Best Known For
Jack Nicholson is one of the most prominent American motion-picture actors of his generation, noted for his versatile portrayals of unconventional outsiders
Think you know about Biography?
Answer questions and see how you rank against other players.Play Now
Throughout the 1960s, he continued to appear in mostly low-budget horror films. After a small role in the 1960 dark comedy Little Shop of Horrors, Nicholson appeared in The Terror (1963), Back Door to Hell (1964),
Ride in the Whirlwind (1965) and The Shooting (1966).
Nicholson's breakthrough performance came as alcoholic Southern lawyer George Hanson in the classic road movie Easy Rider (1969). He was nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actor for his performance and developed something of a cult following. Then, in 1970, Nicholson starred in the film Five Easy Pieces, a surprise hit in which he played a disaffected former musical prodigy. Nicholson again received an Academy Award nomination for his performance, this time for best leading actor. His next stellar performance was as a profane naval officer in the dark comedy The Last Detail (1973), once again landing him an Oscar nomination for best actor.
Nicholson turned in one of the most acclaimed performances of his career in director Roman Polanski's brilliant 1974 neo-noir Chinatown. He portrayed a private eye named Jake Gittes who is tasked with tracking down a murder in perhaps his most nuanced and complex role. The part earned Nicholson his fourth Oscar nomination, but again he did not win the award. He finally broke through with his first Academy Award for Best Actor in the 1975 film One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Based on Ken Kesey's famous novel of the same name, the film follows R.P. McMurphy (played by Nicholson), a convict who is placed in a mental institution where the nurses and doctors attempt to quash his rebellious spirit. In 1980, Nicholson delivered an eerie if perhaps over-the-top performance as a deranged hotel caretaker in the acclaimed film adaptation of Stephen King's novel The Shining.
Throughout the 1980s, Nicholson largely moved away from the subtle, understated roles that had earned him such acclaim in favor of more outlandish comic performances. He nevertheless delivered several brilliant performances during the decade: as Eugene O'Neill in the 1981 film Reds, for which he won another Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, as well as in Terms of Endearment (1983) and as the Joker in Batman (1989). Nicholson returned to top form in the 1990s with stirring performances in such films as A Few Good Men (1992) and As Good As It Gets (1997), for which he won a third Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of a misanthropic writer. He continued to earn acclaim for such films as About Schmidt (2002), Anger Management (2003), Something's Gotta Give (2003) and The Departed (2006).
Jack Nicholson is unquestionably one of the greatest actors of his generation. In addition to his sheer volume of iconic roles, Nicholson stands out for the incredible range of characters he has convincingly portrayed. Nicholson's wide variety of characters have also made him one of his generation's most mysterious actors, as audiences have attempted unavailingly to figure out which of the many divergent personalities they've seen him adopt comes closest to the true Nicholson.
profile name: Jack Nicholson profile occupation:
Sign in with Facebook to see how you and your friends are connected to famous icons.
Your Friends' Connections
Included In These Groups
Frightening Fathers 12 people in this group
See our group of screen presidents, which includes actors who have played real-life American presidents as well as faux chief executives. Biography.com's Screen President group includes Frank Langella, Morgan Freeman, Josh Brolin, Dana Carvey, Will Ferrell, Jack Nicholson, Martin Sheen, Harrison Ford, Anthony Hopkins, Daniel Day-Lewis and many more.
Screen Presidents 30 people in this group
Celebrities With Court-side Seats 56 people in this group
presented by Celebrities With Court-side Seats