Jack Nicholson's BiographyJohn "Jack" Joseph Nicholson is an American actor, director, screenwriter, and producer, renowned worldwide for his numerous roles as eccentric characters. Some of his most acclaimed films include Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining", Miloš Forman's "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest", and Tim Burton's "Batman". Other noteworthy films are "Easy Rider", "Five Easy Pieces", Roman Polanski's "Chinatown", "The Passenger", "Terms of Endearment", "A Few Good Men", "As Good as It Gets", and Martin Scorsese's "The Departed".
ChildhoodJack was born on April 22, 1937, in Manhattan, to 18-year-old dancer June Nicholson, who had Irish, English, and German ancestry. Six months before Jack's birth, June married fellow performer Donald Furcillo, thinking he was the father of her child. Despite already being married to someone else, Donald offered to provide for June and the baby. June's parents intervened and took Jack in so that June could continue her dancing career.
Early CareerAfter finishing school, Nicholson moved to Los Angeles, determined to make it in the film business. He initially worked as a gofer for animation legends William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. Soon, the studio recognized his artistic talent and offered him a position as an animator's assistant. However, with his sights set on acting, Jack declined.
He subsequently collaborated with Corman on "The Raven" (1963) and "The St. Valentine's Day Massacre" (1967). In the latter half of the 60s, he wrote two scripts for director Monte Hellman and starred in the films they inspired: "Ride in the Whirlwind" and "The Shooting" (1966).
Screenwriter Out of NecessityThose roles didn't make him famous, so in 1967, Nicholson believed he'd find greater success in writing. That year, he penned an LSD-inspired screenplay for "The Trip," starring Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper. Getting a taste for it, he began co-writing a script with Bob Rafelson. Their collaboration resulted in the musical "Head," featuring the members of The Monkees. Additionally, Nicholson selected the movie's soundtrack.
American IconAfter several nominations, Jack finally received his first Oscar. His award-winning performance came from his leading role in the iconic adaptation of Ken Kesey's "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."
The New CenturyIn 2002, the actor starred in "About Schmidt". This time, he portrayed a retired insurance worker struggling with questions about his life, a character in stark contrast to the explosive roles he played in previous films.
In the comedy "Anger Management", he took on the role of an aggressive psychiatrist assigned to help Adam Sandler's character control his emotions. In 2003, Nicholson played an aging playboy in "Something's Gotta Give", who becomes infatuated with his girlfriend's mother.