29 Nov Jack Nicholson ~ Mischievous and Magnificent
John Joseph Nicholson (born April 22, 1937) is an American actor and filmmaker who acting career spans for over sixty years. He is known for playing a wide range of starring or supporting roles, including satirical comedy, romance, and darkly comic 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. In his personal life, he exudes a wolf like charm, a wicked sense of humor; and his animated features capture the essence of a mischievous child on the verge of orneriness.
Before we launch into this man’s amazing career, we will take a side trip to his birth. 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 the mother (he was raised by) 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”.
Yet, the revelation definitely impacted his view of the world as it pertains to abortion. He confesses to be pro-choice, however, against abortion ~ since he is aware that he may not have been born ~ had a different decision about his birth mother’s pregnancy been made. 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”.
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), Prizzi’s Honor (1985), Batman (1989), A Few Good Men (1992), As Good as It Gets (1997), About Schmidt (2002), and The Departed (2006).
How it began: A spot opened up in Fonda and Hopper’s Easy Rider (1969), it led to his first big acting break. Nicholson 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.”
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.
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.
Nicholson is in the California Hall of Fame, the New Jersey Hall of Fame, and 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”.
Relationships and children
Nicholson is the Hollywood celebrity who is almost like a character in some ongoing novel of our times. He has huge wealth, and lives life with reckless abandon even as he is aging. He is father to 5 children with 4 different mothers; was married in 1962 to the mother of his first child, divorced in 1968 and has been single since.
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 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”.
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.”
Net Worth $400 Million
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