Is there a bigger celebrity than Jack Nicholson? And when I say celebrity, I mean old-school celebrity — not the sad & skanky Paris-Lindsey-Britneys or even the seemingly clean-cut High School Musical geeks. I mean the able-to-get-away-with-wearing-your-shades-at-the-Oscars-year-after-year celebrity.
Dennis McDougal, an entertainment reporter for the New York Times, formerly of the Los Angeles Times, brings us Five Easy Decades: How Jack Nicholson Became the Biggest Movie Star in Modern Times (Wiley, 410 pages, $25.95)...
From "Little Shop of Horrors" (1960) to "Easy Rider" (1969) to "Cuckoo's Nest" (1975) to "The Shining" (1980) to "Batman" (1989) to "A Few Good Men" (1992) to "As Good As It Gets (1997) to "The Departed" (2006), and so many other memorable films in between — Jack Nicholson has never been at a loss for good roles and interesting projects.
McDougal, whose credentials can get his foot in the door to a lot of Hollywood's heavy hitters, researched his subject well, interviewing countless friends, family and associates — but never the elusive Nicholson himself — who could lend insight into the man behind the dark shades and perpetual smirk.
Aside from all the Hollywood glitz and glamor, McDougal also gets into Nicholson's private life, which includes many women, drug use, the long-unknown identity of his father, and his five (known) illegitimate children.
There are also some black-and-white photos from his early life, his career and then a snapshot of Nicholson at his 50th high school reunion, to which he brought his aunt Lorraine. (We've all secretly hoped there was a softie underneath the bad-boy exterior — and now we know!)