Producer
Director
Annette Baumeister
Producer
n/a
Genre
Biography
Broadcaster
3sat
Length
1 x 60'
Editor
Year
2017
Jack Nicholson
The diabolical grin of Hollywood

He is the highest paid actor of all time and the record holder among male colleagues with three Oscars and twelve nominations. A world star whose career began in the theatre and life is anything but ordinary.

In a strict Catholic family, he grows up believing that his mother is his sister. His grandmother pretended to be his mother to protect the family's reputation. It is only in 1974, after a Times Magazine reporter conducts research into his family circumstances, that Nicholson himself learns of this truth.

The young rebel and class clown has been enthusiastic about acting since early childhood. He plays theatre in high school and at the age of 17 moves to Los Angeles to live with his sister and mother, who works there as a dance girl. He keeps his head above water with temporary jobs; his talent as a draughtsman later gets him a job as an animation artist.

But his heart beats for acting. He uses his salary to pay for his acting classes, which he attends on the side. Finally, in 1958, he is discovered for his first role in the film 'The Cry Baby Killer'. But his acting career got off to a slow start. It was not until 10 years later that, by a twist of fate, he got the role in 'Easy Rider' that helped him to his breakthrough.

Suddenly, Hollywood could no longer be imagined without Jack Nicholson. He won his first Oscar in 1975 as best actor in 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest'. His grin - his trademark.

Nicholson was as notorious for his films as for his wild parties and affairs. He drank, he smoked, he took drugs and gave birth to five children by four different women. One affair led to another - he made a name for himself as 'Jack the Jumper'.

On the occasion of Jack Nicholson's 80th birthday, a documentary has been made that provides insights far beyond his Hollywood life. It is the story of a lonely star who made film history.

First broadcast: Saturday, 9 December 2017 at 10.15 pm on 3sat

Jack Nicholson – The diabolical grin of Hollywood

He is the highest paid actor of all time and the record holder among male colleagues with three Oscars and twelve nominations. A world star whose career began in the theatre and life is anything but ordinary.

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