Nicholson in 2001
John Joseph Nicholson
April 22, 1937
Neptune City, New Jersey, U.S.
(m. 1962;div. 1968)
|Children||5, including Lorraine|
John Joseph Nicholson (born April 22, 1937) is an American actor and filmmaker whose career spanned more than 60 years. He is known for having played a wide range of starring or supporting roles, including comedy, romance, and darkly comic portrayals of anti-heroes and villainous characters. In many of his films, he played the "eternal outsider, the sardonic drifter", someone who rebels against the social structure.
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 Carnal Knowledge (1971), The Last Detail (1973), Terms of Endearment (1983), Prizzi's Honor (1985), As Good as It Gets (1997), and About Schmidt (2002); 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); 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). He has also directed three films, including The Two Jakes (1990).
Nicholson's 12 Academy Award nominations make him the most nominated male actor in the Academy's history. He has won the Academy Award for Best Actor twice for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) and As Good as It Gets (1997), and the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for Terms of Endearment (1983). He is one of only three male actors to win three Academy Awards, and one of only two actors to be nominated for an Academy Award for acting in every decade from the 1960s to the 2000s. 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.
Nicholson had a number of high-profile relationships, most notably with Anjelica Huston and Rebecca Broussard, and was married to Sandra Knight from 1962 to 1968. He has five children: one with Knight, two with Broussard (including Lorraine Nicholson), and one each with Susan Anspach and Winnie Hollman.
Nicholson was born on April 22, 1937, in Neptune City, New Jersey, 8 Biographer Patrick McGilligan stated in his book Jack's Life that Latvian-born Eddie King (originally Edgar A. Kirschfeld), June's manager, may have been Nicholson's biological father, rather than Furcillo. Other sources suggest June Nicholson was unsure of the father's identity. As June was only seventeen years old and unmarried, her parents agreed to raise Nicholson as their own child without revealing his true parentage, and June would act as his sister.the son of a showgirl, June Frances Nicholson (stage name June Nilson; 1918–1963). Nicholson's mother was of Irish, English, German, and Welsh descent. She married Italian-American showman Donald Furcillo (stage name Donald Rose) in 1936, before realizing that he was already married. :
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.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".
Nicholson grew up in Neptune City. 7 He was raised in his mother's Roman Catholic religion. Before starting high school, his family moved to an apartment in Spring Lake, New Jersey. :16 "When Jack was ready for high school, the family moved once more—this time two miles 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." "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. 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.:
In 1957, Nicholson joined the California Air National Guard,a move he sometimes characterized as an effort to "dodge the draft"; 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, Nicholson performed weekend drills and two-week annual training as a firefighter assigned to the unit based at the Van Nuys Airport. During the Berlin Crisis of 1961, Nicholson was called up for several months of extended active duty, and he was discharged at the end of his enlistment in 1962.
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 an entry-level job as an animator, but he declined, citing his desire to become an actor.While accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 56th Golden Globe Awards, he recalled that his first day as a working actor was May 5, 1955, which he considered lucky, as "5" was the jersey number of his boyhood idol, Joe DiMaggio. 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. 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 .
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, Fonda 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.Nicholson also co-wrote, with Bob Rafelson, the movie Head , which starred The Monkees. He also arranged the movie's soundtrack.
Nicholson's first big acting break came when a spot opened up in Fonda and Hopper's Easy Rider (1969). He played alcoholic 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. 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".
The part was a lucky break for Nicholson. The role had been written for the actor Rip Torn, who withdrew from the project after an argument with Hopper.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."
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.
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 played 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. 37 Nicholson himself said as much, telling an interviewer, "I like listening to everybody. This to me is the elixir of life.""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." :
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." :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. 130 Critics began speculating as to whether he might become another Marlon Brando or James Dean. His career and income skyrocketed. He said, "I have [become] 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." :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. 130:
—Mike Nichols, director
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. 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 a 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?" 127During 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". :
Other Nicholson roles included Hal Ashby's The Last Detail (1973), with Randy Quaid, for which Nicholson won 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.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."
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. ... From Gittes forward, Nicholson created the persona of a man who had seen it all and was still capable of being wickedly amused."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
Nicholson had been friends with the director Roman Polanski long before the murder of Polanski's wife, Sharon Tate and others, at the hands of the Manson Family, and supported him in the days following their deaths. 109–110 After Tate's death, Nicholson began sleeping with a hammer under his pillow and took breaks from work to attend the Manson trial.:
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."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. 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.
Geimer learned afterward 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.
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 afterward that DeVito grew up in the same area of New Jersey, and they knew many of the same people.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". 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:Forman allowed Nicholson to improvise throughout the film, including most of the group therapy sequences. :
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.
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.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.He says he wanted the film to have more of a "spy feeling [and] be more political". Nicholson began shooting the film from an unfinished script, notes Judith Crist, 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. 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. 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."I'm part of the first generation that idolized Marlon Brando", he said.
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.
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."
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 a 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".
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. 434 For example, Nicholson improvised his now-famous "Here's Johnny!" line, :433 along with a scene in which he unleashes his anger upon his wife while she interrupts his writing. :445 There were also extensive takes of scenes, due to Kubrick's perfectionism. Nicholson shot a scene with the ghostly bartender thirty-six times. Nicholson states that "Stanley's demanding. He'll do a scene fifty times, and you have to be good to do that." :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. 318 Richardson recalled that Nicholson worked hard on the set: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. :
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. 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". 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); Heartburn (1986); The Witches of Eastwick (1987); Broadcast News (1987); and Ironweed (1987). Three Oscar nominations also followed (Reds, Prizzi's Honor, and Ironweed).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."
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. Nicholson said that he was "particularly proud" of his performance as the Joker: "I considered it a piece of pop art", he said.
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.One review describes his performance as "spellbinding", adding that he portrayed "the essence of the quintessential military mindset". Critic David Thomson notes that Nicholson's character "blazed and roared".
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."
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.[ citation needed ]
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.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'"
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", million, which made it Nicholson's second-best-grossing film of his career, after Batman.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." 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
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."
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".Author and screenwriter Andrew Horton describes their on-screen relationship as being like "fire and ice, oil and water—seemingly complete opposites". Nonetheless, Hunt was Nicholson's perfect counterpart and delivered "a simply stunning performance", wrote critic Louise Keller.
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".
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 over 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 best-supporting actor.
In 2007, Nicholson co-starred with Morgan Freeman in Rob Reiner's The Bucket List .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.
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 has been widely reported in subsequent years that Nicholson has retired from acting because of memory loss,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 anymore".
On February 15, 2015, Nicholson made a special appearance as a presenter on SNL 40 , the 40th anniversary special of Saturday Night Live .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. He was reported to be starring in an English-language remake of Toni Erdmann in 2017 opposite Kristen Wiig, his first feature film role since How Do You Know, but he later dropped out of the project.
—David Thomson, a film critic.
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), also an actress. Jennifer's son Duke Norfleet (b. 1999), is also an actor, under the name Duke Nicholson.
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;however, in 1996, Caleb stated that Nicholson had acknowledged him as his son. At some point between 1988 and 1994, Nicholson provided financial assistance to put Caleb through college, and Anspach's New York Times obituary referred to Caleb as "her son, whose father is Jack Nicholson".
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, with whom he fathered a daughter, Honey Hollman (born 1981).
From 1989 to 1994, Nicholson had a relationship with actress Rebecca Broussard. They had two children together: daughter Lorraine Nicholson (born April 16, 1990 - named after his aunt), and son Raymond (born February 20, 1992).
For over a year, from 1999 to 2000, Nicholson dated actress Lara Flynn Boyle; they later reunited, before splitting permanently in 2004.
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." However, he has also lamented that he "didn't see enough of my eldest daughter because I was trying to make a career".
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.
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.
Nicholson's friendship with author-journalist Hunter S. Thompson is described in Thompson's autobiography Kingdom of Fear .Following Thompson's death in 2005, Nicholson and fellow actors Johnny Depp, John Cusack, and Sean Penn attended the private memorial service in Colorado.
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.
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.He was almost ejected from a Lakers playoff game in May 2003 after he yelled at the game's referee.
Nicholson is a collector of 20th-century and contemporary art, including the work of Henri Matisse, Tamara de Lempicka,Andy Warhol and Jack Vettriano. In 1995, artist Ed Ruscha was quoted saying that Nicholson has "one of the best collections out here".
Nicholson described himself as a "life-long Irish Democrat".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".
In 2020, Nicholson endorsed Bernie Sanders's second presidential campaign for the 2020 nomination.
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 faith. I can see how that could be a deeply soothing experience."
In 1994, he was the youngest recipient of the AFI Life Achievement Award.
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.
In 2010, Nicholson was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame.
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".
With twelve 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.
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), Carnal Knowledge (1971), The Last Detail (1973), Chinatown (1974), One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), The Shining (1980), Reds (1981), Terms of Endearment (1983), Prizzi's Honor (1985), Batman (1989), A Few Good Men (1992), As Good as It Gets (1997), About Schmidt (2002), and The Departed (2006).
Marlon Brando Jr. was an American actor and film director with a career spanning 60 years, during which he won the Oscar for Best Actor twice. He is well-regarded for his cultural influence on 20th-century film. Brando was also an activist for many causes, notably the civil rights movement and various Native American movements. Having studied with Stella Adler in the 1940s, he is credited with being one of the first actors to bring the Stanislavski system of acting and method acting, derived from the Stanislavski system, to mainstream audiences.
Roman Polański is a Polish-French film director, producer, writer, and actor. Since 1978, Polanski has been a fugitive from the U.S. criminal justice system; he fled the country while awaiting sentencing in his sexual abuse case on charges of drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl and after pleading guilty to statutory rape.
John Marcellus Huston was an American film director, screenwriter, actor, and visual artist. He travelled widely, settling at various times in France, Mexico, and Ireland. Huston was a citizen of the United States by birth but renounced U.S. citizenship to become an Irish citizen and resident in 1964. He later returned to the United States, where he lived the rest of his life. He wrote the screenplays for most of the 37 feature films he directed, many of which are today considered classics: The Maltese Falcon (1941), The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948), The Asphalt Jungle (1950), The African Queen (1951), The Misfits (1961), Fat City (1972), The Man Who Would Be King (1975) and Prizzi's Honor (1985).
Henry Jaynes Fonda was an American film and stage actor who had a career that spanned five decades in Hollywood. Fonda cultivated a strong, appealing screen image in several films now considered to be classics, earning one Academy Award for Best Actor on two nominations.
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, released by Paramount Pictures, 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.
Dorothy Faye Dunaway is an American actress. She is the recipient of awards including an Academy Award, three Golden Globes, and a British Academy Film Award. In 2011, the government of France made her an Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters.
Kirk Douglas was an American actor, producer, director, philanthropist, and writer. After an impoverished childhood with immigrant parents and six sisters, he made his film debut in The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946) with Barbara Stanwyck. Douglas soon developed into a leading box-office star throughout the 1950s, known for serious dramas, including westerns and war films. During his career, he appeared in more than 90 films. Douglas was known for his explosive acting style, which he displayed as a criminal defense attorney in Town Without Pity (1961).
Easy Rider is a 1969 American independent road drama film written by Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, and Terry Southern, produced by Fonda, and directed by Hopper. Fonda and Hopper play two bikers who travel through the American Southwest and South, carrying the proceeds from a cocaine deal. The success of Easy Rider helped spark the New Hollywood era of filmmaking during the early 1970s.
María Cristina Estela Marcela Jurado García, better known as Katy Jurado, was a Mexican actress of film, television, and theater. Jurado began her acting career in Mexico. She achieved some renown in her country's cinema during the period known as the Golden Age of Mexican cinema (1940s–1950s). In 1951, she was discovered by American filmmakers in Mexico and began her Hollywood career. She acted in notable Western films of the 1950s and 1960s. An exotic beauty, Jurado specialized in interpretations of complex, stereotyped and sexualized women. Her talent for playing a variety of characters helped pave the way for Mexican actresses in American cinema. She was the first Latin American actress nominated for an Oscar, as Best Supporting Actress for her work in Broken Lance (1954), and was the first to win a Golden Globe Award, for her performance in High Noon (1952).
Prizzi's Honor is a 1985 American black comedy crime film directed by John Huston from a screenplay written by Richard Condon and Janet Roach based on Condon's 1982 novel of the same name. It stars Jack Nicholson, Kathleen Turner, Robert Loggia, William Hickey, and Anjelica Huston. In the film, two highly skilled assassins are hired to kill each other. However, while trying to find the best way to complete their missions, they end up falling in love. It was the last of John Huston's films to be released during his lifetime.
Peter Henry Fonda was an American actor, director, and screenwriter. He was the son of Henry Fonda, younger brother of Jane Fonda, and father of Bridget Fonda. He was a part of the counterculture of the 1960s. Fonda was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for Easy Rider (1969), and the Academy Award for Best Actor for Ulee's Gold (1997). For the latter, he won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama. Fonda also won the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film for The Passion of Ayn Rand (1999).
Anjelica Huston is an American actress, director, producer, author, and former fashion model. Huston was the third generation of her family to receive an Academy Award, when she won Best Supporting Actress for her performance in 1985's Prizzi's Honor. She joined her father, director John Huston, and grandfather, actor Walter Huston, in gaining this recognition. She received Academy Award nominations for her performances in Enemies: A Love Story (1989) and The Grifters (1990), for Best Supporting Actress and Best Actress, respectively.
Lee Strasberg was a Polish-born American actor, director, and theatre practitioner. He co-founded, with directors Harold Clurman and Cheryl Crawford, the Group Theatre in 1931, which was hailed as "America's first true theatrical collective". In 1951 he became director of the nonprofit Actors Studio in New York City, considered "the nation's most prestigious acting school," and in 1966 he was involved in the creation of Actors Studio West in Los Angeles.
Terry Southern was an American novelist, essayist, screenwriter, and university lecturer, noted for his distinctive satirical style. Part of the Paris postwar literary movement in the 1950s and a companion to Beat writers in Greenwich Village, Southern was also at the center of Swinging London in the 1960s and helped to change the style and substance of American films in the 1970s. He briefly wrote for Saturday Night Live in the 1980s.
Fat City is a 1972 American boxing drama directed by John Huston. The picture stars Stacy Keach, Jeff Bridges, and Susan Tyrrell.
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 Treasure of the Sierra Madre is a 1948 American western adventure drama written and directed by John Huston. It is an adaptation of B. Traven's 1927 novel of the same name, set in the 1920s, in which, driven by their desperate economic plight, two young men, Fred C. Dobbs and Bob Curtin, join old-timer Howard in Mexico to prospect for gold.
Mister Roberts is a 1955 American Warnercolor in CinemaScope comedy-drama film directed by John Ford and Mervyn LeRoy, and featuring an all-star cast including Henry Fonda as Mister Roberts, James Cagney as Captain Morton, William Powell as Doc, and Jack Lemmon as Ensign Pulver. Based on the 1946 novel and 1948 Broadway play, the film was nominated for the three Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Sound, Recording, with Jack Lemmon winning the award for Best Supporting Actor.
In March 1977, the then-43-year-old film director Roman Polanski was arrested and charged in Los Angeles with five offenses against Samantha Geimer, a 13-year-old girl – rape by use of drugs, perversion, sodomy, lewd and lascivious act upon a child under 14, and furnishing a controlled substance to a minor. At his arraignment, Polanski pleaded not guilty to all charges but later accepted a plea bargain whose terms included dismissal of the five initial charges in exchange for a guilty plea to the lesser charge of engaging in unlawful sexual intercourse.
Jack Nicholson is an American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter who made his film debut in The Cry Baby Killer (1958). Nicholson is widely regarded as one of the greatest actors of all time. He is also one of the most critically acclaimed: his 12 Academy Award nominations make him the most nominated male actor in the Academy's history. He is also a Kennedy Center Honoree and a recipient of the AFI Life Achievement Award and the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award.
I yearn for honesty in life. I'd tell anybody any living thing about me.
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