Jack Nicholson turns 80 on April 22, a major milestone that his fans would like to celebrate. But the three-time Oscar-winning actor has been out of the public eye for the past several years.
Nicholson previously explained his decision to step out of the spotlight. In an interview posted by The Sun, Nicholson said he decided to take on fewer film roles because he is less driven to “be out there anymore.”
“[The] movie business is the greatest business but I only want to do films that move people, films about emotions and people,” Jack said.
The legendary lothario also said he has scaled back on dating because it “doesn’t feel right” to “hit on” women at his age.
“There were points in my life when I felt oddly irresistible to women,” Jack said.
“I’m not in that state now, which makes me sad. Now I don’t have any hair below my sock line, and that means you’re getting old, Jackie boy. It comes out of my ears instead…I would love that one last romance, a real romance, but I’m not very realistic about it happening.”
Rather a depressing statement coming from a man who was once described as “the guy men want to be and women want to bed.”
With an acting resume that includes roles in The Shining, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Chinatown, Terms of Endearment, Batman, As Good as It Gets and The Departed, Nicholson has been a major part of movie history for more than 60 years. Jack seemingly retired from the business seven years ago amid rumors of memory problems.
Nicholson’s last role was in the 2010 romantic comedy How Do You Know, although his IMDB page says he is “announced” as part of the cast for the upcoming remake of the German comedy Toni Erdmann. That would be quite a comeback, especially since earlier this year, Jack’s longtime friend, Peter Fonda, told Page Six that his famous pal was “basically retired.”
“I think he is basically retired,” Fonda said of Nicholson in January. “I don’t want to speak for him, but he has done a lot of work and he has done very well as a person financially.”
Fonda also said he didn’t have any inside information on the memory loss rumors or why Nicholson has slowed down.
“Sometimes people have a reason that you don’t know, and it’s not for me to ask,” Fonda said.
“I don’t call him up and say, ‘Johnny,’ I call him Johnny Hop, ‘What are you doing?’ I would say, ‘How are you, how do you feel?'”
Jack Nicholson was born in Neptune, New Jersey on April 22, 1937, to 18-year-old showgirl June Nicholson. Jack was raised believing young June was his sister, as his maternal grandparents raised him. Nicholson didn’t find out the truth about his mother until he was in his 30s.
Jack moved to Hollywood as a teen to pursue acting, but it wasn’t until 1969 that he caught his big break, and his first Oscar nod, starring alongside Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda in the motorcycle movie, Easy Rider.
While he was linked to many beautiful women over the years, including high-profile relationships with Anjelica Huston and Lara Flynn Boyle, Jack only married once, to Sandra Knight, from 1962 to 1968. Jack Nicholson had one daughter with his wife, then went on to have more kids with girlfriends Susan Anspach, Winnie Hollman and Rebecca Broussard.
Although he has seemingly thrown in the towel on the dating front, tongues wagged when Jack reportedly flirted with Jennifer Lawrence, who is 54 years his junior, at the 2013 Oscars. Jack even sent the young actress flowers and a bottle of Cristal, according to the Daily Mail.
More recently, Real Housewives of New York star Sonja Morgan told Watch What Happens Live host Andy Cohen that she had a fling with Nicholson.
“Nobody nails down Nicholson,” the 53-year-old reality star joked, describing their time together as “one big sloppy mess.”
Adored by both women and men, Jack Nicholson also had a “bromance” with Monkees guitarist Mike Nesmith. In his new memoir, Infinite Tuesday, Nesmith details his unlikely friendship with Nicholson, which began after Jack, still an unknown actor, paid a visit to The Monkees set in the 1960s. According to People, Nesmith says Nicholson was “one of the few people” he met “who seemed self-aware and grounded.”
“We became friends and steady companions right away,” Nesmith writes of Nicholson. “His demeanor and sense of humor was exceptional and like catnip for me. I thought he was the coolest guy, and since this was long before the term bromance entered the U.S. lexicon some people in my crowd of friends thought my fascination with him was beyond the pale.”
After they teamed up for the disastrous 1968 film Head, Nesmith’s friendship with Nicholson ended, but Jack was on to bigger and better things. Nicholson became a household name one year later thanks to Easy Rider, and the rest is movie history.
Take a look at the video below for more on the life and career of Jack Nicholson.
[Featured Image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for AFI]