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On this Day in Movie History April 22, 1937: Jack Nicholson Born

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This seems to be a face that everyone recognizes worldwide. It was on this day, April 22, 1937 that Jack Nicholson was born. That’s no joke.

Born John Joseph “Jack” Nicholson, renowned for his often dark portrayals of neurotic characters, he is an American actor, film director, producer and writer. His twelve Oscar nominations make him the second most nominated actor of all time second only to Meryl Streep, an honor that ties him with Katharine Hepburn.

When he first came to Hollywood, he worked as a “gofer” for legendary Hanna and Barbera Studios at MGM. Seeing his talent as an artist, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera offered Nicholson a starting level position as an animation artist. However, wishing to become an actor, he declined.

In 1958 he made his film debut in a low-budget teen drama The Cry Baby Killer, playing the title role. For the following decade, Nicholson was a frequent collaborator with the film’s producer, Roger Corman. Corman directed Nicholson on several occasions, most notably in The Little Shop of Horrors, as masochistic dental patient Wilbur Force, and also in The Raven, The Terror, and The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.

Nicholson also worked frequently with director Monte Hellman as well on low-budget westerns. Although two in particular, Ride in the Whirlwind and The Shooting, initially failed to find interest from any US film distributors, they gained cult success on the art house circuit in France. Later they were sold to television.

Since Nicholson has been one of only two actors who has been nominated for an Academy Award for acting in every decade from the 1960s to 2000s decade; the other being Michael Cain

He has racked up the awards. Nominated for an Academy Award twelve times, he has won the Academy Award for Best Actor twice: 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. He is tied with Walter Brennan for most acting wins by a male actor (three). Nicholson is well known for playing villainous roles such as Jack Torrance in The Shining, Frank Costello in The Departed, and the Joker in 1989′s Batman, among many other roles.

He has won seven Golden Globe Awards, and received a Kennedy Center Honor in 2001. In 1994, he became one of the youngest actors to be awarded the American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award. Notable films in which he has starred include, in chronological order, Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces, Chinatown, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Passenger, The Shining, Reds, Terms of Endearment, Batman, A Few Good Men, As Good as It Gets, About Schmidt and The Departed.

Also born on this day
1906 – Eddie Albert (Edward Albert Heimberger) (actor: Green Acres, Teahouse of the August Moon, Roman Holiday; died May 26, 2005)

1920 – Hal March (Mendelson) (TV emcee: What’s It For, The $64,000 Question, Laughs for Sale; actor: My Friend Irma, The Soldiers, The Imogene Coca Show, The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show; died Jan 19, 1970)

1923 – Aaron Spelling (Emmy Award-winning executive producer: Day One, AT&T Presents [1988-1989], And the Band Played On [1993-1994]; Charlie’s Angels, The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place; died June 23, 2006)

1933 – Mark Damon (Alan Harris) (actor: Black Sabbath, Between Heaven and Hell, The Fall of the House of Usher)

1936 – Glen Campbell (Grammy Award-winning singer: By the Time I Get to Phoenix, Gentle on My Mind, CMA Entertainer of the Year [1968]; Galveston, Wichita Lineman, Southern Nights, Rhinestone Cowboy; TV host: The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour; actor: True Grit, Norwood, Strange Homecoming)

1939 – Jason Miller (Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning playwright: That Championship Season [1973]; actor: Mommy, Murdered Innocence, Small Kill, Light of Day, Toy Soldiers, Monsignor, The Exorcist series, The Ninth Configuration)

1952 – Marilyn Chambers (actress: X-rated films: Behind the Green Door, Resurrection of Eve, Inside Marilyn Chambers, Insatiable, Electric Blue series, Private Fantasies series, Lusty Busty Fantasies, Little Shop of Erotica, Still Insatiable; died Apr 12, 2009)

1954 – Joseph Bottoms (actor: The Black Hole, Holocaust, Liar’s Edge, Treacherous Crossing, Surfacing, The Dove, Inner Sanctum)

1964 – Chris Makepeace (actor: My Bodyguard, Vamp, Undergrads, Last Chase, Aloha Summer, The Terry Fox Story, Captive Hearts)

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