[[caption-width-right:280:[[Film/TheShining Heeeeere's Jackie!]]]]
->''"I don't want people to know what I'm actually like. It's not good for an actor."''

You want us to describe Jack Nicholson here? You want the TRUTH?!

'''[[Film/AFewGoodMen YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!]]'''

But if you ''insist''... If you want a candidate for the title of "best actor of all time", John Joseph "Jack" Nicholson (born April 22, 1937) is the man - though he's not so much an actor as a force of nature. He's also in the running for most MagnificentBastard.

Nicholson has been nominated for Academy Awards twelve times. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor twice, for ''Film/OneFlewOverTheCuckoosNest'' and for ''Film/AsGoodAsItGets''. He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for ''Film/TermsOfEndearment''. He is tied with Walter Brennan and Creator/DanielDayLewis for most acting wins by a male actor (three), and second to Creator/KatharineHepburn for most acting wins overall (four). He is also one of only two actors nominated for an Academy Award for acting (either lead or supporting) in every decade since the 1960s (the other being Creator/MichaelCaine). He has won seven Golden Globe Awards, and received a Kennedy Center Honor in 2001. In 2010 he was the [[LargeHam very enthusiastic]] honorary starter for the Indianapolis 500. In 1994, he became one of the youngest actors to be awarded the American Film Institute's Life Achievement Award. He is internationally renowned for his often dark-themed portrayals of neurotic characters, such as ComicBook/TheJoker in the Creator/TimBurton ''Film/{{Batman}}'' movie and Randle [=McMurphy=] in ''One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest''. Also known for keeping up his career, as he has to approve of the script personally to make the movie and thus often avoiding [[MoneyDearBoy only doing his roles for the money.]] Also, because Nicholson is a MASSIVE [[UsefulNotes/NationalBasketballAssociation Los Angeles Lakers]] fan, attending every home game, his shooting schedule has to revolve around the Lakers' schedule. However, he will still take a pretty big paycheck...

He was raised believing [[FamilyRelationshipSwitcheroo his mother was his sister and his grandmother was his mother]] because his real mother had sex with a man out of wedlock, and [[ValuesDissonance back then, being an unwed mom was considered taboo]] (even though everyone close to the Nicholson family knew about this, except for Jack). Both were long dead when he found out--in a conversation with a reporter from ''Time'' magazine about ''Film/{{Chinatown}}''. The irony has been noted on several occasions. For bonus points, he's said that his mother, as part of her cover, would sometimes call him a "son of a bitch."

TropeNamer of TheGenieKnowsJackNicholson[[note]]The Genie in ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}'' imitates Nicholson when Aladdin tries to find the right things to say to Princess Jasmine[[/note]].
!!Jack Nicholson has appeared in many films, including:

* ''Film/TheLittleShopOfHorrors'' (1960) - masochistic dental patient Wilbur Force
* ''Film/TheTerror'' (1963) - Lt. Duvalier
* ''Film/EasyRider'' (1969) - George Hanson
* ''Film/FiveEasyPieces'' (1970) - Robert Dupea
* ''Theatre/OnAClearDayYouCanSeeForever'' (1970) - Tad Pringle
* ''Film/{{Chinatown}}'' (1974) - Det. Jake Gittes
* ''Film/ThePassenger'' (1975) - David Locke
* ''Film/OneFlewOverTheCuckoosNest'' (1975) - Randle [=McMurphy=]
* ''Goin' South'' (1978) - Henry Lloyd Moon
* ''Film/TheShining'' (1980) - Jack Torrance
--> "Here's Johnny!"
* ''Film/{{The Postman Always Rings Twice|1981}}'' (1981) - Frank Chambers
* ''Film/{{Reds}}'' (1981) - Creator/EugeneONeill
* ''Film/TermsOfEndearment'' (1983) - Garrett Breedlove
--> "I was just ''inches'' from a clean getaway."
* ''Film/PrizzisHonor'' (1985) - Charley Partanna
* ''Film/TheWitchesOfEastwick'' (1987) - Daryl Van Horne/[[spoiler:Satan]]
* ''Film/BroadcastNews'' (1987) - Bill Rorish
* ''Film/{{Batman}}'' (1989) - Jack Napier[=/=]ComicBook/TheJoker
--> "Wait 'til they get a load of me."
* ''Film/AFewGoodMen'' (1992) - Col. Nathan R. Jessup
* ''Film/{{Wolf}}'' (1994) - Will Randall
* ''Film/MarsAttacks'' (1996) - President James Dale and Art Land
* ''Film/BloodAndWine'' (1996) - Alex Gates
* ''Film/AsGoodAsItGets'' (1997) - Melvin Udall
--> "What if all of this...is (a TitleDrop)"
* ''Film/AboutSchmidt'' (2002) - Warren Schmidt
* ''Film/SomethingsGottaGive'' (2003) - Harry Sanborn
* ''Film/AngerManagement'' (2003) - Dr. Buddy Rydell
* ''Film/TheDeparted'' (2006) - Frank Costello (based loosely on Whitey Bulger)
* ''Film/TheBucketList'' (2007) - Edward Cole
* ''How do you know'' (2010) - Charles (his last movie role to date)

!!His works provide examples of the following tropes:

* CheshireCatGrin: His signature grin.
* ChewingTheScenery: Quite often. Take a look at his almost literal scenery-chewing rat impression in ''Film/TheDeparted''.
* DoingItForTheArt: He not only accepted a minor role in ''Film/BroadcastNews'' for no money, but ''specifically'' requested that he not appear in the trailer, the opening credits, or any advertisements or promotions for the film because he did not want to take attention away from lead actors Creator/WilliamHurt, Creator/AlbertBrooks and Holly Hunter.
* MagnumOpusDissonance: Considers his best performance and the favorite of all his films to be Creator/MichelangeloAntonioni's ''The Passenger'' which is far less famous than his more notable films.
* MeanCharacterNiceActor: The difference between his interviews and his characters is...striking.
** The man was born to play insane, scary characters. Jack himself is incredibly nice who can have a few emotional moments from time to time.
* MisplacedAccent: Born in New Jersey, but his default voice (which he hardly ever alters for films) sounds a lot more Midwestern.
* MoneyDearBoy: Why he played ComicBook/TheJoker in ''Film/{{Batman}}''. He got paid a percentage of the profits and a share of the merchandising. That said, he did name this as one of his favourite roles.
* StarMakingRole: ''Film/EasyRider'' earned Jack his first Oscar nomination, and ''Film/FiveEasyPieces'' solidified him as a leading man, but his Oscar-winning role in ''Film/OneFlewOverTheCuckoosNest'' assured his place in movie history.
* WhatCouldHaveBeen: Shortly before his acting career took off, he tried to get hired at MGM's animation unit as a cleanup artist on ''WesternAnimation/TomAndJerry''. The unit closed less than a week after his job interview. MGM animators Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera then offered him an opportunity as an animator at their [[Creator/HannaBarbera upcoming studio]]. He declined the offer to pursue his acting dreams, but remained good friends with the animation duo.