, as it had become too expensive to renovate the "derelict" building which was plagued by mold.[80]

Nicholson's friendship with author-journalist Hunter S. Thompson is described in Thompson's autobiography Kingdom of Fear.[81] Following Thompson's death in 2005, Nicholson and fellow actors Johnny Depp, John Cusack, and Sean Penn attended the private memorial service in Colorado.[82]

Nicholson was also a close friend of Robert Evans, the producer of Chinatown, and after Evans lost Woodland, his home, as the result of a 1980s drug bust, Nicholson and other friends of the producer purchased Woodland to give it back to Evans.[83]

Hobbies

Nicholson is a fan of the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Lakers. He has been a Laker season ticket holder since 1970, and has held courtside season tickets for the past 25 years next to the opponent's benches both at The Forum and Staples Center, missing very few games. In a few instances, Nicholson has engaged in arguments with game officials and opposing players, and even walked onto the court.[84] He was almost ejected from a Lakers playoff game in May 2003 after he yelled at the game's referee.[85]

Nicholson is a collector of 20th-century and contemporary art, including the work of Henri Matisse, Tamara de Lempicka,[86] Andy Warhol and Jack Vettriano.[87] In 1995, artist Ed Ruscha was quoted saying that Nicholson has "one of the best collections out here".[88]

Political views

Nicholson described himself as a "life-long Irish Democrat".[89] Although he is personally against abortion, he is pro-choice. He has said, "I'm pro-choice, but against abortion because I'm an illegitimate child myself, and it would be hypocritical to take any other position. I'd be dead. I wouldn't exist." He has also said that he has "nothing but total admiration, gratitude, and respect for the strength of the women who made the decision they made in my individual case".[90]

Religious views

During a 1992 Vanity Fair interview, Nicholson stated, "I don't believe in God now. I can still work up an envy for someone who has a faith. I can see how that could be a deeply soothing experience."[91]

Honors

DennisHopperJackNicholson
Nicholson (right) and Dennis Hopper at the 62nd Academy Awards, 1990

In May 2008, then-California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver announced that Nicholson would be inducted into the California Hall of Fame, located at The California Museum for History, Women and the Arts. The induction ceremony took place on December 15, 2008, where he was inducted alongside 11 other Californians.[92][93]

In 2010, Nicholson was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame.[94]

In 2011, Nicholson received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from Brown University at its 243rd commencement. At the ceremony, Ruth Simmons, Brown University's president, called him, "the most skilled actor of our lifetime".[95]

Awards and nominations

With 12 Academy Award nominations (eight for Best Actor and four for Best Supporting Actor), Nicholson is the most nominated male actor in Academy Awards history. Only Nicholson (1960s–2000s), Michael Caine (1960s–2000s), Meryl Streep (1970s–2010s), Paul Newman (1950s–1960s, 1980s–2000s), Katharine Hepburn (1930s–1960s, 1980s), and Laurence Olivier (1930s–1970s) have been nominated for an acting (lead or supporting) Academy Award in five different decades.

With three Oscar wins, he also ties with Walter Brennan, Daniel Day-Lewis, Ingrid Bergman, and Meryl Streep for the second-most Oscar wins in acting categories. Only Katharine Hepburn, with four Oscars, won more.

In 2013, Nicholson co-presented the Academy Award for Best Picture with First Lady Michelle Obama. This ceremony marked the eighth time he has presented the Academy Award for Best Picture (1972, 1977, 1978, 1990, 1993, 2006, 2007, and 2013). Nicholson is an active and voting member of the Academy.

Filmography

Nicholson's acting career spans over sixty years. He has won three Academy Awards, and with twelve nominations, he is the most nominated male actor in the Academy's history.

Among his most notable films are Easy Rider (1969), Five Easy Pieces (1970), The Last Detail (1973), Chinatown (1974), The Passenger (1975), One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), The Shining (1980), Terms of Endearment (1983), Batman (1989), A Few Good Men (1992), As Good as It Gets (1997), About Schmidt (2002), Something's Gotta Give (2003), The Departed (2006), and The Bucket List (2007).

See also

Notes

  1. ^ John Joseph Nicholson (a department store window dresser in Manasquan, New Jersey) and Ethel May (née Rhoads, a hairdresser, beautician and amateur artist in Manasquan)

References

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  88. ^ Bob Colacello (April 1995), The Art of the Deal Vanity Fair.
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  90. ^ "NAMES IN THE NEWS : Nicholson Split on Abortion". Los Angeles Times.
  91. ^ Smith, Warren Allen. Celebrities in Hell. Fort Lee, NJ: Barricade, 2002. Print. "I don't believe in God now", Nicholson told a 1992 Vanity Fair interviewer. But: "I can still work up an envy for someone who has a faith. I can see how that could be a deeply soothing experience."
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  93. ^ "The California Museum's California Hall of Fame Fact Sheet". California Museum.
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  95. ^ "Some Wisdom from Jack... and Binder!" BlogDailyHerald. June 3, 2011.

Bibliography

  • Duncan, Paul (2003). Stanley Kubrick: The Complete Films. Taschen GmbH. ISBN 978-3836527750.

External links

Preceded by
Cesar Romero
Joker Actor
1989
Succeeded by
Heath Ledger
A Few Good Men

A Few Good Men is a 1992 American legal drama film directed by Rob Reiner and starring Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, and Demi Moore, with Kevin Bacon, Kevin Pollak, Wolfgang Bodison, James Marshall, J. T. Walsh, and Kiefer Sutherland in supporting roles. It was adapted for the screen by Aaron Sorkin from his play of the same name but includes contributions by William Goldman. The film revolves around the court-martial of two U.S. Marines charged with the murder of a fellow Marine and the tribulations of their lawyers as they prepare a case to defend their clients.

As Good as It Gets

As Good as It Gets is a 1997 American romantic comedy-drama film directed by James L. Brooks. The movie stars Jack Nicholson as a misanthropic and obsessive-compulsive novelist, Helen Hunt as a single mother with a chronically ill son, and Greg Kinnear as a gay artist. The screenplay was written by Mark Andrus and Brooks. The paintings were created for the film by New York artist Billy Sullivan.Nicholson and Hunt won the Academy Award for Best Actor and Best Actress, respectively, making As Good As It Gets the most recent film to win both of the lead acting awards, and the first since 1991's The Silence of the Lambs. It is ranked 140th on Empire magazine's "The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time" list.

Chinatown (1974 film)

Chinatown is a 1974 American neo-noir mystery film, directed by Roman Polanski from a screenplay by Robert Towne, starring Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway. The film was inspired by the California Water Wars, a series of disputes over southern California water at the beginning of the 20th century, by which Los Angeles interests secured water rights in the Owens Valley. The Robert Evans production, a Paramount Pictures release, was the director's last film in the United States and features many elements of film noir, particularly a multi-layered story that is part mystery and part psychological drama.

In 1991, the film was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" and it is frequently listed as one of the greatest films of all time. At the 47th Academy Awards, it was nominated for 11 Oscars, with Towne winning Best Original Screenplay. The Golden Globe Awards honored it for Best Drama, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Screenplay. The American Film Institute placed it second among its top ten mystery films in 2008.

A sequel, The Two Jakes, was released in 1990, again starring Nicholson, who also directed, with Robert Towne returning to write the screenplay. The film failed to generate the acclaim of its predecessor.

Five Easy Pieces

Five Easy Pieces is a 1970 American drama film written by Carole Eastman (as Adrien Joyce) and Bob Rafelson, and directed by Rafelson. The film stars Jack Nicholson, with Karen Black, Susan Anspach, Ralph Waite, and Sally Struthers in supporting roles.

The film tells the story of surly oil rig worker Bobby Dupea, whose rootless blue-collar existence belies his privileged youth as a piano prodigy. When Bobby learns that his father is dying, he goes home to see him, taking along his waitress girlfriend.

The film was nominated for four Academy Awards and five Golden Globe Awards, and, in 2000, was selected to be preserved by the Library of Congress in the National Film Registry.

Flight to Fury

Flight to Fury is a 1964 film starring Jack Nicholson, Fay Spain and Dewey Martin. The film was directed by Monte Hellman and filmed back to back with Back Door to Hell in the Philippines in 1964.Nicholson was one of the writers of the screenplay. The film is about a battle over stolen jewels after a plane crash in the Philippines. A version in Tagalog was also released called Cordillera, directed by Eddie Romero

.

Goin' South

Goin' South is a 1978 American western-comedy film, directed by and starring Jack Nicholson, with Mary Steenburgen, Christopher Lloyd, John Belushi, Richard Bradford, Veronica Cartwright, Danny DeVito and Ed Begley Jr.

Head (film)

Head is a 1968 American satirical musical adventure film written by Jack Nicholson and Bob Rafelson, directed by Rafelson, starring television rock group the Monkees (Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork and Michael Nesmith), and distributed by Columbia Pictures.

During production, one of the working titles for the film was Changes, which was later the name of an unrelated album by The Monkees. Another working title was Untitled. A rough cut of the film was previewed for audiences in Los Angeles in the summer of 1968 under the name Movee Untitled.

The film featured Victor Mature as "The Big Victor" and cameo appearances by Nicholson, Teri Garr, Carol Doda, Annette Funicello, Frank Zappa, Sonny Liston, Timothy Carey, Percy Helton and Ray Nitschke. Also appearing on screen in brief non-speaking parts are Dennis Hopper and film choreographer Toni Basil.

Ironweed (film)

Ironweed is a 1987 American drama film directed by Héctor Babenco. It is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by William Kennedy, who also wrote the screenplay. It stars Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep, with Carroll Baker, Michael O'Keefe, Diane Venora, Fred Gwynne, Nathan Lane and Tom Waits in supporting roles. The story concerns the relationship of a homeless couple: Francis, an alcoholic, and Helen, a terminally ill woman during the years following the Great Depression. Major portions of the film were shot on location in Albany, New York, including Jay Street at Lark Street, Albany Rural Cemetery and the Miss Albany Diner on North Broadway.

The film was nominated for two Academy Awards, including for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Nicholson) and Best Actress in a Leading Role (Streep).

John Robert Nicholson

John Robert "Jack" Nicholson, (December 1, 1901 – October 8, 1983) was a Canadian lawyer, businessman, politician and the 21st Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia.

Born in Newcastle, New Brunswick (now Miramichi), he graduated from the Dalhousie University law school in Halifax. In 1924, he moved to Vancouver, British Columbia and practised law.

During World War II, he was a deputy controller in the Department of Munitions and Supplies. From 1942 to 1951, he was the head of a crown corporation, Polymer Corporation, and from 1952 to 1956, the head of Brazilian Light and Power Co in Rio de Janeiro.

In 1962, Nicholson was elected to Canadian House of Commons for the riding of Vancouver Centre and was re-elected in 1963 and 1965. From 1963 to 1964, he was the Minister of Forestry. From 1964 to 1965, he was the Postmaster General. In 1965, he was the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. From 1965 to 1968, he was the Minister of Labour.

From 1968 to 1973, he served as the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (film)

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is a 1975 American comedy-drama film directed by Miloš Forman, based on the 1962 novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey. The film stars Jack Nicholson as Randle McMurphy, a new patient at a mental institution, and features a supporting cast of Louise Fletcher, William Redfield, Will Sampson, Sydney Lassick, Brad Dourif, and Christopher Lloyd in his film debut.

Filming began in January 1975 and lasted three months, taking place on location in Salem, Oregon, and the surrounding area, as well as on the Oregon coast. The producers decided to shoot the film in the Oregon State Hospital, an actual mental hospital, as this was also the setting of the novel.

Considered by some to be one of the greatest films ever made, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is No. 33 on the American Film Institute's 100 Years... 100 Movies list. The film was the second to win all five major Academy Awards (Best Picture, Actor in Lead Role, Actress in Lead Role, Director and Screenplay) following It Happened One Night in 1934, an accomplishment not repeated until 1991 with The Silence of the Lambs. It also won numerous Golden Globe and BAFTA Awards. In 1993, the film was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress, and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

Ride in the Whirlwind

Ride in the Whirlwind is a 1966 Western film directed by Monte Hellman and starring Cameron Mitchell, Millie Perkins, Jack Nicholson, and Harry Dean Stanton. Nicholson also wrote and co-produced the film.

Something's Gotta Give (film)

Something's Gotta Give is a 2003 American romantic comedy film written, produced and directed by Nancy Meyers. It stars Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton as a successful 60-something and 50-something, who find love for each other in later life, despite being complete opposites. Keanu Reeves and Amanda Peet co-star, with Frances McDormand, Paul Michael Glaser, Jon Favreau, and KaDee Strickland playing key supporting roles.

The film received generally favorable reviews from critics, and was a box office hit following its North American release, eventually grossing over $266 million mostly from its international run. For her performance Keaton earned a Golden Globe, a Satellite Award, as well as an Academy Award nomination and a SAG Award nomination for Best Actress, among other recognitions. Nicholson also received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy. This was Nicholson and Keaton's second film together since 1981's Reds.

Despite the similarity of the titles, there is no connection between Something's Gotta Give and Something's Got to Give, an unfinished 1962 film starring Marilyn Monroe.

Terms of Endearment

Terms of Endearment is a 1983 American comedy-drama film adapted from Larry McMurtry's 1975 novel, directed, written, and produced by James L. Brooks, and starring Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger, Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, Jeff Daniels, and John Lithgow. The film covers 30 years of the relationship between Aurora Greenway (MacLaine) and her daughter Emma (Winger).

The film received eleven Academy Award nominations, and won five. Brooks won the Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium, while MacLaine won the Academy Award for Best Actress, and Nicholson won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. In addition, it won four Golden Globes: Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Actress in a Drama (MacLaine), Best Supporting Actor (Nicholson), and Best Screenplay (Brooks).

The Departed

The Departed is a 2006 American crime-thriller film directed by Martin Scorsese and written by William Monahan. It is a remake of the 2002 Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, and Mark Wahlberg, with Martin Sheen, Ray Winstone, Vera Farmiga, Anthony Anderson and Alec Baldwin in supporting roles.

The film takes place in Boston. Irish Mob boss Francis "Frank" Costello (Nicholson) plants Colin Sullivan (Damon) as a mole within the Massachusetts State Police; simultaneously, the police assign undercover state trooper William "Billy" Costigan (DiCaprio) to infiltrate Costello's crew. When both sides realize the situation, Sullivan and Costigan each attempt to discover the other's identity before they are found out. The character of Colin Sullivan is loosely based on corrupt FBI agent John Connolly while the character of Frank Costello is based on gangster Whitey Bulger.The Departed was a critical and commercial success and won several awards, including four Oscars at the 79th Academy Awards, for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Film Editing; Mark Wahlberg was also nominated for Best Supporting Actor.

The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981 film)

The Postman Always Rings Twice is a 1981 American drama film directed by Bob Rafelson and written by David Mamet (in his screenwriting debut). Starring Jack Nicholson and Jessica Lange, it is the fourth adaptation of the 1934 novel by James M. Cain. The film was shot in Santa Barbara, California.

The Raven (1963 film)

The Raven is a 1963 American independent B movie/horror-comedy film produced and directed by Roger Corman. The film stars Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, and Boris Karloff as a trio of rival sorcerers. The supporting cast features a young Jack Nicholson as Lorre's character's son.

It was the fifth in the so-called Corman-Poe cycle of eight films largely featuring adaptations of Edgar Allan Poe stories produced by Roger Corman and released by AIP. The film was written by Richard Matheson, based on references to Poe's poem "The Raven".

Three decades earlier, Karloff had appeared in another film with the same title, Lew Landers's 1935 horror film The Raven with Bela Lugosi.

The Terror (1963 film)

The Terror is a 1963 Independent American Vistascope horror film produced and directed by Roger Corman. The plot concerns a French officer who finds an intriguing woman who is believed to be the ghost of a baron's long departed wife. It was filmed on sets left over from other AIP productions, including The Haunted Palace. The film was also released as Lady of the Shadows, The Castle of Terror, and The Haunting; it was later featured as an episode of Cinema Insomnia and Elvira's Movie Macabre.

The film is sometimes linked to Corman's Poe cycle, a series of films based on the works of Edgar Allan Poe, however The Terror is not based on any text by Poe.

The Trip (1967 film)

The Trip (1967) is a counterculture-era psychedelic film released by American International Pictures, directed by Roger Corman, written by Jack Nicholson, and shot on location in and around Los Angeles, including on top of Kirkwood in Laurel Canyon, Hollywood Hills, and near Big Sur, California in 1967. Peter Fonda stars as a young television commercial director named Paul Groves.

The Witches of Eastwick (film)

The Witches of Eastwick is a 1987 American dark fantasy-comedy film based on John Updike's novel The Witches of Eastwick (1984). Directed by George Miller, the film stars Jack Nicholson as Daryl Van Horne, alongside Cher, Michelle Pfeiffer and Susan Sarandon as the eponymous witches.

Films directed by Jack Nicholson
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