The great Jack Nicholson turned 84 years old on 2021. Nicholson’s Hollywood career has been anything but conventional. As an actor he has played the game his own way, choosing a selection of roles, which on paper appear to be oddball decisions – but nearly always turn into box office and awards gold. That’s why he’s one of the greatest movie stars of all-time.
Who else could have the varied likes of Chinatown, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Easy Rider, As Good As It Gets, The Departed, Batman, Terms Of Endearment and The Shining on their CV? And that’s not to mention a variety of other great roles – some of which have gone under the radar – The Fortune with Warren Beatty, Sean Penn’s The Pledge and Michelangelo Antonioni’s The Passenger to name but a few.
Many have tried to copy Nicholson’s onscreen persona (Christian Slater and Leonardo DiCaprio, I’m looking at you) but none have succeeded. There is a danger that rests on the surface of all his characters, the bad boy image that he has off-screen seeps over, creating a distinctive energy that is impossible to replicate. He has played a multitude of different characters, in a variety of genres, but they are all unmistakably ‘Jack’.
Jack Nicholson apparently retired from acting in 2013, apparently after having difficult remembering lines. It’s a shame because he was a true original and one of the all-time Hollywood greats.