HomeEntertainmentHappy Birthday Jack Nicholson: Relive the Hollywood Icon’s Best Moments

Happy Birthday Jack Nicholson: Relive the Hollywood Icon’s Best Moments

by Katie Maloney
(Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

Happy 84th Birthday to acting superstar Jack Nicholson! Since his big-screen debut in 1958 in The Crybaby Killer, Hollywood icon Jack Nicholson has appeared in at least 69 movies.

After landing a breakthrough role in Easy Rider in 1969, Nicholson soared to fame. Since then he’s been nominated for 12 Academy Awards (won three). He is the most nominated male actor in the Academy’s history. He’s also been a Kennedy Center Honoree and a recipient of the AFI Life Achievement Award. Additionally, Nicholson has accumulated quite a cult following for playing angry, eccentric, often bordering insane characters that are somehow also likable.

So, in honor of Jack Nicholson’s 84th birthday, Outsider is highlighting a few of his best career moments.

When Jack Nicholson Got His Big Break In ‘Easy Rider’

Easy Rider is about a man (Peter Fonda) who goes searching for America while riding his motorcycle. During his adventures, he meets biker Billy (Dennis Hopper). The two of them befriend George (Jack Nicholson) while spending time in a jail cell. This was a breakthrough role for Nicholson and it landed him his first Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor in 1970.

Scene from Easy Rider featuring Jack Nicholson.

When He Scared Everyone In ‘The Shining’

If you ever watch Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance in The Shining, you won’t forget it. The movie features a family who travels to an isolated hotel for the winter where an evil presence causes him to lose his mind and attempt to kill his family. Meanwhile, his young son sees visions of past and future violence. In conclusion, this movie, based on Stephen King‘s novel of the same name, is absolutely brilliant and terrifying. Once you watch, you’ll never be able to get Jack Nicholson’s voice out of your head, “Here’s Johnny!”

Jack Nicholson in The Shining

When He Tried His Hand At Romance In ‘As Good As It Gets’

Judging by most of the characters he’s played, it may be difficult to imagine Jack Nicholson as a romantic guy. And you’re kind of right. He’s not exactly a full-on romantic in As Good As It Gets. During the movie, Nicholson plays Melvin Udall, a successful author who suffers from OCD and doesn’t really like anyone. However, when he meets Carol (Helen Hunt) he’s inspired to become “a better man.” Nicholson won one of his three Oscars for the role. The scene below is one of the more pivotal scenes in the movie. Udall, as someone who can’t reach people, tries to articulate his feelings to Carol.

Jack Nicholson in As Good As It Gets.

When He Starred In ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’

Jack Nicholson plays McMurphy, a criminal who pleads insanity to avoid jail time and is admitted to a mental institution. While there, he bonds with other patients and attempts to fight with the orderlies. The film was the second movie ever to win all five Academy Awards: Best Picture, Actor in Lead Role, Actress in Lead Role, Director, and Screenplay. Previously, the only other film to do so was the 1934 film, It Happened One Night. The only movie to garner all five Academy Awards since is The Silence of the Lambs in 1991.

Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

When He Played The Joker In ‘Batman’

The 1989 Batman was the first installment of Warner Bros’ initial Batman film series. The movie starred  Jack Nicholson as the Joker, Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne/Batman, and Kim Basinger as Vikki Vale. Nicholson was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.

Jack Nicholson as The Joker in Batman.