Jack Nicholson

ActeurJack Nicholson is one of the most successful Hollywood actors in history. Born and raised in New Jersey, he moved to Hollywood after graduating from high school. After years of playing in small roles, his acting career broke through with his role in the movie Easy Rider that came out in 1969.


John Joseph Nicholson, better known as Jack Nicholson is born in 1937 on April 22, in Neptune, New Jersey in the United States of America. Nicholson is the son of June Frances Nicholson and Donald Furcillo. His mother was a showgirl and her stage name was June Nilson. His father was a showman as well and his stage name was Donald Rose. His parents got married in 1936. However, his mother later found out that Furcillo was already married. His mother also was not sure of who the father was. Since she did not know who the father was and was very young when she was pregnant, her parents decided to take Nicholson in their home and raise them. His mother would act as his sister and her parents would act as the original parents. Nicholson found out that his so-called sister was his mother in 1974. Some researches of the magazine Time magazine told Nicholson. Nicholson stated that finding out was pretty dramatic, but not traumatizing. Nicholson was born in Neptune, New Jersey. He grew up there too. His family’s religion was roman catholic, so he grew up with that religion. Later on, Nicholson and the family moved to Spring Lake, another city in the state New Jersey. Nicholson attended high school in Spring Lake. He went to a high school called Manasquan High School. He graduated high school in 1954. During his senior year, Nicholson was called and voted ‘’class clown’’. Nicholson was a pretty popular kid in high school, and had detention almost every day. During his high school years, Nicholson’s interest in drama and theatre started. He also received an award at the school and was honoured. Nicholson went to the 50 year school reunion in 2004.

Early career

After graduating from Manasquan High School, Nicholson went to Hollywood. He temporarily worked at the MGM cartoon studio, and worked as an office worker. Later on, Nicholson got offered a job as an animator by the MGM cartoon studio. However, Nicholson did not take the job because he did not want to be an animator, but a professional actor. During the same time, Nicholson took acting classes and studied with an acting group. The acting group was named Players Ring Theater. When he studied with the group for a while, he got his first small acting jobs. He appeared and fulfilled small roles in television shows and in musicals. His first real movie appearance was in 1958. In 1958, the movie The Cry Baby Killer came out, where Nicholson played in. The producer of the movie was called Roger Corman. Corman and Nicholson became friends and worked together for more years after The Cry Baby Killer. The two worked together on movies like The Raven, The Terror, The Little Shop of Horrors and St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. Another producer and director that Nicholson worked a lot with was Monte Hellman. Nicholson and Hellman worked together on movies like The Shooting and Ride in the Whirlwind. Although he put a lot of time and effort in these small roles and low-budget movies, Nicholson got discouraged after a while since his acting career was not successful yet. Therefore, Nicholson put a hold on acting and decided to pursue a career in screen writing and as a movie director. The first writing job that Nicholson worked on was for the movie The Trip, that came out in 1967. He worked together with friend Corman. In the movie, actors like Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper appeared. Nicholson got complimented on his screen writing skills. However, the movie did not become a success. Later, Nicholson worked on the screen writing of the movie Head. After a while, Nicholson decided to begin with acting again. He played a role in the movie Easy Rider, that came out in 1969. This movie became a huge success. Nicholson even received his first Oscar nomination for his role in Easy Rider.

Career in the 1970’s and 1980’s

After the success of Easy Rider, Nicholson appeared in the 1970 movie Five Easy Pieces. He played in the movie together with Karen Black. They both were nominated for an Oscar award for their role in the movie. After Five Easy Pieces was released, the movie became a huge success. Critics were very positive about Nicholson’s acting skills, which boosted his career enormously. Critics even compared Nicholson to successful actors like James Dean or Marlon Brando. After his career boost, Nicholson stated that ‘’your name becomes like a brand image’’. From now on, Nicholson only wanted to play characters that have never been played before. In the same year, Nicholson played in the movie On A Clear Day You Can See Forever. A year later in 1971, Nicholson appeared in Carnal Knowledge. When Nicholson was on set for the movie, he met Garfunkel, what later turned out to become Nicholson’s friend for life. Another movie that Nicholson starred in was The Last Detail, that came out in 1973. A year later, Nicholson appeared in Chinatown. He appeared alongside Faye Dunaway and John Huston. In 1975, Nicholson played a role in the movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The movie was based on a novel that was written by Ken Kesey. Nicholson’s appearance was one of the biggest successes in his career. In the same year, Nicholson played in The Passenger that was directed by Michelangelo Antonioni’s. The movie received good feedback and became a success. Other movies that he played in was The Last Tycoon and The Missouri Breaks. In the eighties, Nicholson played a role in movies like The Postman Always Rings Twice, Broadcast New, Iron Weed and Reds. In 1989, Nicholson also appeared in the very successful movie Batman.

Career in the 1990’s and 2000’s

Nicholson played in the movie A Few Good Men that came out in 1992. For his role in this movie, he was nominated for an Academy Award. A couple of years later, in 1996, Nicholson appeared in Mars Attacks! He also appeared in the movie Hoffa, which he was nominated for a Golden Globe. In 1997, the movie As Good as It Gets came out, which Nicholson played in. As Good as It Gets became a huge success, and earned a box office of 314 million dollars. In 2002, Nicholson played a role in the movie About Schmidt. In the movie, he played a retired man who has to continue his life after his wife died.  A year later, Nicholson appeared in the movie Anger Management. In the same year, he appeared in the movie Something’s Gotta Give. He played a man who falls in love with an older woman, who was the mother of his girlfriend. After a couple of years absent in the acting world, Nicholson returned in 2006. That year he played a role in the movie The Departed, alongside Leonardo DiCaprio. The movie became a huge success and earned lots of money worldwide. The Bucket List is the name of the next movie that Nicholson played in. The movie came out in 2007, and he played alongside Morgan Freeman. The last movie that Nicholson appeared in until today, was How Do You Know, which came out in 2010.

Personal life

Nicholson has been married one time in his life. Nicholson got married in 1962, to Sandra Knight. In 1966, the couple separated and did not live together anymore. In 1968, the divorce was finalized. Sandra Knight and Nicholson received a daughter in 1963. The daughter is called Jennifer Nicholson. After his marriage was over, Nicholson had another child with fellow actress Susan Anspach. They received a son who was called Caleb Goddard. However, Nicholson made it clear that he is not sure if he is the father or not. Until the nineties, Nicholson had a relationship with fellow actress Anjelica Huston. During the same time, Nicholson had a thing going on Winnie Hollman. The two received a child together, a daughter named Honey Hollman who was born in 1981. Nicholson also had a relationship with fellow actress Rebecca Broussard. Their relationship lasted from 1989 to 1994. The two received to children. They received a daughter in 1990, and a son Raymond in 1992. From 1999 to 2000, Nicholson had a relationship with Lara Flynn Boyle. During his long acting career, Nicholson made many celebrity friends. Nicholson lived besides fellow actor Marlon Brando. Another actor who lived close to Nicholson was Warren Beatty. Another close friend of Nicholson is the journalist Hunter S. Thompson. The producer of the movie Chinatown was also a close friend to Nicholson. For his political views, Nicholson is a Democrat. He described himself as a ‘’Life Long Democrat’’. In 1992, Nicholson talked about his religious views. He said that he did not believe in God at that moment.

Awards & nominations

During Nicholson’s long acting career, he has been honoured on several occasions. He received the honour of being a part of the California Hall of Fame in 2008. The California Hall of Fame can be found at the California Museum for History, Women and the Arts. Nicholson received the honour by former governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger. A few years later, in 2010, Nicholson received the honour of being part of the New Jersey Hall of Fame. New Jersey is the place where Nicholson was born and raised. Another honour that Nicholson received was an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree at the Brown University. He received the honour in 2011. Nicholson has been nominated and won many different awards during his acting career. He has been nominated twelve times for the Academy Awards. He has been nominated for his performance in movies like Chinatown, The Last Detail and Five Easy Pieces. Nicholson has won an Academy Award three times. He has won an Academy Award for his performance in movies like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Terms of Endearment and As Good as It Gets. Besides the Academy Awards, Nicholson has also been nominated for the Golden Globe Awards. He has been nominated seventeen times for a Golden Globe for his performance in movies like Easy Rider, Reds and Ironweed. Nicholson has won a Golden Globe six times for his performance in movies like Terms of Endearment, Prizzi’s Honour and About Schmidt. Other awards that Nicholson has won include the Grammy Awards, the British Academy Film Awards and the Saturn Awards.


Article written by: SarahAjaoud
Times read: 2385x
Added: 22-02-2017 18:11
Last modified: 09-06-2017 11:54

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