John Joseph Nicholson is an American actor and filmmaker who performed for over fifty years. He is known for playing a wide range of starring or supporting roles, including comedy, romance, and darkly comic portrayals or anti-heroes and villainous characters. In many of his films, he has played the “eternal outsider, the sardonic drifter,” someone who rebels against the social structure. Take a look below for 35 more fun and interesting facts about Jack Nicholson.
1. Nicholson was born on April 22, 1937, in Neptune City, New Jersey, the son of a showgirl, June Frances Nicholson.
2. Nicholson’s mother was of Irish, English, German, and Welsh descent.
3. She married Italian-American showman Donald Furcillo in 1936, before realizing that he was already married.
4. Biographer Patrick McGilligan stated in his book Jack’s Life that Latvian-born Eddie King (originally Edgar A. Kirschfeld), June’s manager, may have been Nicholson’s biological father, rather than Furcillo.
5. Other sources suggest June Nicholson was unsure of the father’s identity.
6. As June was only seventeen years old and unmarried, her parents agreed to raise Nicholson as their own child without revealing his true parentage, and June would act as his sister.
7. In 1974, Time magazine researchers learned, and informed Nicholson, that his “sister”, June, was actually his mother, and his other “sister”, Lorraine, was really his aunt.
8. On finding out, Nicholson said it was “a pretty dramatic event, but it wasn’t what I’d call traumatizing … I was pretty well psychologically formed”.
9. Nicholson grew up in Neptune City, New Jersey.
10. He was raised in his mother’s Roman Catholic religion.
11. Before starting high school, his family moved to an apartment in Spring Lake, New Jersey.
12. “Nick”, as he was known to his high school friends, attended nearby Manasquan High School, where he was voted “Class Clown” by the Class of 1954.
13. He was in detention every day for a whole school year.
14. A theater and a drama award at the school are named in his honor.
15. In 2004, Nicholson attended his 50-year high school reunion accompanied by his aunt Lorraine.
16. In 1957, Nicholson joined the California Air National Guard, a move he sometimes characterized as an effort to “dodge the draft”; the Korean War-era’s Military Selective Service Act was still in force, and draftees were required to perform up to two years of active duty.
17. After completing the Air Force’s basic training at Lackland Air Force Base, Nicholson performed weekend drills and two-week annual training as a firefighter assigned to the unit based at the Van Nuys Airport.
18. During the Berlin Crisis of 1961, Nicholson was called up for several months of extended active duty, and he was discharged at the end of his enlistment in 1962.
19. Nicholson’s only marriage was to Sandra Knight from June 17, 1962, to August 8, 1968; they had been separated for two years prior to the divorce.
20. They had one daughter together, Jennifer (born September 16, 1963).
21. Actress Susan Anspach contended that her son, Caleb Goddard (born September 26, 1970), was fathered by Nicholson.
22. In 1984, Nicholson stated that he was not convinced he is Caleb’s father; however, in 1996, Caleb stated that Nicholson had acknowledged him as his son.
23. At some point between 1988 and 1994, Nicholson provided financial assistance to put Caleb through college, and Anspach’s New York Times obituary referred to Caleb as “her son, whose father is Jack Nicholson”.
24. Between April 1973 and January 1990, Nicholson had an on-again, off-again relationship with actress Anjelica Huston that included periods of overlap with other women, including Danish model Winnie Hollman, by whom he fathered a daughter, Honey Hollman (born 1981).
25. From 1989 to 1994, Nicholson had a relationship with actress Rebecca Broussard.
26. They had two children together: daughter Lorraine (born April 16, 1990), and son Raymond (born February 20, 1992).
27. For over a year, from 1999 to 2000, Nicholson dated actress Lara Flynn Boyle; they later reunited, before splitting permanently in 2004.
28. Nicholson has stated that children “give your life a resonance that it can’t have without them … As a father, I’m there all the time. I give unconditional love.” However, he has also lamented that he “didn’t see enough of my eldest daughter because I was trying to make a career”.
29. In a criminal complaint filed on February 8, 1994, Robert Blank stated that Nicholson, then 56, approached Blank’s Mercedes-Benz while he was stopped at a red light in North Hollywood. After accusing the other man of cutting him off in traffic, Nicholson used a golf club to bash the roof and windshield of Blank’s car.
30. A witness confirmed Blank’s account of the incident, and misdemeanor charges of assault and vandalism were filed against Nicholson.
31. Charges were dropped after Nicholson apologized to Blank, and the two reached an undisclosed settlement, which included a reported $500,000 check from Nicholson.
32. Nicholson lived next door to Marlon Brando for a number of years on Mulholland Drive in Beverly Hills. Warren Beatty also lived nearby, earning the road the nickname “Bad Boy Drive”.
33. After Brando’s death in 2004, Nicholson purchased his bungalow for $6.1 million, with the purpose of having it demolished. Nicholson stated that it was done out of respect to Brando’s legacy, as it had become too expensive to renovate the “derelict” building which was plagued by mold.
34. Nicholson’s friendship with author-journalist Hunter S. Thompson is described in Thompson’s autobiography Kingdom of Fear. Following Thompson’s death in 2005, Nicholson and fellow actors Johnny Depp, John Cusack, and Sean Penn attended the private memorial service in Colorado.
35. Nicholson was also a close friend of Robert Evans, the producer of Chinatown, and after Evans lost Woodland, his home, as the result of a 1980s drug bust, Nicholson and other friends of the producer purchased Woodland to give it back to Evans.