Jack. In Hollywood, that's all you need to say. Simply, Jack. The man with the impish grin, trademark shades and three Academy Awards is also a Top CelebStoner.
Born on Apr. 22, 1937 in New York, Jack Nicholson grew up in New Jersey. He moved to Los Angeles in the '50s, looking for work as an actor and screenwriter. In his breakthrough role, Nicholson played a pot-smoking biker in Hell's Angels on Wheels in 1967. The same year he wrote The Trip and the next Head, both counterculture classics. In 1968, he also starred in Psych-Out as rocker, Stoney.
Those who hadn't seen any of these films at the time were in for a shock when Nicholson donned a football helmet in Dennis Hopper's hippie biker flick, Easy Rider. Hopper and Peter Fonda's characters roar across America on Harleys, and it doesn't take long for them to get arrested. They meet Nicholson's George in jail, locked up for public drunkenness. The trio are released and George hops aboard Fonda's bike, joining them on their road trip.
The campfire scene in Easy Rider was a big reason why Nicholson scored his first Oscar nomination (for Best Supporting Actor). When Fonda's Captain America offers him a joint, George refuses at first because he's an alcoholic. He fidgets with the joint, then finally lights up. "That's got a real nice taste to it," he says. After the third hit, George sheds some light on UFOs. "They are people just like us from within our own solar system, except that their society is more high evolved," he pontificates. "Why they don't reveal themselves to us is because it would cause a general panic..."
Nicholson followed with Five Easy Pieces in 1970 and another Oscar nomination. He won his first Academy Award for psych-ward resident McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest in 1975. Nicholson's been nominated 12 times, also winning for Terms of Endearment and As Good As it Gets. Among his 60 films are Chinatown, Carnal Knowlegde, The Last Detail, The Shining, A Few Good Men, Batman, Prizzi's Honor, About Schmidt and Anger Management.
In his heyday, Nicholson was a regular marijuana user. "I'm a social smoker," he once said. "I guess I'd be called an old pothead."
In a 2011 interview, Nicholson commented about cannabis, "It's a curative thing... If they were really serious about the economy there would be a sensible discussion about legalization."
At 73, he doesn't work as often as he used to. His latest films were The Departed (2006), The Bucket List (2007) and How Do You Know (2010).
Nicholson's practically as well known for his undying support of the Los Angeles Lakers as he is for his brilliant acting career. He was married once, to Sandra Knight in the '60s (they have one child). Nicholson has lived with numerous women, including Anjelica Huston, over the years. He's had four children with three different women.