TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (8)
|Also Known As:||John Joseph Nicholson||Died:|
|Born:||April 22, 1937||Cause of Death:|
|Birth Place:||Neptune, New Jersey, USA||Profession:||Cast ... actor director producer screenwriter office boy in the MGM cartoon department editor Air National Guard fireman|
to the wolfman brings virility and growing confidence. Not surprisingly, Nicholson called into play many of his trademark mannerisms, offering a wry, sly commentary on his star power, proving once again there was no limit to how long he could get away with such hokum. Meanwhile, he made further headlines that year when he was involved in a road rage incident in which he allegedly smashed another driver's windshield with a golf club. Once again, he averted public embarrassment by quietly reconciling the situation. Then in Sean Penn's "The Crossing Guard" (1995), Nicholson once again essayed a bitter man confronting the wounds of the past. As a jeweler whose daughter has been killed by a hit-and-run driver, he delivered a nuanced portrait that was equal parts guilt and grief, while the scenes shared with real-life former lover Anjelica Huston - who played his ex-wife - mined an understandably rich vein of remembered feeling.
In 1996, Nicholson found himself reprising his Oscar-winning turn as Garrett Breedlove opposite Shirley MacLaine in "Evening Star," then played the dual role of the U.S. President and a sleazy Las Vegas promoter in Tim Burton's "Mars Attacks!" (1996), an ode to 1950s sci-fi flicks that delivered cheesy comedy perfect for the broad strokes of the vaunted Nicholson caricature. Meanwhile, he reunited again with Bob Rafelson for the competent thriller "Blood and Wine" (1997), which proved to be compelling to the few people that actually saw the film. Nicholson then reunited with James L. Brooks in an Oscar-winning turn as a curmudgeonly, obsessive compulsive and homophobic author who falls for a single mother (Helen Hunt) struggling to make ends meet as a waitress, while eventually developing a grudging friendship with his gay neighbor (Greg Kinnear) in the richly appealing dramatic comedy, "As Good as It Gets" (1997). For his undeniably sharp performance, Nicholson earned the third Academy Award of his career.
After a three year hiatus, Nicholson returned to the big screen as Jerry Black in the thriller feature "The Pledge" (2001), another harrowing directorial effort from his friend Sean Penn, in which Nicholson delivered a performance that was widely hailed by critics in an otherwise bleak film. In 2002, Nicholson made another comeback, teaming with writer-director Alexander Payne for "About Schmidt," an introspective, serio-comic about Warren Schmidt, an unhappy and retired salesman reflecting on his life, making a cross country trek to attend the wedding of his estranged daughter after the sudden death of his wife. His fresh, unexpected and surprisingly understated performance was rewarded with several award nominations and trophies, including the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama and an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor, the twelfth nomination of his career, breaking his own record as the most nominated male actor in Oscar history.
Balancing his penchant for top-level acting with a bid for another major commercial success, Nicholson next teamed with popular comedy star Adam Sandler for "Anger Management" (2003), with both stars contributing to the screenplay. Taking his charismatic devilishness into uncharted territory, Nicholson played an unconventional anger management therapist who exacerbates - rather than cures - the rage of his patient (Sandler). The actor then took on another late-career-defining role when he starred opposite Diane Keaton in the romantic comedy "Something's Got to Give" (2003), playing an aging womanizer with a penchant for much-younger women who surprises himself by taking up with the mother (Keaton) of one of his beautiful dates (Amanda Peet) following a heart attack in her beach house. Although the film was uneven in the early and late stretches, at the heart of the story Nicholson and Keaton displayed a remarkable romantic chemistry buoyed by comedic frisson, making for a crowd-pleasing hit that earned the actor yet another Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy.
After another brief hiatus from the big screen, Nicholson returned to join an all-star cast that included Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and Mark Wahlberg for "The Departed" (2006), a slick cop thriller directed by Martin Scorsese - marking the first collaboration of the two legends - and loosely based on the excellent Hong Kong actioner "Infernal Affairs" (2002). Nicholson played the nefarious and sexually deviant Frank Costello, a mob boss whose syndicate is infiltrated by an undercover cop (Leonardo DiCaprio). But Costello has his own mole (Matt Damon) inside the South Boston police department, pitting the two institutions against each other in a cat-and-mouse game that seeks to undermine the other's operations while the two moles fight to expose each other. Nicholson then starred opposite Morgan Freeman in "The Bucket List" (2007), a comedy directed by Rob Reiner about two terminally ill men who break out of the hospital's cancer ward and go on a road trip to fulfill their wishes before they kick the bucket. Despite mixed reviews, the film proved itself to be an exceptional winner at the box office.son's win for "Terms of Endearment" was a high-water mark in a string of Academy Award nominations he received in the 1980s - in fact, it was his only win of the decade in four tries. He was nominated again for Best Actor when he played a not-so-honorable Mafia hit man in "Prizzi's Honor" (1985), one of director John Huston's final films. Following a not very memorable leading turn in the Mike Nichols romantic comedy, "Heartburn" (1986), Nicholson found himself in the Oscar running once again for his performances as a washed-up baseball player wallowing in misery and alcohol in the acclaimed period drama, "Ironweed" (1987). In "The Witches of Eastwick" (1987), Nicholson delivered one of his more deliriously over-the-top performances playing the mysterious Darrell Van Horn, who uses his strange allure to seduce three female friends (Cher, Michelle Pfeiffer and Susan Sarandon). His frenzied theatrics were put to good use as The Joker in Tim Burton's version of "Batman" (1990). Nicholson's lighter take on the Joker dominated the film, which served as the perfect backdrop for his perpetually posturing and leering psychotic villain always fond of a dark, twisted joke.
After 16 years since the release of "Chinatown," Nicholson stepped behind the camera for a third time to direct "The Two Jakes" (1990), the sequel to the first film that depicted a more subdued and beaten-down Jake Gittes who becomes involved in a murder and conspiracy scheme stemming from a real estate deal that was part of the original film's story. Nicholson and writer Robert Towne attempted a sequel in the mid-1980s, but failed to get the project off the ground. When they finally did, the long friendship shared between the two collaborators suffered, causing irreparable harm. Prior to filming "The Two Jakes," Nicholson subverted his relationship with Anjelica Huston when she discovered that he had impregnated actress and model Rebecca Broussard, ending what ultimately proved to be the actor's longest romantic entanglement. Back to acting, Nicholson was in top form as the commanding officer covering up a murder on his Cuban military base in Rob Reiner's "A Few Good Men" (1992). Nicholson's famed line, "You can't handle the truth!" helped him earn yet another Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Despite a valiant effort, Nicholson failed to save Danny De Vito's unnecessarily convoluted biopic, "Hoffa" (1992), which traced the rise and mysterious fall of the controversial founder of the Teamsters Union.
Nicholson's next turn, playing a book editor who gradually evolves into a werewolf in Mike Nichols' "Wolf" (1994), served as a metaphor for confronting mid-life crises. At the start of the film, before the wolf bites him, he is weak-willed and passive, but his transformation in
Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.Click here to contribute