Jack Nicholson

Jack Nicholson
Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times


Jack Nicholson
Film: North side of the 6900 block of Hollywood Boulevard
Born John Joseph Nicholson Jr. on April 22, 1937 in Neptune City, NJ

Jack Nicholson is both a charmer and a cliche. Passionate about truth in his art and a mendacious hypocrite in real life. Wildly generous, yet appallingly parsimonious. A pothead and a fine art collector. A priapic satyr and a romantic fool.

In 1954, he took his swaggering wit to Hollywood. He worked as a gofer in the MGM animation department, until — in a story that may be true, or may be a bit of mythology — he was "discovered" in an elevator by MGM producer Joe Pasternak. Nicholson threw himself into acting classes, local theater, a stint in the National Guard, some Beat/intellectual auto-didacting, bit parts in television, Reichian therapy, screenwriting, an early marriage, a lot of drugs and a lot of buddying up with other soon-to-be-famous actors, writers, directors and producers.

During the late 1950s and early 1960s, he kept feverishly busy with roles in B-horror films (learning from his early mentor Roger Corman the economy of budget and script). He also did Nouvelle Vague westerns, and recycled, "Wild One"-influenced biker flicks.

"Easy Rider" was followed by "Five Easy Pieces," "Carnal Knowledge" and, of course, "Chinatown."

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    Academy Awards

    Year Category Work
    1969 Best Supporting Actor Easy Rider Nomination
    1970 Best Actor Five Easy Pieces Nomination
    1973 Best Actor The Last Detail Nomination
    1974 Best Actor Chinatown Nomination
    1975 Best Actor One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Win
    1981 Best Supporting Actor Reds Nomination
    1983 Best Supporting Actor Terms of Endearment Win
    1985 Best Actor Prizzi's Honor Nomination
    1987 Best Actor Ironweed Nomination
    1992 Best Supporting Actor A Few Good Men Nomination
    1997 Best Actor As Good As It Gets Win
    2002 Best Actor About Schmidt Nomination

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