“Wish me last romance”: And forever grins Jack Nicholson

“Wish Me Last Romance”
And Jack Nicholson grins forever

In fact, Hollywood can’t be imagined without his grin. But Jack Nicholson has actually retired from the film business for several years. In any case, now that he turns 85, he seems to miss the screen less than love.

Jack Nicholson never officially announced the end of his acting career. Will the eccentric and brilliant screen star really no longer wear his famous grin in front of the film camera? After cult classics such as “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, “The Shining” and as a joker in “Batman”, the Hollywood star is indispensable. But the three-time Oscar winner has hardly appeared in public in recent years. This Friday he will be 85 years old.


Nicholson in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” – still a classic today.

(Photo: picture alliance / United Archives)

Jack Nicholson no longer gives interviews, according to his spokeswoman. And plans for his birthday? If they exist at all, they are a private matter, Sandy Bresler said.

For the romantic comedy “How do you know it’s love?” Nicholson last appeared in front of the camera in 2010 with Reese Witherspoon and Paul Rudd, but only in a small supporting role. Hollywood pricked up all the more when in February 2017 reports circulated about a planned US remake of Maren Ade’s hit comedy “Toni Erdmann” with Nicholson in the quirky father role. The German director told the press in Santa Monica after winning the Spirit Award for Toni Erdmann that he was one of the best actors ever. “There are so many films with him that I love very much,” Variety quoted from the interview. However, she herself did not want to get involved in a remake, emphasized Ade. A year later, Nicholson backed down.

A flirt with Jennifer Lawrence

Last October, the avid basketball fan was spotted spectating at his favorite team, the Los Angeles Lakers. His appearances have become so rare that the photographers jumped at the star – with a stubbly beard and typical sunglasses – and his son Ray at his side.

It has been many years since Nicholson’s last major appearance on the Oscars stage. In 2013 he presented the contenders in the top category “Best Film”. Nicholson sported his charming “killer smile” and unabashedly flirted with then-22-year-old Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence. He burst into the middle of a live interview and showered compliments on the young winner. “You look like a former friend of mine,” enthused the veteran star. The video made people laugh online, and the macho screen was ridiculed.

Nicholson lives a secluded life in his mansion on Mulholland Drive in the Hollywood Hills. “I wish for one last romance,” he admitted in a rare 2015 interview with Closer magazine. But that probably won’t happen again. At his age, “it just doesn’t feel right” to hit on women.

From messenger boy to star

Nicholson left little out in his life. He has five children by four women, and he only tried marriage once, from 1962 to 1968 with actress Sandra Knight. He had a stormy relationship with Anjelica Huston, daughter of US director John Huston, for 17 years. It finally broke when he got his daughter Jennifer’s best friend, model Rebecca Broussard, pregnant. They have two children together.


Also unforgettable: “The Shining”.

(Photo: picture alliance / United Archives)

Nicholson was born in 1937 as the illegitimate child of a 17-year-old dancer in New Jersey. Raised by her parents, he didn’t find out until he was 37 that his supposed “sister” June was actually his mother.

The great Hollywood career began with messenger jobs in the animation department of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. He owed one of his first film roles to trash master Roger Corman in the horror flick Little Shop of Horrors. He celebrated his breakthrough as a drinking lawyer in the road movie “Easy Rider” (1969). The film with Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper as motorcyclists in search of freedom and adventure became a cult. He brought Nicholson the first of twelve Oscar nominations.

“The most beautiful person in the world”

He won his first Oscar for best actor as an inmate in a mental hospital. The torn, rebellious character of patient Randle McMurphy in the multi-award-winning 1975 film One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest remains one of his best roles to date.


Nicholson also knew how to shine as a joker.

(Photo: Picture Alliance / Photoshot)

Hits like Roman Polanski’s Chinatown (1974), Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (1980) and Prizzi’s Honor (1985) followed. He received his other two Oscars for his roles as a former astronaut and drinker in “Zeit der Zärzärtlichkeit” (1983) and as a grumpy neurotic in the sarcastic comedy “It couldn’t be better” (1997). In between, he showed his crazy grin as the Joker in the comic adaptation “Batman” (1989).

The old master revealed a new side in 2002 in Alexander Payne’s tragic comedy “About Schmidt”, in which he shows the signs of aging without any vanity. In “What the Heart Desires” (2003) with Diane Keaton, Nicholson was seen in an open hospital gown with a bare bottom. In “The best comes last” he played a man suffering from cancer with a bald head and a furrowed face. “I always wanted to be a character actor,” said Nicholson in 2008 at the German premiere of the tragic comedy in Berlin. “But the truth is, of course, I think I’m the most beautiful person in the world,” the star jokingly added.