Jack Nicholson has retired ‘without fanfare’: ‘His memory isn’t what it used to be’

A while back – last year, I think – I read a sketchy blind item about an older Hollywood icon who was in the midst of some major health problems, and the blind was basically saying that the icon didn’t want anyone to know how sick he was. A lot of people guessed it Jack Nicholson, and while the circumstances did “fit” for the blind, I found the prospect rather depressing. Anyway, I think Jack appeared at the Oscars soon after, and while he seemed kind of spacey, he didn’t seem like he had just had a stroke or anything. He was even flirting with Jennifer Lawrence! But now this story has made me suspicious – Radar claims that Jack has “retired” from movies and he doesn’t want any fanfare:

He’ll still sit court side at Los Angeles Lakers’ games, but Hollywood legend Jack Nicholson has quietly retired from the movie business, RadarOnline.com has exclusively learned. The 76-year-old icon has no plans to appear in films again after a career spanning five decades.

“Jack has — without fanfare — retired,” a well-placed Hollywood film insider confirmed to Radar. “There is a simple reason behind his decision — it’s memory loss. Quite frankly, at 76, Jack has memory issues and can no longer remember the lines being asked of him. His memory isn’t what it used to be.”

The three-time Academy Award winner has not worked since How Do You Know in 2010 starring Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd and Owen Wilson. Tellingly, producers for the forthcoming film Nebraska had wanted him to play the key role of an aging, booze-addled father who makes the trip from Montana to Nebraska with his estranged son in order to claim a million dollar Mega Sweepstakes Marketing prize. The role ultimately went to Bruce Dern, after Nicholson advised the filmmakers that he was not interested, the source said.

Nicholson began his Hollywood career in the 1950s, first working as a gofer for animation legends William Hanna and Joseph Barbera at the MGM cartoon studio. He left soon after to pursue his dream to star on screen. The New Jersey-native made his film debut in a low-budget teen drama The Cry Baby Killer, in 1958, playing the title role.

He’s best remembered for his Academy Award winning roles as Best Actor for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and for As Good as It Gets. He also won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for the 1983 film Terms of Endearment. Nicholson has been nominated for a record-setting 12 Oscars, eight for Best Actor and four for Best Supporting Actor, making him the most nominated male actor in Academy Awards history.

“Jack has no intention of retiring from the limelight,” said the source, who noted his regular appearances on the Hollywood party circuit, court side at his beloved Lakers and his co-presentation of the Academy Award for Best Picture with First Lady Michelle Obama, earlier this year.

“He’s not retiring from public life, at all. He just doesn’t want a tribute,” added the insider. “He’s happy to tacitly join the retirees club like Sean Connery.”

[From Radar]

Well, I mean, it’s not like he NEEDS to work. He’s one of the richest men in Hollywood, and his art collection alone is worth hundreds of millions of dollars. But I find it hard to believe that he wouldn’t come out of retirement if he was offered either a really great part or a really amazing paycheck. But for now he’s probably happy with his art, with his kids and with his Lakers. It’s sad that we won’t see any more great Jack performances though.

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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35 Responses to “Jack Nicholson has retired ‘without fanfare’: ‘His memory isn’t what it used to be’”

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  1. fancyamazon says:

    Happy Retirement, Jack! Live well, and be happy. 🙂

  2. Rosie says:

    I seem to already have known this, I dont even know how. Anyway, I have known for a long time that he has a brain degenerating condition. Dementia or something.

    Its sad but lets not start Sainting the guy or anything. This is the douche in whos house that child rapist Polanski did his crap. And he stuck with him through that with nary a sense of disgust at his pal. Then theres the hooker stories and how badly he treated them. Not a good humanbeing.

    • Kiddo says:

      Rosie, I think it was a blind a while ago on CD&N and everyone guessed Jack.

    • Mindy says:

      Agreed. Jack Nicholson was not a good man. Remember how he fathered a kid with another woman while with Anjelica Houston then made a stink about A leaving him for such a ‘minor infraction’?

      • dante says:

        I actually met many of these people back in the day (yes, I know there will be some out there who right away decide this is being made up….) and can tell you in no uncertain terms that Anjelica was hardly an angel. If anything, she was absolutely no better than Nicholson, and so to make her out as a ‘woman scorned’ is hardly appropriate. The first time I met her was around 1985 — I was at the house of a woman that was good friends with her. They had been out to a club the night before, and Anjelica walked out of the guest bedroom first thing in the A.M. with some blond-haired boy no more than half her age. I mean he was just a kid compared to her. At the time, she was also fooling around with Sam Shepard on the side while still dating Jack. She’s hardly a victim. Holly wood in the 80’s — all these people were nuts!

    • Max says:

      If memory serves me Angelica wasnt even an adult when they started dating.

      Theres also a story about him sleeping with Drew Barrymore when she was 14. I’ll dig it up.

      Anyway its no surprise that he and Roman Polanski get along so well even after their films wrapped.

      • Amy says:

        Nope Jack and Anjelica weren’t together until the 70s when she was in her 20s. She was with Terry Richardson’s father Bob before that

    • Libby says:

      I have heard the Drew Barrymore stories too. That poor childs mother would take her to Hollywood parties and leave her unsupervised. The Nicolson hookup happened during a private poker party. He took her into a bedroom and emerged later with her, and some of the guests talked I guess.

      And didnt Debra Winger out him over his prostitute use like ten years ago. I mean a guy who sleeps with prostitutes is sad but a guy who still does it into his sixties is just pathetic.

      • Lex says:

        Well if you are talking about sexual acts with a 14 year old that is rape, not sex. No questions or grey area. That is rape.

      • Libby says:

        What part of that comment makes you think I disagree?! I am posting under a thread thats rejecting the recasting of this creapy dbag as some kind of Hollywood saint. It should be obvious that I agree whole heartedly with you.

  3. Lark says:

    Jack’s publicist already denied this—although I wouldn’t be surprised if he did retire. Why not? He has tons of money, respect, and he doesn’t seem to be particularly interested in working like Robert Redford or some of the other older actors do.

  4. Kiddo says:

    One flew over the Cuckoo’s nest was a fantastically sad film and he was great in it.

  5. TherapyCranes says:

    I don’t think Jack ever tried to pretend to be anything that he wasn’t. I’m not going to shade him for being chauvinistic. The girls that dealt with him knew what they were getting into. Hell, I’ve never met him and I could tell that’s the kind of man he is.

    It makes me sad to think there won’t be any more movies with him in them. It makes me sad that he’s getting old. I have such love for some of his movies.

    • Sardinia says:

      He beat up a prostitute in his house and refused to pay her. Still the kind of “chauvanist” you could get behind?

      • TherapyCranes says:

        I wouldn’t be around or sleep with a guy that was known to be a creep. I know that doesn’t excuse his behavior. I’m just saying he never pretended to be prince charming.

        I do still like his movies. /Shrug.

      • taxi says:

        Easy Rider, Cuckoo’s Nest, 5 Easy Pieces, Chinatown, Terms of Endearment, et al. No, not a nice man but his talent & body of work are very impressive.

      • Lucinda says:

        I think there is a difference between acknowledging and condoning. No one is condoning his behavior or saying he’s a great guy personally. The point Therapy is making is that Nicholson never pretended he was anything other than a chauvinistic pic. He’s not a nice man and not someone I would enjoy hanging with. But he is/was a talented actor.

      • Len says:

        Gee by this logic Hitler never pretended to be a good guy either, so can we all just lay off him already. Comeon!

        Nobody gets to beat up another person and refuse her payment for services just because he is good at his job. Period.

    • Libby says:

      I guess talent can cover up a multitude of sin, Sardinia. Lol.

    • Merritt says:

      A person doesn’t get a pass for being a misogynist simply because that is a known thing about them. People need to be called out for their awful behavior. He has also treated some of his female co-stars like crap. That is unacceptable in any work place.

      • taxi says:

        January Jones considers him a valuable mentor & spoke in an interview about how much he’d helped her & what a great friend he is.

        He’s also had pool parties for years which were attended by local high school girls & Jack’s old male buddies. Lots of booze and other things for the girls to play with & they were all welcome. Picture a frat party with old guys & young females. The girls had to say they were at least 18 to be allowed in, but many were younger.

  6. Elodie says:

    The news this morning said it was a false report, he’s not retiring.

  7. Jessica says:

    I thought he was already pretty much retired. Like he might take a small part to help out a friend (hence How Do You Know a few years back), but he’s not actively pursuing any work. He hasn’t done more than a few days on a set in over 6 years, and it’s not like he wouldn’t get plenty of great offers, so I just assumed he was done.

    The rumours about his health have been out there for a few years, but he’s seemed as sharp as ever whenever he’s attended events and games. He’s always been a bit of a hermit, really doesn’t like to leave his house, I could see how given his age that could start some rumours. I hope there’s nothing to them.

  8. pao la says:

    I’ve never seen that clip about Jennifer Lawrence and Jack Nicholson. She’s so damn cute!!

  9. Nerd Alert says:

    I love a lot of his movies, but I have to say I hate this guy and I can’t watch them anymore. Even if half the rumors are true, he’s horrible.

  10. Masque says:

    I’ve never liked him and have always thought he was repulsive.

  11. aenflex says:

    I love this actor. In reality I’m sure he’s a douche. But in film, he is nothing short of magic.

    • Nicolette says:


      In reality I’m sure a lot of actors could be classified as being a mega douche, but I did enjoy his work. Hope he has a happy retirement.

  12. nicegirl says:

    My aunt went on a few dates with him in the 80’s as well, when she was modeling. I guess he was a real charmer, way back when.

  13. Claudia says:

    Aw 🙁 I (selfishly) kind of wish he’d do at least one more movie, a good one, so that his last movie would not have been the piece of crap that ‘How Do You Know’ was. Go out with a bang! I also hope we get to see him in the front row of the Oscars, sunglasses and wolf grin, once more.

    • Turtle Dove says:

      Thank you. I’ve said since that movie came out. I really don’t want Jack’s last movie to be that piece of sh*t Reese “Beyond” Witherspoon’s How Do You Know. He’s WAYYYYY better than that.

  14. lisa says:

    i think the last time he didnt basically play himself was “about schmidt”

  15. d b says:

    My parents went to school with Jack N. He seems like a truly loyal friend. He’s done things, without any fanfare, paying hospital bills and so on. Generous, but naturally you don’t hear about that, it’s a private thing. The reason I wanted to get it out there because you hear a lot negative stuff, and I feel he doesn’t deserve it.