One of the most honored actors of all time, Jack Nicholson has been making films both in front of and behind the camera for over sixty years. From a deranged mental patient in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” to an angry US marine Colonel in “A Few Good Men” to an obsessive compulsive novelist in “As Good As It Gets,” Jack Nicholson has given the world some of film history’s most brilliant performances.
Here are some true facts about the brilliant Nicholson that you can’t handle.
Give up on Scooby Doo
Jack Nicholson started is careers as an assistant to animators William Hanna and Joseph Barbera of Hanna-Barbera cartoons. They got a suprise when he turned down the opportunity to work on Scooby-Doo to aim for a future in acting instead.
Rip Torn got into a near-violent fight with Dennis Hopper and was fired from the set of Easy Rider, Jack took this opportunity to step into the role and become a cultural icon.
Nicholson claims to have added one of the most famous scenes in “Five Easy Pieces” where Nicholson tries to order toast from an obstinate waitress who would only serve it to him in a chicken salad sandwich was based on a true story. He said it happened to him personally so it requested it to be added to the script.
Stands up for the Unborn
Nicholson is personally against abortion, because
“I’m an illegitimate child myself and it would be hypocritical to take any other position. I’d be dead. I wouldn’t exist.”
Robs Brando of an Oscar
Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Burt Reynolds, and James Caan all turned it down the lead role in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” This was the part that secured Jack’s first Oscar. To get back at him, Brando would often raid Nicholson’s fridge.
Fear and Loathing in Hollywood
On one of Nicholson’s birthdays, his good friend and author Hunter S. Thompson showed up outside his house, turned on a spotlight, blasted a recording of a pig being eaten alive by bears, and fired several rounds from a 9 mm pistol. When a terrified Nicholson elected, justifiably, not to open the door, Thompson left an elk’s heart on his doorstep.
Jack was in a 17-year long relationship with Anjelica Huston. After years of putting up with his philandering, she left him in 1990 when he got another woman pregnant and could no longer hide that affair.
Even though Michael Keaton was the titular “Batman”, Nicholson got top billing because he’s Jack Nicholson. For his role in Tim Burton’s “Batman,” Nicholson negotiated a percentage of the merchandising which netted him somewhere between $60 and $90 million dollars for all those wonderful toys.
Nicholson described Fidel Castro as “a genius” after a trip to Cuba and left with a very good impression of the country. Of course, being Jack Nicholson, he probably experienced a far more luxurious version of Cuba than most Cubans.