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Jack Nicholson
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John Joseph Nicholson

April 22, 1937 (1937-04-22) (age 84)
Nationality American
Occupation Actor, director, producer, screenwriter
Years active 1957 - present
Sandra Knight
(m. 1962; div. 1968)
Partner(s) Anjelica Huston
Rebecca Broussard
Lara Flynn Boyle
Children 5
Parent(s) June Nicholson (deceased)

John Joseph "Jack" Nicholson (born April 22, 1937, Neptune, New Jersey) is an American actor, movie director, producer and writer. He started out as a writer and part-time actor. He became a star in 1969 when he had a small part in the movie Easy Rider. He has won three Oscars, for As Good as it Gets, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and Terms of Endearment. He is one of the most notable fans of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Nicholson is one of only two actors who have been nominated for an Academy Award for acting in every decade from the 1960s to 2000s; the other is Michael Caine. He has won seven Golden Globe Awards. He received a Kennedy Center Honor in 2001.

Nicholson has acted in over 67 films and at least a dozen television shows since beginning his career 60 years ago. He has won three Academy Awards, and with 12 nominations, he is the most nominated male actor in the Academy's history.

Early life

Wax statue of Jack Nicholson
Wax statue of Jack Nicholson featured at Louis Tussaud’s Waxworks at Ripleys World Pattaya - Thailand

Nicholson grew up in Neptune City, New Jersey. "Nick", as he was known to his high school friends, attended 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.

Military service

In 1957 Nicholson joined the Air National Guard, 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 fire fighter 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.


Jack Nicholson Walk of fame
Jack Nicholson Walk of fame

He appeared in many films, though his first major success 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. The film swept the Academy Awards with nine nominations and won the top five, including Nicholson's first for Best Actor.

The Joker at Wax Museum Plus
The Joker at Wax Museum Plus

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."

In the 1989 Batman movie, Nicholson played the 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.


Jack Nicholson footprint
Jack Nicholsons foot/handprint at Grauman's Chinese Theatre, in Los Angeles, California

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."


Year Title Role Director Notes
1958 The Cry Baby Killer Jimmy Wallace Jus Addiss
1960 Too Soon to Love Buddy Richard Rush
1960 The Wild Ride Johnny Varron Harvey Berman
1960 The Little Shop of Horrors Wilbur Force Roger Corman
1960 Studs Lonigan Weary Reilly Irving Lerner
1962 The Broken Land Will Brocious John A. Bushelman
1963 The Raven Rexford Bedlo Roger Corman
1963 The Terror Andre Duvalier Roger Corman
1963 Thunder Island Jack Leewood Writer
1964 Flight to Fury Jay Wickham Monte Hellman Also writer
1964 Back Door to Hell Burnett Monte Hellman
1964 Ensign Pulver Dolan Joshua Logan
1967 The St. Valentine's Day Massacre Gino, Hit Man Roger Corman Uncredited
1967 Hells Angels on Wheels Poet Richard Rush
1967 The Trip Roger Corman Writer
1968 Psych-Out Stoney Richard Rush
1968 Head Movie Director in Restaurant Bob Rafelson Uncredited cameo
Also producer and writer
1969 Easy Rider George Hanson Dennis Hopper
1970 On a Clear Day You Can See Forever Tad Pringle Vincente Minnelli
1970 The Rebel Rousers Bunny Martin B. Cohen
1970 Five Easy Pieces Robert Eroica Dupea Bob Rafelson
1971 Carnal Knowledge Jonathan Fuerst Mike Nichols
1971 A Safe Place Mitch Henry Jaglom
1971 Drive, He Said Jack Nicholson Writer, producer and director
1972 The King of Marvin Gardens David Staebler Bob Rafelson
1973 The Last Detail Signalman 1st Class Billy L. "Badass" Buddusky Hal Ashby
1974 Chinatown J. J. "Jake" Gittes Roman Polanski
1975 The Passenger David Locke Michelangelo Antonioni
1975 The Fortune Oscar Sullivan Mike Nichols
1975 One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Randle Patrick "Mac" McMurphy Miloš Forman
1975 Tommy The Specialist Ken Russell
1976 The Missouri Breaks Tom Logan Arthur Penn
1976 The Last Tycoon Brimmer Elia Kazan
1978 Goin' South Henry Lloyd Moon Jack Nicholson Also director
1980 The Shining Jack Torrance Stanley Kubrick
1981 The Postman Always Rings Twice Frank Chambers Bob Rafelson
1981 Reds Eugene O'Neill Warren Beatty
1982 The Border Charlie Smith Tony Richardson
1983 Terms of Endearment Garrett Breedlove James L. Brooks
1985 Prizzi's Honor Charley Partanna John Huston
1986 Heartburn Mark Forman Mike Nichols
1987 The Witches of Eastwick Daryl Van Horne George Miller
1987 Broadcast News Bill Rorich James L. Brooks
1987 Ironweed Francis Phelan Héctor Babenco
1989 Batman Jack Napier/The Joker Tim Burton
1990 The Two Jakes J. J. "Jake" Gittes Jack Nicholson Also director and uncredited producer
1992 Man Trouble Eugene Earl Axline / Harry Bliss Bob Rafelson
1992 A Few Good Men Colonel Nathan R. Jessup Rob Reiner
1992 Hoffa James R. "Jimmy" Hoffa Danny DeVito
1994 Wolf Will Randall Mike Nichols
1995 The Crossing Guard Freddy Gale Sean Penn
1996 Blood and Wine Alex Gates Bob Rafelson
1996 The Evening Star Garrett Breedlove Robert Harling
1996 Mars Attacks! President James Dale / Art Land Tim Burton
1997 As Good as It Gets Melvin Udall James L. Brooks
2001 The Pledge Jerry Black Sean Penn
2002 About Schmidt Warren R. Schmidt Alexander Payne
2003 Anger Management Dr. Buddy Rydell Peter Segal
2003 Something's Gotta Give Harry Sanborn Nancy Meyers
2006 The Departed Francis "Frank" Costello Martin Scorsese
2007 The Bucket List Edward Cole Rob Reiner
2010 How Do You Know Charles Madison James L. Brooks

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