Moved to Los Angeles at age 17
Began career in cartoon department at MGM under William Hanna
Professional stage debut in Hollywood stage production of "Tea and Sympathy"
Screen acting debut in "Cry Baby Killer"
Screenwriting debut, "Thunder Island"; a low-budget political thriller
Co-produced and acted in Monte Hellman's "The Shooting" and "Ride the Whirlwind" (also scripted)
Wrote the screenplay for Roger Corman's "The Trip" co-starring Peter Fonda
Initial collaboration with director Bob Rafelson (co-writing and co-producing with him), "Head"; starring the musical group, The Monkees
Cast in a scene-stealing, star-making supporting role in Dennis Hopper's "Easy Rider"; earned first Oscar nomination as Best Supporting actor
Solidified star status with leading role in "Five Easy Pieces"; produced and directed by Rafelson; earned first Best Actor Oscar nomination
Acted in Mike Nichols' "Carnal Knowledge"
Film directorial debut with "Drive, He Said" (also co-wrote and co-produced)
Achieved mainstream Hollywood success as Jake Gittes in Roman Polanski's noir classic "Chinatown"; received Best Actor Oscar nomination
Portrayed an alienated American journalist in his one Euro-pic, Michelangelo Antonioni's "The Passenger"
Solidified standing with Best Actor Oscar for Milos Forman's "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"
Directed "Goin' South," which offered James Belushi and Mary Steenburgen in their debut roles
Starred opposite Shelley Duvall in Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining"
Played Eugene O'Neill in Warren Beatty's "Reds"; nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Award
Earned second Academy Award (Best Supporting Actor) for his portrayal of retired astronaut Garrett Breedlove in James Brooks' "Terms of Endearment"
Acted opposite longtime lover Anjelica Huston in her father John Huston's "Prizzi's Honor"
Formed T.E.N. Productions with Robert Towne and Robert Evans to make a sequel to "Chinatown"
Portrayed The Joker in Tim Burton's "Batman"; blockbuster merchandising deal earned him well in excess of $20 million
Directed the "Chinatown" sequel "The Two Jakes"; also reprised his role of Jake Gittes
Played a marine colonel in Rob Reiner's "A Few Good Men"; nominated for Best Supporting Actor Oscar
Acted the role of Jimmy Hoffa in "Hoffa"; earned a Golden Globe nomination
Reteamed with Mike Nichols to star opposite Michelle Pfeiffer in "Wolf"
Reprised his "Terms of Endearment" part in "Evening Star"
Had dual role of US President and a Las Vegas car dealership owner in Tim Burton's campy "Mars Attacks!"
Reunited with Rafelson for "Blood and Wine"
Portrayed an obsessive-compulsive and homophopic writer in James L. Brooks' "As Good as It Gets"; received 11th Oscar nomination making him the most nominated male actor in the history of the award
Cast as a retired detective investigating a child's murder in "The Pledge"; directed by Sean Penn
Portrayed a retired salesman in Alexander Payne's "About Schmidt"; received BAFTA, SAG and Oscar leading role nominations
Starred with Adam Sandler in the comedy "Anger Management"; he also contributed to the script
Co-starred with Diane Keaton in "Something's Gotta Give"; earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor
Portrayed an Irish gang boss in Martin Scorsese's "The Departed"; received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Co-starred with Morgan Freeman as dying men who must fulfill their list of goals in Rob Reiner's "The Bucket List"
Co-starred with Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd and Owen Wilson in James L. Brooks' "How Do You Know"