1994 Jack Nicholson Tribute

Jack Nicholson was awarded the 22nd AFI Life Achievement Award on March 3, 1994.

Jack Nicholson was born on April 22, 1937 and raised in Neptune, New Jersey. He has said of himself, "I'm a New Jersey person, a suburban personality. I don't extrude aristocracy or intellectualism. But I try to give the common men that I play some extraordinary facet."

Three years after Jack Nicholson moved to Hollywood he received his first break, to star in producer Roger Corman's THE CRY BABY KILLER (1958). The two met in Jeff Corey's acting class. Above, with co-star Carolyn Mitchell.

With two days rental left on the sets and costumes of THE RAVEN, Roger Corman began shooting THE TERROR (1963) without a finished script. Unable to complete the film himself, Corman turned over directorial duties to a number of aspiring directors including Jack Nicholson, who directed the last day of shooting. With Boris Karloff.

Director Monte Hellman and Jack Nicholson produced THE SHOOTING and RIDE IN THE WHIRLWIND for Corman. On location in Utah and away from the watchful eye of the backers, they were able to make movies the way they wanted them. Nicholson said, "Roger wanted some good tomahawk numbers with plenty of ketchup, but Monte and I were into these films on another level." From THE SHOOTING (1966) with Millie Perkins.

Jack Nicholson in REBEL ROUSERS (1967).

Jack Nicholson had decided to give up acting to concentrate on his writing and directing when producer Bert Schneider asked him to replace Rip Torn in a biker movie being directed by Dennis Hopper. EASY RIDER (1969) became an immediate classic, bringing Nicholson overnight success that had actually been ten years in the making. With Hopper and Peter Fonda.

Director Bob Rafelson had been working on elements for FIVE EASY PIECES (1970) and together with Carole Eastman fashioned a story line as a starring vehicle for Jack Nicholson.

Jack Nicholson made his directing debut in DRIVE, HE SAID (1971). "The Beauty about most of those early films is that I was working with the same group of actors who hung around the parties and coffee shops," said Nicholson. "I used a number of my old cronies. And I was more pleased that I was in a position to do so." With Mike Warren.