John Joseph Nicholson, popularly known as Jack Nicholson, is an American actor. Widely regarded as one of the greatest actors of his generation, Nicholson is a three-time Academy Award winner. Apart from these, he has also received 12 Academy Award nominations, which makes him the most nominated male actor in the Academy`s history. Best known for his impeccable portrayal of the rebellious outsider, some of Nicholson`s iconic roles came in 1970`s and 1980`s, courtesy of films like Chinatown (1974), One Flew Over the Cuckoo`s Nest
(1975) and The Shining (1980). Nicholson has received Academy Award nominations for acting in every decade from the 1960`s to the 2000`s - a rare distinction he shares with British actor Michael Caine
. The actor has also won six Golden Globes and three BAFTA Awards in the course of an illustrious career spanning over six decades. Early Life
Nicholson was born to June Frances Nicholson on 22nd April, 1937 in Neptune City, New Jersey. The identity of his biological father is unknown. He grew up in New Jersey and attended the Manasquan High School. Personal Life
Nicholson has only been married once - to Sandra Knight (from 1962 to 1968), with whom he fathered a daughter, Jennifer. Though he hasn`t married again, Nicholson has been involved in a number of relationships over the years, most notably with actress Anjelica Huston
, with whom he was involved from 1973 to 1990. He also has a daughter (Honey) from his relationship with Danish model Winnie Holzman
and two children (Lorraine and Raymond) with actress Rebecca Broussard. From 1999 to 2000, the actor dated Lara Flynn Boyle
. Movie Career As an Actor
After working as a gofer for the animation division of MGM studios for some years, Nicholson debuted as an actor by playing the protagonist in the low-budget teen-drama The Cry Baby Killer (1958). In the 1960s, he regularly collaborated with independent film producer and director Roger Corman
in films like The Little Shop of Horrors (1960), in which he played a masochistic dental patient. The other notable Corman films that Nicholson featured in were The Raven (1963), The Terror (1963) and The St. Valentine`s Day Massacre (1967). During this period, Nicholson also frequently featured in Monte Hellman
`s western films Ride in the Whirlwind (1966) and The Shooting (1966).
The Dennis Hopper film Easy Rider (1968) was Nicholson`s first big break as an actor. He also won his first Oscar nomination for essaying the role of the hard-drinking lawyer George Hanson in the film. The film went on to become a blockbuster and catapulted Jack Nicholson into the top rung of actors in Hollywood.
Nicholson then had a great run in mid 1970`s as he got nominated for the Oscars for his performances in Five Easy Pieces (1970), The Last Detail (1974) and Chinatown (1975) and also ended up winning his first Oscar for One Flew over the Cuckoo`s Nest
(1976). He came to be identified as the hero of the counterculture movement of that period and drew comparisons with anti-hero actors from the past like James Cagney
and Humphrey Bogart
. In Five Easy Piece (1970), he played an oil rig worker who plans to return home after a self-imposed exile for 20 years, while in The Last Detail (1974) Nicholson essayed the role of a Navy seal. His performance in The Last Detail won him the Best Actor award at Cannes Film Festival that year.
One of the most acclaimed performances of his career came as the protagonist in director Roman Polanski
`s neo-noir mystery Chinatown (1974) which is widely considered as a classic. In the film, private detective Jake Gittes (Jack Nicholson) gets caught in a web of deceit while spying on a client`s husband. His portrayal of the sleuth earned Nicholson his fourth Oscar nomination that year. Nicholson earned his first Academy Award for Best Actor courtesy of his performance in the Milos Forman
film One Flew Over the Cuckoo`s Nest
(1975). Based on the Ken Kasey`s novel of the same name, the film tells the story of a convict who fakes insanity to escape prison labour and is subsequently placed in a mental institution, where he rebels against the authoritarian attitude of the staff.
In the Stanley Kubrick
horror classic The Shining (1980), Nicholson delivered a memorable performance as the deranged hotel caretaker Jack Torrence. Though he did not win any award for The Shining, it has over the years become one of his most popular performances. The 80`s saw Nicholson steering away from anti-hero roles that earned him much acclaim to more outlandish comic roles. But he still managed to give brilliant performances during the decade as Eugene O`Neill in Reds
(1981) and as Garrett Breedlove in Terms of Endearment
(1983), for which he won another Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. The actor`s portrayal of fictional supervillain Joker in Tim Burton
`s Batman (1989) is another memorable performance of his from the 1980`s.
Nicholson continued to deliver stellar performances in his fourth decade as an actor. He was nominated at the Oscars for the 10th time for his part of Colonel Jessup in A Few Good Men
(1993). He also delivered a commercial hit playing the protagonist in the romantic horror film Wolf (1994) during this period. In 1998, Nicholson won his 3rd Academy Award for his portrayal of Melvin Udall, a cynical writer with obsessive-compulsive disorder, in the film As Good As it Gets. In the subsequent years, the actor continued wowing the audience and critics alike with his performances in films like Something`s Gotta Give
(2003) and About Schmidt (2003), with the latter film earning him his 12th Academy Award nomination.
In 2007, the actor starred alongside Leonardo DiCaprio
and Matt Damon
in the crime-drama The Departed
. The film went on to win four Oscars, including the Best Director and Best Film Awards. Since then, Nicholson has appeared in the comedy-drama The Bucket List (2008) and the romantic comedy-drama How Do You Know
(2010). In 2010, it was rumoured that Nicholson has retired from acting. However, it`s been reported that he will be starring in the remake of 2016 German-Austrian comedy-drama Tony Erdmann
. As a Writer/Producer/Director
Prior to his breakout as an actor, Nicholson had a stint as a screenwriter. He even chipped in as a producer for some of the films he wrote like Ride in the Whirlwind (1966) and Head (1968). His first real success as a screenwriter came with The Trip (1967), which had Peter Fonda
and Susan Strasberg in the lead roles. Notable writing credits also include films like Thunder Island (1963), Flight to Fury (1964) and Drive, He Said (1971).
Nicholson has also directed three feature films - Drive, He Said (1971), Goin` South (1978) and The Two Jakes (1990), which was a sequel to Roman Polanski`s 1974 classic Chinatown.