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Who is Jack Nicholson?

by Ratan Srivastava
Jack Nicholson

Jack Nicholson was an actor as well as a filmmaker in the United States who worked for more than 50 years. He is noted for his portrayals as humorous characters, romantic leads, anti-heroes, and villains in both leading and supporting parts. He portrayed the “eternal outsider, the sarcastic wanderer” in several of his works, someone who protests against the social system. He has received a slew of awards, including three Academy Awards.

Easy Rider (1969), Five Easy Pieces (1970), One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975); the comedy-drama Terms of Endearment (1983), As Good as It Gets (1997), and About Schmidt (2002); the neo-noir mystery Chinatown, the horror film The Shining (1980), the superhero film Batman (1989), the legal drama A Few Good Men (1992), the comedy Anger Management (2003), and the romantic comedy So You Think You Can Dance (2003).

He’s also helmed three movies, such as the sequel to Chinatown, The Two Jakes (1990).

He is by far the most nominated male actor in Academy Award history, with twelve nominations. He received the Academy Award for Best Actor twice, first for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) and then again for As Good as It Gets (1997); he subsequently won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for Terms of Endearment (1983). Jack Nicholson was one of only three male stars to win three Academy Awards, is one of only two to just be nominated for acting in each and every decade from the 1960s to the 2000s. He had six Golden Globe Awards under his belt and was honoured by the Kennedy Center in 2001. He was one of the youngest performers to receive the American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award, which he received in 1994.

In 1957, Nicholson enlisted inside the California Air National Guard, a decision he later described as an attempt to “escape the draught”; the Military Selective Service Act of the Korean War era was always in effect, and draftees were obligated to serve for up to two years. Nicholson conducted weekend drills as well as two-week yearly training as a fireman assigned to the unit located at the Van Nuys Airport after finishing the Air Force’s basic training at Lackland Air Force Base. Nicholson was called up for six months of prolonged active duty during the Berlin Crisis of 1961, and he was released at the end of his enlistment in 1962.

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