The world of Hollywood is full of legendary actors and actresses. But few are as endearing as one Jack Nicholson. The award-winning actor had a successful stint in the industry and is considered one of its most iconic figures. He appeared in some of the most famous movies in motion picture history, including The Shining, Chinatown, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Nicholson’s career spanned over five decades, and he earned 12 Academy Award nominations during that time.
However, in recent years, we haven’t seen much of him. Despite his extraordinary success in film, Nicholson has been MIA from the silver screen for over a decade now. So, what happened to Jack Nicholson?
Early Film Career and Success
Jack Nicholson was born in April 1937. His mother was a showgirl and his father was an off-and-on part-time toilet seat salesman. His parents were never married and his father’s name has never been revealed. When Jack was a small child, he and his younger sister June were raised by their grandparents in Massachusetts, while his mother had a brief stint on stage in New York.
Nicholson started out as a scriptwriter and stand-in in Hollywood. He made his on-screen debut in the 1958 film The Cry Baby Killer, where he starred as a juvenile delinquent. His first major motion picture role was a bit part in the 1967 movie The Trip.
Nicholson’s career really took off when he and lifelong friend Bob Rafelson wrote and produced the 1969 cult classic, Easy Rider. Nicholson then went on to star in some of the greatest films of all time, such as The Last Detail (1973), Chinatown (1974), and The Shining (1980). He went on to win Academy Awards for his performances in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) and As Good as it Gets (1997).
Jack Nicholson and His Creative Doldrums
Nicholson then went into a creative doldrums, appearing in less than inspiring projects, such as Anger Management (2003), and several comedies, including The Bucket List (2007) and How Do You Know (2010). During this same period, Nicholson retired from public life and stopped going to award shows.
His fans, who had grown accustomed to seeing him on the red carpet, started to speculate what happened to Jack Nicholson. What they responded to in his appeal was his scruffy charm, his unpredictable nature, and his ability to ably inhabit a variety of different roles, not just comic ones.
Media reports started to circulate, suggesting he had become increasingly isolated, reclusive, and even depressed. Nicholson always had a fiercely independent spirit and preferred to keep his private life a secret.
His Disappearance and Health
In 2010, Nicholson seemed to disappear from public view. He was last seen at Dodger Stadium, in Los Angeles, wearing a cap and dark sunglasses. Rumors began to fly linking him to age-related health issues, such as memory loss and dementia. However, those were never confirmed.
In February 2017, Nicholson attended the pre-Oscar party of music and talent agency CAA. Dressed in an all-black ensemble, he made eye contact with no one and seemed to be in good health.
In April 2017, a Los Angeles jury awarded Nicholson $17.2 million in less than two hours for complaining about a neighbor’s construction complaints. This lawsuit seemed to prove that Nicholson was still in control of his life, suggesting he had a valid reason to stay out of the limelight.
The End of Jack Nicholson’s Career
In 2010, Nicholson stated he had retired from acting and there has been no news of any upcoming projects since. He said that he was going to focus on his other passions, such as life, music, golf, and reading.
Jack Nicholson’s fans are still in the dark as to why he left acting and retired so suddenly. He’s still one of the most revered actors in film. In 2015, he was awarded an honorary Oscar for his lifetime of achievements by the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.
Jack Nicholson’s Achievements and Legacy
Despite retiring from acting, Jack Nicholson left a legacy. His career spanned five decades, during which he earned 12 Academy Award nominations and won three Oscars. He was known for his memorable roles, such as R.P. McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Jack Torrance in The Shining.
Nicholson’s memorable roles haven’t been forgotten, as evidenced by the legions of imitators and recreations. He is one of only two actors who have been nominated for an Academy Award in every decade from the 1960s through the 2000s (the other being Michael Caine). He also holds the record for being the male actor with the most nominations in Oscar history.
Jack Nicholson added his own unique touch to every role he played, making him a true Hollywood icon. His absence from red carpets and movie premieres is definitely noticeable, but hopefully, one day he will make a comeback. Until then, we’ll just have to continue to watch his old movies and remember what a unique talent he was.