His wild and womanizing ways raised quite a few eyebrows too. One thing you can’t deny, Nicholson has a lot to show for himself. While he may live a relatively quiet life these days, he is not to be forgotten. Let’s take a look at the actor’s rich life over the years. You might be surprised to learn a few things.
He Lived on the Most Infamous Street in Hollywood
Jack Nicholson resides in one cool area Nicknamed "Bad Boy Drive". The iconic street Mulholland Drive housed legends like Warren Beatty and Marlin Brando (who were his neighbors.) The actor upgraded his lifestyle after he wrapped up with "Easy Rider."
As you can imagine, a trio of these actors living in the same vicinity, during the 70s' sounds like one nonstop party. And that's exactly what it was. This street was the epicenter of the elite counter-culture scene at the time.
Almost the Godfather
There was probably no better heavyweight actor than Nicholson during the 70s. But there was one thing he couldn't play, and that was Italian. No one knew that better than him, which is why he actually turned down the role of Michael Corleone as the godfather in the hit film, "The Godfather."
The 1972 role ultimately went to another legend, Al Pacino who completely embodied the character. To be honest, we can't quite see it any other way, and it's amazing how Nicholson had the sense to do it, even at his own expense.
His Best Buddy, Danny
Everyone needs a bestie, even big-time Hollywood stars. For Nicholson, that special friend is one of his earliest co-stars, a legend himself, Danny DeVito. The two starred in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and remained buds ever since.
The two actors both hail from New Jersey and went on to be pretty big film stars. Together, they've practically spent most of their lives in the industry.
Connected to the Playboy Mansion
According to a 2015 report on the Playboy Mansion, it was discovered that Jack Nicholson's property, among some others, has a secret tunnel that connects to Hugh's famous home. The information came to light after some journalists revealed certain polaroids and blueprints of the famous mansion.
Warren Beatty and Kirk Douglas also appeared to be some of the names linked to these secret playboy tunnels, but have all remained rather tight-lipped on the matter. Looks like we'll never know the details about the supposed "fun house" and we are sure there is a reason for that!
The Famous Trip to Cuba
Jack Nicholson was known to be the life of the party, and his popularity didn't end at elite Hollywood circles. It actually extended all the way to Cuba. His famous 1998 trip to the Caribbean island was met with a few raised eyebrows but also friendly smiles, specifically from the Cuban leader himself, Fidel Castro.
The actor found himself partying up with the former president. Together they hopped around the city's many hotspots, cigars in hand, having themselves a good ol' time.
He Was Discovered By Hollywood's Biggest Animators
In his early years, Nicholson spent some time working as a gofer at the MGM cartoon studios under producers and animators William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. They two noticed the actor's knack for drawing and offered him a job as a storyboard artist.
Jack turned it down, opting for an acting career instead. Sounds like he made the right call. Who knew he could have had a career as an artist!
He Didn't Know Who His Father Was
Jack Nicholson was raised entirely by women, which might explain how he's so good with the ladies. In an early unauthorized biography about the actor called Jack Nicholson: The Early Years, a shocking truth was revealed. All his life Jack believed it was a man named Don Furcillo.
Turns out his true biological father was out of the picture when a woman from New Jersey, mailed the authors of the book claiming that she knew the identity of Jack's true father- in fact, she was married to him.
The Cry Baby
He may have caught the world's attention in "Easy Rider" but Jack's actual film debut was a role in a low-budget teen crime drama called "The Cry Baby Killer" in the year 1958. The film follows the story of a seventeen-year-old boy who panics and takes people, hostage after he thinks he has committed a terrible crime.
Looks like those evil brows got him pegged as a villainous character early in his career. Thankfully he went on to play better and better roles as the years went by.
Nicholson Can Thank Rip Torn
"Easy Rider" was undoubtedly a defining film of the counter-culture scene of the late 60s and early 70s. The 1969 road trip movie starred Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda and was meant to star Rip Torn.
Plans changed when Rip found himself clashing with the creators resulting in some major physical blows. The actor was sacked and Nicholson took his place. The movie defined his career.
While some actors may argue that an Oscar is more a popularity prize than anything else, they might just be bitter that they don't have as many as Jack Nicholson. That's a record for the most nominations for a male actor in history. Scoring a nomination for every decade between the 60s and the 2000s makes Nicholson one of the greatest living actors.
When it comes to the actual little golden man itself, he has three of those from his performances in "One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest" (1975,) "Terms Of Endearment" (1983,) and "As Good As It Gets." There's only one person who has beaten him, and that is Meryl Streep.
A Real Don Juan
Sandra Knight, Gia Carangi, Anjelica Huston, Rebecca Broussard, Lara Flynn Boyle, Julie Delpy, and countless more. These are just a handful of the names that have been linked to Jack Nicholson romantically.
Cher once remarked that he "likes women more than any man I've ever known." The actor is even rumored to have once shared a night with Margaret Trudeau, the mother of the current Canadian Prime Minister, Jack Trudeau.
A Newbie Actor
His part in "Easy Rider" did not make him much money though. In 1969, the actor hadn't yet made enough of a name for himself so he wasn't exactly cashing in.
As a newbie actor, he made about $300 a week, an amount that would later pale in comparison.
The Mischief Maker
With a menacing grin like his, it's no surprise that he spent a decent amount of time in detention throughout his school years. He was described by his school teachers as cheeky and even at times downright "bad."
Nicholson hasn't always dealt so well with authority. In fact, in a 1993 interview with The Independent, he said "I was always against authority, hated being told anything by my teachers, by parents, by anyone." It's clear that he channeled that energy in "One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest."
With a passion not only for the screen, Nicholson is also equally passionate about women, which explains his five kids with four different women.
These days he has a relationship with all of them, but it wasn't always like that. One of them wasn't even acknowledged for many years...
Who is Caleb James Goddard?
Nicholson has been blessed with a few kids, sometimes even surprised. One of those surprises happened in 1970 with an ex-girlfriend named Susan Anspach. The actor (unknowingly) fathered a son named Caleb. Susan always contended that he was the son of Nicholson, but it took some convincing.
It wasn't until 1996 that he acknowledged the fact. Thankfully, the two formed a bond and seem to have a good father-son relationship.
The Party House
Jack was at the center of Hollywood's most raucous parties during the '70s. According to Marc Eliot's unauthorized biography "Nicholson," his home in the Hollywood Hills was not for the faint of heart.
The home was teeming with the beautiful elite. The hedonist haven was also home to a shocking crime that involved illicit substances.
A Feud with Heath Ledger
Rumor has it that the former Joker star was furious with the fact that producers called up the late Heath Ledger and cast him in the iconic role. We can understand his feelings, as Nicholson portrayed a killer Joker in the 1989 Batman film.
It was however a very different style (Tim Burton, after all) and Ledger brought something very different to the table. That being said, Nicholson saw the whole thing as unforgivable.
Where's the Shine?
Known to be one of the most horrific Oscar snubs in history, Jack Nicholson found himself completely empty-handed after his performance in "The Shining." The 1980 film remains to be one of the most significant roles in his entire career, but not a prize was seen.
In fact the film nor he got a single Oscar nomination. The film was not so appreciated at the time of its release and was even nominated for a Razzie Award. Thankfully, people grew to appreciate it over the years.
A Smart Cookie
Jack might have forged himself a mightily impressive career in film, but he got off to a different start. As a high school graduate, he did extremely well and earned himself a scholarship to the University of Delaware. Not knowing what he wanted to study, he took his time figuring things out.
He spent a few years "hanging out" working as a lifeguard on the beach until he came to the realization that he wanted to be an actor. It was only a matter of time before he would make it.
Don't Call Him
Or perhaps just call him on his landline, because the actor does not have a cellphone! We're sure this has nothing to do with money as the man has a few hundred million to his name, but he simply couldn't be bothered by those incessant pings.
As we're all pretty addicted to our phones these days, it doesn't sound like such a bad idea. In any case, he probably has a personal assistant picking up all necessary messages anyway.
He Got His Star
Having such an enormous impact on cinema in the 70s and 80s, it's reasonable that the actor got his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at some point. We would've thought it'd happen sooner but seeing as so many actors come and go, Hollywood decided to wait.
Nicholson proved that he had staying power, and so in 1996 on December 4th, the actor got his special star.
His Top Picks
Just as we have our all-time favorite Nicholson films, the man has picked out some of his own favorite performances. According to the actor, his best performances are in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest" (1975), "Batman" (1989), Hoffa (1992), and "As Good as It Gets" (1997).
They're not too far from the general consensus but we'll admit that we are quite surprised that "The Shining" didn't make the list.
The Golf Club Saga
As an iconic method actor, no one understands the craft better than him, which is why the actor probably channeled true-life inspiration when he took on the comedic role in the 2003 film.
The inspiration? We're guessing it was probably from the 1994 incident where he repeatedly smashed a man's Benz with a golf club in heavy traffic!
A Hefty Payout
Nicholson faced some heavy consequences for his golf club road rage incident. The victim was a man named Robert Blake. Needless to say, he took the actor to court.
Nicholson forked out a reported half a million-dollar settlement too. He later admitted that he was going through a particularly trying time then, and feels a deep sense of regret.
He Lost the Love of His Life
The actor was famously in a 17-year relationship with the gorgeous Anjelica Huston who is a huge film star in her own right.
The starlet stuck by Nicholson even through multiple affairs. Sadly she hoped they would start a family together but one of his affairs resulted in a child. The actress called it quits after that. For many years Nicholson reflected saying that he was young and stupid and made a mistake.
The Man Has Taste
With such a knack for picking great films, we're not surprised to learn that his great taste extends to music too. Nicholson loves some good tunes and has a soft spot for both Bob Dylan and Louis Armstrong.
In fact, in 1991, the actor showed us his true fanboy when he got to present Dylan with a lifetime achievement award at the Grammys. If you want to see what a star-struck Nicholson looks like, try to find that video.
Making an Impression
There's nothing like showing up to a high school reunion as a world-famous (and millionaire) Hollywood actor to shake things up. And that's exactly what he did when he rocked up for his 50th high school reunion at Manasquan High, New Jersey.
Something tells us that perhaps, not everyone was so happy to see him. Hopefully, they weren't all too jealous.
A Writer and Actor Too
Though his face was made for the big screen, Jack Nicholson has proved that he's just as good behind the camera too.
If you're old enough, you may remember the quirky musical satire "Head" starring the band The Monkees (which some would call the American answer to the Beatles.)
It Was Pretty Trippy
Nicholson wrote and produced the film starring the iconic rock band. Not only did he make that film, the previous year he wrote: "The Trip" starring Peter Fonda.
We can only imagine what he was on while working on these two films as both are pretty psychedelic
The machine called Hollywood produces countless blockbusters that make serious dollars. Of course, actors make a lot of money but not all of them are shrewd enough to make millions out of movies they acted in decades ago. Jack Nicholson is an exception.
He's a master at cutting deals with execs and even managed to cash in on all the merchandise that was later sold from the 1989 Batman film. He ended up out-earning Batman himself (Michael Keaton.) Due to smart deals like that (and more), he is now worth an estimated $400 million and hasn't acted since 2010.
Not a Talker
Jack Nicholson rarely does interviews and when he does it's quite the event. Now and again he'll throw a word in or two down the red carpet but for the most part, you won't see him yapping on a talk show entertaining a TV audience.
The actor, fortunately, will do a press conference and discuss his latest project (he does of course respect the art, after all) but has it made it crystal clear that he is less interested in the frivolity of what Hollywood has to offer.
A Hand-picked Joker
While everyone loves Batman, it's become somewhat of an event picking out the infamous Joker character. Nicholson defined that role in 1989 when he flashed that clownish smile. It's no surprise that he was contacted directly by the original Batman creator Bob Kane.
There's nothing like getting cast by the comic book king himself. Jack played the Joker opposite Michael Keaton who famously portrayed Batman. The 1989 film was a hit classic directed by the wacky Tim Burton.
The Greatest Acting Partner
It's been said that you're only as good as your acting partner and looking back at the accomplishments of some of Jack's costars, this is very true. In fact, on all three of the occasions that the actor took home his Oscar, his leading lady did too.
In "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" Louise Fletcher earned herself the Best Actress award for playing the chilling Nurse Fletcher. Shirly McClaine got hers for "Terms of Endearment" and of course Helen Hunt who got the gold for "As Good As it Gets."
Not a Fan of Blockbusters
As such, a highly regarded actor who has starred in a string of cult classics, Jack has a penchant for high-quality cinema. It's because of this that he has become rather disillusioned with the film industry in recent years.
The actor hates blockbuster films and claims that they're only all about loud noises and explosions. The actor remarked on today's movie-goers, saying that it seems like young folks "don't actually want to be moved anymore." We hope that isn't true, Jack!
A Mother and Daughter Switcheroo
Jack Nicholson was about 37 years old when he discovered the truth about his family. Turns out that the woman he thought was his sister was actually his biological mother. June Nicholson was only 17 years old when she had baby Jack, too young to take on the responsibility. Her mother (the actor's grandmother) agreed to step in and raise him.
It was in 1974 that all was revealed when Time Magazine did an in-depth expose on the actor's life. This is a shocking revelation to come to terms with especially so late in life. By then both his mother and his grandmother had already passed away.
He's Called It a Day
With an impressive and incredibly long career behind him, Jack has stepped away from the limelight and retired.
Rumor has it that the actor has started to suffer from memory loss- a condition certainly not conducive to learning lines. Another issue that the actor has expressed is his issue with modern-day films.
Haunted By Certain Roles?
Stepping into a psychologically twisted film can have a bad effect on certain actors, especially they're known to immerse themselves deeply into the characters they're portraying. Something strange happened to Nicholson during his infamous "Here's Johnny" scene in "The Shining."
Footage resurfaced of the actor jumping up and down and disturbingly muttering expletives. The scene also had a damaging effect on his co-star, Shelly Duval.
Nicholson has some anger issues and if you want to see him in all his raging glory, catch the actor at an NBA game. Hes' been known to lose his cool at games and has repeatedly gotten himself almost kicked out of the court.
His ex Anjelica Huston can certainly attest to this. In her Vanity Fair essay, she described her former partner as having a real zest for life," he also "had a temper," adding, "He is emotional ... He takes things harder than you'd imagine."
Jack the Wrestling Fan?
We all know how much Jack loves his basketball, but did you know that he's also a huge fan of wrestling too? You might have even caught a glimpse of those iconic brows in WWE audiences over the years. His faves? John Cena, Harley Race, and of course the legendary Ric Flair.
The actor also holds quite a lot of weight in the WWE and even convinced the powers that be to induct Ric Flair and John Cena in the wrestler's hall of fame. Interested in seeing the actor in a wrestling match? So is he! He's even joked about getting into the ring with Jim Carrey, Johnny Depp, and Robert Downey Jr.
His Most Prized Piece of Movie Memorabilia
"Batman" made a huge impact on his already impressive career. Not only on his bank account but also sentimentally. Jack has been a huge fan of the comic book series as a kid so naturally, he was only too pleased to play the famous villain.
He bought the iconic green suit for a cool $80,000, a small price to pay for a film that made him a multi-million dollars.
In order to prepare for a rather risque scene in "The Postman Always Rings Twice" Jack made an interesting move. To get really comfortable in his own skin, the actor spent three months living in the nude.
Thankfully he only fully disrobed within the bounds of his own home. With that said, it clearly immersed him deeper into the character. Actors do all kinds of crazy things to prepare, and we're sure that intimate scenes can be quite nerve-wracking.
He Can Laugh at Himself
As such a Hollywood mainstay, Jacky has made life-long connections with his fellow stars, some of those being iconic comedians. And they sure have zero qualms about poking fun at "The Shining" star.
One of those jokesters is long-time comedian Billy Crystal, who has repeatedly made fun of Nicholson at the Academy Awards. Jack of course is totally game and even enjoys a good ribbing.
Aside from Nicholson's illustrious film career, the man is also a dedicated NBA fan. In fact, he's been getting courtside seats since the 70s and, strategically cheering on his favorite team right next to the opposing team's bench.
Naturally, impassioned basketball fans can get pretty heated when showing support for their respective teams, this has led to some scuffles with coaches, officials, and even opposing teammates.
A Lover of Art
What would a millionaire enjoy if not great works of art? The famous film star is an avid art collector with countless original pieces to his name.
His impressive collection includes works by Picasso, Botero, Rodin, and Andy Warhol. The actor has gotten great praise for his collection by some top critics. Sounds like the man has impressive taste.
If there's one thing that's synonymous with Jack is his pair of cool sunnies. He rarely leaves the house without them, as Billy Crystal very humorously pointed out at the 1998 Oscars. But there is a deeper reason for why Jack is always with his shades.
According to the actor, they make him feel better about himself. Since the actor is also short-sighted, the tinted glasses are also actually prescription lenses.
He Attended a Murder Trial
In 1976, French actress Claudine Longet was arrested for the fatal shooting of her Olympic skier boyfriend Vladimir Sabich. According to her, she accidentally fired the gun while holding it. The trial was held in Aspen, and Nicholson, who had a property in the area, attended for some unknown reason.
Longet was ultimately charged with negligent homicide. Eerily, months later, the infamous Ted Bundy appeared before the very same court in the snowy Colorado town. We wonder if Nicholson held onto his property after that.
His Art is Worth Millions
You may already know how much Nicholson loves his art. His impressive art collection has grabbed the attention of the art elite. According to a 2015 report, his collection was estimated at $100 million.
Still, as high as that is, it's actually nowhere to that of George Lucas who owns roughly $600 million in art.
He Turned Brando's House Into a Garden
Having been neighbors on Bad Boy Drive aka Mulholland Drive, Brando and Nicholson were good buddies. After Brando's passing, the expensive property was poorly managed. Brando's many kids couldn't afford the upkeep and soon the derelict house became a great point of pain in Nicholson's life.
Nicholson did something about it and forked a few million to "sort it out." Restoring the house proved to be too expensive, so he demolished the entire thing and in its place created a garden of Frangipani flowers as a tribute to his old friend.
From raucous parties, a tumultuous romantic life, and enormous movie success, the actor has led a wildlife. But in recent years the actor has slowed down, returning to the comfort of his couch and avoiding people.
According to Radar Online, his long-time buddy Harry Dean has said how much of a recluse his friend has become. He said that Nicholson "[prefers] a dreary routine of afternoon naps, drinking milk and sedate new hobbies like painting."