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Biography for Jack Nicholson

Birth name

John Joseph Nicholson


Mulholland Man


5' 9" (1.75 m)

Mini biography

Abandoned by his father in his childhood, he was raised believing his grandmother was his mother and his mother was his older sister. The truth was revealed to him years later when a Time magazine researcher uncovered the truth while preparing a story on the star. Jack had a 17 year relationship with actress which ended in 1990 after was carrying his child.

Spouse |

( - 1968) (divorced) 1 child

Trade mark

Shark's grin, sunglasses

Jersey drawl


Ranked #6 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list. [October 1997]

Recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute. [1994]

Used to be a messenger boy for MGM's cartoon department.

Children: (b. 1963) with ; Caleb (b. 1970) with Susan Anspach ; Honey Hollman (b. 1981) with Danish supermodel, ; Lorraine (b. 1990) and Raymond (b. 1992) with .

He was the 2001 Center Honors recipient.

Dedicated his Oscar for (1997) to , his co-star in (1992) who had died shortly before the Academy Awards in 1998.

In 1994, in an apparent bout of rage, he smashed a man's car window in with a golf club. He expressed remorse for the incident in an interview with US Magazine.

Loves jokes at his expense so much that he showed up at every Academy Awards hosted by , who in turn would incorporate Nicholson somehow in the telecast.

Lives on famed "Bad Boy Drive" a.k.a. Mulholland Drive in Beverly Hills, California. It's nicknamed so because its residents have included former Hollywood bad boys , and the late .

Avid Los Angeles Lakers fan. He never misses a Lakers home game. Because of this, producers on his films must work the shooting schedule around the Lakers' schedule.

Was asked, along with and , to play the role of Michael Corleone in (1972).

Dated [1999-2001]

The Best Lady at his wedding to was . The Best Man was . After their divorce, Nicholson lived, for a time, at 's place.

Never does televised interviews except for press conferences. But in 2004, while attending a fashion show for his daughter, designer , he agreed to be interviewed briefly by for E! Entertainment.

Flew to Cuba and met with in June 1998. While there, he also met with leaders of the Cuban film industry, enjoyed local restaurants, jazz clubs and visited a famous cigar factory. He left greatly impressed with the country and its Communist dictator, who he described as "a genius", though the luxuries he was treated to on the island are off-limits to most Cuban citizens.

Each one of the films for which he has won an Oscar has also won Best Actress in a Leading Role (, (1975); , (1983); , (1997)).

Has a second home in Aspen, Colorado.

Graduate of Manasquan High School, Manasquan, New Jersey, where he was voted "Class Clown" by the Class of 1954.

Boyhood friend of . Nicholson's relatives and DeVito's relatives ran a hair salon together.

Presented the Best Picture Oscar five times (in 1971, 1976, 1977, 1989, and 1992), more than any other actor or actress.

Owns a large art collection including works by and Tamara de Lempicka

Batman creator personally recommended him for the role of the Joker in (1989).

The illegitimate son of Donald Furcillo, the son of Italian immigrants, and June Nicholson, whose father, Jack Sr., was Irish and mother, Ethel May, was of Dutch descent. He never knew his father and was raised by his grandmother. He was led to believe that June was his older sister.

Turned down the role of Johnny Hooker in (1973) to play Billy "Bad Ass" Buddusky in (1973), which was written by his close friend , as he did not want to appear in a purely commercial picture just then. eventually played the part. Both Nicholson and Redford were nominated for Best Actor of 1973 at the Academy Awards, losing to for (1973).

Turned down the lead role of Roy Neary in (1977), even though he knew the movie would be a hit as he felt that the special effects would overwhelm any actor in the movie.

Appeared in (1975) and (1975). Ironically, both of those films were nominated for Best Actress Oscars. "Cuckoo" star won.

Has been nominated for an acting Oscar in five different decades (1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s).

In 2004, he attended his 50th high school reunion at Manasquan High School in Manasquan, New Jersey. Needless to say, his classmates were surprised and delighted that he attended.

Is one of only a few actors to win a Best Supporting Actor Oscar after winning a Best Actor Oscar.

The character Shipwreck from the animated GI Joe series of the 1980s was partly based on him (and partly based on Popeye the Sailor Man).

Is of Italian, Irish, and Dutch heritage.

Claims his personal favorite performances are his works in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Batman, Hoffa and As Good As It Gets.

Personal quotes

"The average celebrity meets, in one year, ten times the amount of people that the average person meets in his entire life."

"It was one of the few times when it was money well spent." [about the $5 million he earned for (1992) ]

"When I read the part, I knew I'd win the Oscar for it." [regarding (1983)]

"You only lie to two people in your life: your girlfriend and the police."

"If you get an impulse in a scene, no matter how wrong it seems, follow the impulse. It might be something and if it ain't - take two!"

"A star on a movie set is like a time bomb. That bomb has got to be defused so people can approach it without fear."

[On the birth of his son after having had two daughters:] "I finally got it right."

"When I come up against a director who has a concept that I don't agree with, or maybe I just haven't thought of it or whatever, I'd be more prone to go with them than my own because I want to be out of control as an actor, I want them to have the control, otherwise it's going to become predictably my work, and that's not fun."

"I only take viagra when I am with more than one woman."

"I'm not a raver anymore, all good things must come to an end."

"I was particularly proud of my performance as the Joker. I considered it a piece of pop art."

"My motto is: more good times."

"A question you always ask in acting is, Where were you going if this scene didn't interrupt the movements of the character?"

"You're new here, aren't you?" Nicholson, who rarely is seen in public without his sunglasses, replied when asked by a photographer to take off his glasses for a photo.

"There's a period just before you start a movie when you start thinking, I don't know what in the world I'm going to do. It's free-floating anxiety. In my case, though, this is over by lunch the first day of shooting."

Every director implored me, "Jack, can't you talk a little bit faster?" It was like a hot button for me and I would become hateful. So when Roman started to say it, I began and he said, "Jack, this movie is 100-and-something pages long. To have a movie that is screen able, you'll have to talk a little faster". [ directed him in (1974)].

[On turning down the role played by in (1973)] "I liked the period, the whole project and I knew it would be commercial. But at the time, I needed to put my energies into a movie that really needed them. I needed to take a risk".

[On being nominated for an Oscar for the third time for (1973)] "The first time I was up for an Oscar, I thought I would win it. But I didn't have as sharp a view as I do now. The second time...I expected to lose, and deservedly lose, to . But even getting a nomination blows my mind. I'd love to win but now that I've had several good performances that people at large have liked, it becomes harder to excite them. And familiarity breeds contempt".

"So I mean it when I say that if you can't appreciate Brando, I wouldn't know how to talk to you. If there's anything obvious in life, this is it. Other actors don't go around discussing who is the best actor in the world, because it's obvious - Marlon Brando is."


(2002) | $10,000,000

(2001) | $10,000,000

(1994) | $13,000,000

(1992) | $5,000,000

(1989) | $60,000,000 (total earnings)

(1987) | $6,000,000

(1976) | $125,000 + 10% of all gross receipts above $12.5m

(1970) | $12,500

Biography from Leonard Maltin's Movie Encyclopedia:

Not many actors could have risen from a bit in the three-day (1960) to the lead in the multimillion-dollar epic (1992); fewer still are sufficiently comfortable with their stardom to continue to take small but challenging roles, but this paunchy, balding actor with what "Time" magazine once called a "shark's grin" has always been a consummate professional, albeit an incredibly well-paid one, as well as one of the few contemporary stars whom anybody can do an impression of.

Nicholson got his movie start with legendary cheapie producer Roger Corman, who cast him in the title role of (1958). He played small roles for the next few years; in addition to playing a masochistic dental patient in he costarred as Peter Lorre's moron son in (1963), and hung around to play the lead in filmed shortly thereafter on the same sets and starring Boris Karloff. Nicholson got his first screenplay credit that same year, cowriting the virtually unknown After a period of relative inactivity, he resurfaced by producing, writing, and costarring in a trio of low-budget Monte Hellman films: a pair of existential Westerns, (1965), and (1967), and (1966), a tropical adventure.

Nicholson played a filling-station attendant named "Poet" in (1967), a pony-tailed rocker in wrote the script for Corman's LSD epic and co wrote, coproduced (with Bob Rafelson), and briefly appeared in the cult favorite (all 1968). He stepped in to replace Rip Torn at the last minute and played a boozy Southern lawyer in another biker film ... but this one, (1969), changed his life. The unexpected, phenomenal success of this counterculture road film (and his riveting performance as a drop-out lawyer) made Nicholson a demi-star, especially to the Beatles-generation audiences who comprised the bulk of the moviegoing public in those years. (It also earned him his first Oscar nomination.) His role in Vincente Minnelli's (1970) was cut down to nothing, but Nicholson's vibrant portrayal of an angry, disaffected exmusician in (also 1970) proved to be a star-making turn, thanks in large part to his memorable "chicken salad sandwich" tirade; it also brought him a second Oscar nomination, in the Best Actor category. His sublimely cynical sexual politician in (1971) cemented his reputation as the star of a new generation. His followups, (1971) and (1972), didn't endear him to the moviegoing mainstream, but reaffirmed his status as an individualist who sought out challenging and contemporary material. He then cowrote, coproduced, and directed the X-rated coming-of-age drama , (1972).

Nicholson hit his stride with starring roles in (1973, Oscarnominated again as a career sailor on m.p. duty), (1974, Oscar-nominated as detective Jake Gittes), and (1975, winning his first Oscar as the not-so-crazy, rebellious asylum patient Randall Patrick McMurphy). In his Academy Award acceptance speech, the sly Nicholson thanked film pioneer Mary Pickfordwho'd just made an appearance on the show-"for being the first actor to get a percentage of her pictures."

Now a full-fledged star, Nicholson took chances that few others would dare, playing a goofy sidekick to Warren Beatty in the farcical leaving Hollywood to work for Michelangelo Antonioni in the inscrutable taking a singing role in (all 1975), and a supporting part in (1976). His subsequent starring films were a mixed bag, however: (1976, a disappointing "summit meeting" with Marlon Brando), (1978, a quixotic comedy which he directed), (1980, an over-thetop tour de force in which he went crazy for nearly two hours, under Stanley Kubrick's direction), (1981, a seamy and steamy remake of the James M. Cain classic), and (1982, a muddled drama about illegal aliens).

The actor's choices grew cannier at this time. He was surprisingly effective as playwright Eugene O'Neill in Warren Beatty's sprawling (1981, earning a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination), and charming as the comically dissolute former astronaut who laconically romances Shirley MacLaine in (1983), which won him a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award. John Huston gave him one key piece of direction to play a dimwitted hit-man in (1985)-"Remember, he's dumb"-and the result was one of his alltime best performances, opposite Kathleen Turner and his longtime girlfriend Anjelica Huston. He chalked up another Oscar nomination, then played a thinly disguised version of journalist Carl Bernstein in (1986), creating an unforgettable Nicholson moment by bursting into song (the "Soliloquy" from Carousel!).

He was devilishly well cast as Satan in modern-day guise in which allowed him to "let go" in a furiously funny climax, then played a heartbreaking man on the skids in which earned him another Oscar nomination (both 1987). He rounded out 1987 with a very funny, deadpan cameo appearance as an imperious network anchorman in By now something of an icon-as actor, movie star, and power broker-he accepted a whopping salary (and percentage) to play The Joker in (1989), and chewed the scenery to his heart's content (and his fans'). In 1990 he realized a longtime ambition to make a sequel to directing and starring in the disappointing .

After some time off, he appeared in three movies in succession in 1992: the dreadful comedy (which reunited him with director Bob Rafelson), the smash hit (which gave him a plum, Oscar-nominated supporting role as a Machiavellian Marine officer), and the ambitious biography (in which his galvanizing performance-in very convincing makeup-had to carry a diffuse and unsatisfying script). He then reteamed with director Mike Nichols to try something completely different-a werewolf movie, namely (1994). In 1994 he received the American Film Institute Life Achievement Award, reaffirming his unique status as a counterculture hero who has managed to function extraordinarily well in the movie mainstream. His next film was (1995).