Unarguably revered as one of the greatest and most beloved actors of all time, Jack Nicholson is a name that every cinephile lights up at the sound of.
How couldn’t we love him? His charm and likeability have only grown more refined with age, his talent is timeless, his roles – unforgettable. Although he is said to be retired from making movies, for the time being, the Oscar award-winning actor has starred in over 65 films in his repertoire that will define his Hollywood legacy for years to come.
In honor of this lovable star, and in support of making the world a little more aware of this legend’s feats, here’s a list of eight things you probably didn’t know about him:
He won the third Oscar of his career in 1998 for his role as a bigoted, misanthropic, obsessive-compulsive, romance novel writer in “As Good As It Gets.” Jack has been quoted multiple times saying that this role was extremely difficult for him to wrap his head around. Though, he managed to put his weight behind the portrayal of people, especially gay men, for the film.
Nicholson received his 11th Oscar Nomination for his portrayal of Colonel Jessep in the courtroom drama, “A Few Good Men.” This drama was written by Aaron Sorkin, and the final scene where Nicholson and Tom Cruise face off with the dialogue, “You can’t handle the truth” is regarded as one of the best courtroom scenes ever directed.
His first ever Oscar was won in 1976 for his portrayal of a rascal and anti-hero who has a hearty sexual appetite in the movie, “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.” The movie is based on the 1962 book by Ken Kesey of the same title. Funnily enough, Nicholson was not the first choice for this role, it was Michael Douglas, who had the rights of the book and desperately wanted to get this made into a movie.
Nicholson joined the military in 1957. He was deployed for a few months in 1961 during the Berlin Crisis and was honorably discharged of his duties in 1962.
He first arrived in Hollywood in 1954 at the age of 17 to visit his sister and decided to stay to accept an administrative position working for the animators William Hanna and Joseph Barbara, the duo most famous for the “Tom and Jerry” cartoon. They offered him a job to become an animator, but he turned it down saying he wanted to pursue acting instead.
Nicholson was next-door neighbors with Marlon Brando for nearly three decades. They shared many stories and an amicable friendship. Nicholson attributes his success to the tips and advice he received from Brando. He refuses, however, to discuss any other details of his friendship with Brando, stating that it would be dishonoring his friends wish of not being talked about.
An avid supporter of the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Lakers, Nicholson reveres himself as an avid sports fan. For the last 25 years (and counting) he’s held courtside season tickets for all the Laker’s games.
Though he identifies with being an Atheist, he is also anti-abortion. The reason for this stance has an interesting (and valid) personal backstory. Due to a complicated situation between his birth parents when he was born, Nicholson was raised to believe that his grandmother was his mother and that his mother was his sister. It wasn’t until he was 37 years old that he found out the truth, and by this point, both his mother and his grandmother were already deceased. Because of his experience being an illegitimate child, he claims that he would not exist if abortion was allowed at the time of his birth In light of the situation, he’s said, [I have…] “nothing but total admiration, gratitude, and respect for the strength of the women who made the decision they made in my individual case.”