Jack Nicholson is one of Hollywood’s last standing greats from the a bygone Hollywood era of machismo and leading men who bolstered their silver screen personas with raucous off-screen antics. He is one of the greatest actors of his generation. From a notorious bad boy with an unrelenting sex drive as a young actor to a calmer, 80-year-old screen legend with a net worth of $390 million, we take a look at 21 of “The Great Seducer’s” fascinating experiences and stories.
1. He bought Marlon Brando’s House, then razed it.
Nicholson was good friends with next door neighbor Marlon Brando. When the actor died in 2005, Nicholson picked up the 1954-built house for $5 million. But Nicholson didn’t keep the house for long. Instead, he reportedly demolished it and planted frangipani flowers in its place.
2. His art collection is insane.
Nicholson is an avid collector and owns originals from the likes of world renowned painters such as “Picasso, Matisse, Modigliani, Magritte, Bouguereau, Botero and Rodin.” According to a report released by Wealth-X in 2005, Nicholson ranked fifth in a list of Hollywood’s top 10 art collectors, with a staggering $100 million collection.
3. He can sketch Tom & Jerry
Art hasn’t always been about Picasso and Matisse for Nicholson. His first job in Hollywood was an assistant to William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, the animators behind the “Tom & Jerry” cartoons.
4. He once wandered around his home completely nude for several months…
And he didn’t put on clothes for anyone. Seriously. While interviewing Nicholson for Rolling Stone, journalist Erik Hedegaard remarked about the surreal experience while he was at Nicholson’s house: ”It's where, in the late Sixties, as a matter of self-help, he spent three months walking around in the nude, at all hours of the day, no matter who stopped by, his daughter included.”
5. A road rage incident cost him $500,000
In 1994, Nicholson was driving to the golf course when someone cut him off in traffic. Ragged from a tiring film schedule and mourning the recent death of a friend, Nicholson got out, grabbed a golf club he barely used, and smashed the offending drivers’ windshield with it. Nicholson later was fined $500,000, according to Golf Digest.
6. His temper also cost him his job
When Nicholson was young and living in New Jersey, he worked a job as a short order cook while looking for acting gigs. The problem started when he messed up a pancake order, sending out one that was “three inches thick.” This made the customer angry, and Nicholson lost his temper when being criticized. He said: ”Make your own damn pancakes!”
7. He bought his Joker costume for $70,000
Nicholson grew up reading Batman comics, so his role to in Tim Burton’s 1989 “Batman” movie as the Joker must have been a dream come true. Nicholson earned between $60 million and $90 million, and said he was “particularly proud” of his performance and spent $70,000 to buy his Joker costume for an iconic piece of beloved Batman history.
8. Life Achievement Award
The Joker has become such an iconic role for Jack, that it was prominently featured during his “Life Achievement Award” ceremony at the American Film Institute in 1994.
9. His breakout role in “Easy Rider” earned him just $329 a week
Long before that, Nicholson’s breakout role was in the cult classic “Easy Rider” from 1969.
Rip Torn originally had Nicholson’s part, but Torn and “Easy Rider” actor and director Dennis Hopper had a bizarre falling out that climaxed at a dinner fight with a hotly disputed who-pulled-the-knife first brawl. This led to Hopper firing Torn and replacing him with Nicholson. Nicholson, at the time a relatively unknown actor earned just $329 a week for his work.
10. He was once married
Nicholson was married only once in his life, to actress and artist Sandra Knight. Knight was best known for her role in the 1958 film 'Frankeinstein's Daughter'. Sandra eventually stopped acting and shifted her career focus to art. The couple had a daughter together in 1963.
11. He dated Anjelica Huston
Though they never married, Nicholson's longest and most well-known relationship was with actress Anjelica Huston for 17 years.
12. He had sex with Justin Trudeu’s mom…
… and a whole bunch of other women. Nicholson is one of Hollywood’s legendary Lotharios. According to biographer Robert Sellers, Cher once remarked “I think he likes women more than any man I’ve ever known. I mean he really likes them” while Kim Bassinger described Nicholson as “the most highly sexualized individual I have ever met.’”
13. He worked with the Monkees
In the mid-1960’s, Nicholson became friends with Davy Jones and the Monkees. He and Bob Rafelson co-wrote their 1968 film “Head”.
14. He won his first Oscar playing a mental patient
Nicholson won his first Oscar for the role of a mental patient in the 1975 film “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest”. Gene Hackman, Burt Reynolds, Marlon Brando, and James Caan were each offered the role, but lucky for Nicholson they all turned it down.
15. He's gone on to win many awards since then
His list of acting awards is now long and includes 12 nominations at the Academy Awards (3 of those were wins), 17 nominations at the Golden Globes (7 of those were wins), and many others (BAFTA, Academy of Science Fiction, American Film Institute, etc).
16. And yes, he's got a star
Next time you're on Hollywood Boulevard, look closely and you might find Jack's name.
17. He has spent a college degree’s worth of cash on golf clubs
It’s rumored that Nicholson spent a whopping $75,000 on a set of made-to-order golf clubs made with carbon fabric, platinum and 24-karat gold. The custom clubs are made by Honma, a Japanese company specializing in luxury golf gear. Other celebrities rumored to have the $75,000 set include Danny DeVito, Marc Anthony and President Donald Trump.
18. He denied Tom Sizemore a sizable loan
While battling a hardcore drug addiction, actor Tom Sizemore had to live in his car while he tried to sell his house. Before he somehow ended up squatting in an apartment with no electricity or water, he ran around looking for money from his Hollywood friends. Sizemore told the Daily Mail he asked Nicholson for a $10 million loan. Nicholson’s response, according to Sizemore: “‘In a word, no.”
19. He's a big Los Angeles Lakers fan
Nicholson has held courtside seats for over 25 years now.
20. He didn’t know his ‘sister’ was actually his mother
June Frances Nicholson gave birth to Nicholson in April of 1937 when she was just 17 years old.
Nicholson grew up believing June’s mother and father were his own mother and father, and that June was his sister. The craziest part about this story is Nicholson had no idea June had been his mother until a “Time” magazine reporter unearthed the details while researching a story on the actor in 1974—Nicholson finally found out the truth about June when he was 37 years old. She had been dead for over a decade.
21. He lives alone, and expects he might die alone
Now 80 and having lived a lavish and debaucherous lifestyle, Nicholson avoids cameras and lives alone on Mullholland Drive.
He told Closer Weekly in 2015, “while he still has that rebellious, young-at-heart soul, he also doesn’t let himself hit on women in public because it “‘just doesn’t feel right at my age.”