Jack Nicholson: Acting as a Trial of Strength

  • On April 22, 2022, Jack Nicholson turns 85
  • He grew up convinced that his grandmother was his mother. It took years for him to learn the truth about his family
  • His career took off in 1969. Since then, Nicholson has played continuously, winning a total of twelve Oscar nominations and three statuettes
  • Nicholson’s love life received enormous press attention, especially his tumultuous romance with Anjelica Huston
  • The actor has not appeared on the screen since 2010. There were rumors that it was due to health problems, but he himself says it is time to take a break from work
  • More important information can be found on the Onet homepage

The fact that the woman who raised him was not his biological mother he learned from journalists of the “Time” newspaper who conducted a small investigation – although they probably did not expect that they would find such spicy information.

June Frances Nicholson, a 17-year-old dancer, gave birth to a child on April 22, 1937. Her mother, Ethel, a vigorous and conservative woman, to avoid controversy and social exclusion, so devised a plan: to announce to everyone that the boy was her son. Until 1974, Jack was convinced that his parents were his grandparents and Ethel was his older sister. The revelation discovered by journalists completely broke him; since both June and Ethel were already dead, he couldn’t talk to them and explain the whole thing.

The controversy that gossip magazines lived for some time did not end there – it still remains to be determined who was the real father of the actor. Some say it was June’s manager, others that it was undoubtedly Donald Furcillo, the man with whom the teenager got into an affair. And whom she soon married, although – as it turned out – Furcillo was married at the time and committed bigamy. Nicholson cut short all deliberations, confessing that he was not interested in finding out the truth. He also never submitted to DNA testing.

  Young Jack Nicholson in 1958. Young Jack Nicholson in 1958 – Herbert Dorfman / Corbis via Getty Images / Getty Images

He remembered his childhood as extremely successful. Surrounded by the care of his family, he grew up to be an exuberant and charismatic boy, who could boast a great sense of humor and surrounded by a wreath of friends. However, the teachers did not remember him with such nostalgia – although Jack Nicholson was exceptionally gifted and did not have to apply himself to study, he was considered a difficult student, and he often ended up in a goat for his not-so-innocent jokes. He used the excess energy, making him a class clown and damaging his school tutors’ nerves. He was eager to play in school plays and did not know what stage fright was, and as his performances were met with general acclaim, he was slowly starting to think about a career in Hollywood. His enthusiasm continued over the years, so shortly after graduating from school, Nicholson set off to the Dream Factory to pursue his dream.

Fate smiled at him – first he got into the studio making Hanna-Barbera cartoons, and then he got a chance to present his skills in front of the cameras. Before that, however, he enrolled in an acting course to work on his voice and presentation, and at the same time he has already started devising his own style of playing, which makes him so different from other naturals. In 1958, he appeared in the foreground of “The Cry Baby Killer” and although it was known that he would not be a movie lover, it turned out that Hollywood was desperately looking for character actors who would cope with the toughest challenges and would prove themselves in any repertoire. And got Nicholson.

“At the very beginning of my film career, long before I started to achieve my first successes, I had the following motto: acting will be a test of strength for me, in which I will prove myself through the variety of roles. And that is why I play various characters, play heroes and anti-heroes Yes, just a variety of roles, not constantly playing the same or similar “

– said the actor in “Przekrój”. Following this rule, he soon became one of the Academy’s favorites, receiving twelve Oscar nominations and three statuettes.

Jack Nicholson and Maria Schneider in the movie "Profession: Reporter" from 1975Jack Nicholson and Maria Schneider in the 1975 film “Zawód: Reporter” – FilmPublicityArchive / United Archives via Getty Image / Getty Images

In 1969, the iconic “Free Rider” directed by Dennis Hopper had its premiere in theaters and Nicholson suddenly became a star. His career took off from the hoof and did not stop for a moment.

He himself believed that his heyday fell in the seventies; then played at his master, Michelangelo Antonioni (“Profession: Reporter”), and received an Oscar for “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (this video as well “Batman”, “It could not be better” and “Hoffa” he described as the most successful works in his oeuvre). The directors loved him because he was able to add character to his characters. “Every line he gets, no matter how clumsy or badly written, sounds right in his mouth”, Roman Polański, the creator of “Chinatown”.

The relationship with the director was extremely important to him; Nicholson emphasized that when choosing scenarios, he is not only guided by the character to play, but also paying attention to the members of the film crew. “When I am considering a new proposal, the person of the director who is to take the film to the workshop is extremely important to me,” he said in “Przekrój”.

He didn’t have too many star demands – but on one whim, he remained steadfast. He demanded that his photos never coincide with any game of the Los Angeles Lakers, the NBA team he has been a fan of since the early 1970s.

He mentioned Marlon Brando among his cinema masters – he considered him to be one of the most outstanding actors and emphasized that he would like to enjoy life in the same way and seduce women with such ease. He has equaled his idol in all fields!

Faye Dunaway and Jack Nicholson in the movie "Chinatown" from 1974Faye Dunaway and Jack Nicholson in the 1974 movie “Chinatown” – Sunset Boulevard / Corbis via Getty Images / Getty Images

Nicholson admitted bluntly that he was a womanizer, although, as befits a gentleman, he never commented on the rumors that more than two thousand women had passed through his bed.

However, he regularly provided material to gossip columns, and after divorcing Sandra Knight, he never decided to get married again. On the other hand, he was eagerly entangled in various relationships not sealed by a wedding – sometimes even in several at the same time. No wonder, since his approach to women was rather loose; his quote circulated in the press that one could only lie to two people, a policeman and his girlfriend.

His romance with Anjelica Hustonwith whom he dated – on and off – for nearly two decades, from 1973 Huston remembered their relationship as an emotional roller coaster. She was betrayed many times and often spent evenings crying when her beloved more or less intentionally hurt her with his rude behavior. She forgave him for everything, even his cruel reaction (“Are you kidding?”) When she asked him to get married and the fact that he had gone to bed with her friend. It wasn’t until the actress found out that one of Nicholson’s lovers, Rebecca Broussard, was pregnant that she found the scoop changed and decided to break the toxic relationship.

Jack Nicholson and Anjelica Huston in 1960.Jack Nicholson and Anjelica Huston in 1960 – Art Zelin / Getty Images / Getty Images

The actor has five children. Jennifer’s daughter is the fruit of his one and only marriage relationship, and although she dreamed of following in her father’s footsteps, she said goodbye to her acting career after many failures. Nicholson long denied that he was the father of Caleb James Goddard because he was in a relationship when he romanced Susan Anspach – journalists, however, enjoyed publishing the boy’s pictures, pointing to his similarities to the actor. He had a daughter, Honey, with the model Winnie Hollman, who emphasized in the media that she has a normal and nice relationship with her father. In turn, due to the relationship with Rebecca Broussard, Nicholson has two children, a daughter Lorraine and a son Raymond – and it is with them, as he claims, understood what it means to be a parent..

There was also a lot of controversy in the actor’s professional life. There are legends about the atmosphere on the set of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. – It was unbearable. Jack’s hero had to be crazy and furious all the time. And I had to cry for 12 hours. a day, for the last nine months, five or six days a week. After the premiere, no one paid any attention to my role. It is as if I was not in this film – said Shelley Duvall in an interview in 1980, emphasizing that she paid for participation in the production with her health.

Although “The Shining” turned out to be a huge commercial success, the film was dissatisfied with the author of the literary original, Stephen King, commenting that the film’s Wendy was not the character he was writing about.

Jack Nicholson in the 2019 Los Angeles Lakers gameJack Nicholson in 2019 at the Los Angeles Lakers – Allen Berezovsky / Getty Images / Getty Images match

Nicholson last appeared in 2010 in the romantic comedy “How Do You Know?” Opposite Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson and Paul Rudd. Seven years later, although the media circulated the information that an American remake of the movie “Tony Erdmann” would be made, and Nicholson would play the title role, the project was eventually shelved.

Behind the scenes it is said that the actor rejects career offers due to weight problems and, above all, declining memory – and prefers to withdraw rather than disappoint his fans. He himself vehemently denied these reports; He assured him that he is fine, his mind is still functional, but he does not want to work for the rest of his life and, just like that, he needs a well-deserved rest.


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