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September 29, 2019

Jack Nicholson During the ‘70s

The 1970s was a busy and successful decade for Jack Nicholson. After a lucky break from Easy Rider, which earned the actor his first Oscar nomination, Nicholson’s career skyrocketed with his persona-defining role in Five Ease Pieces; the film’s success made him “the new American anti-hero” and got him another Academy Awards nomination. During the filming of the comedy-drama Carnal Knowledge in 1971, Nicholson struck up a lifelong friendship with co-star Art Garfunkel. In 1973, for his performance in Hal Ashby’s The Last Detail, Nicholson won the Cannes Best Actor Award and received his third Oscar nomination.

Nicholson starred in Roman Polanski’s Chinatown in 1974, once again nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor; Polanski, whom Nicholson had long been friends with, would later get arrested at the actor’s home for the sexual assault of a minor in 1977. One of Nicholson’s greatest successes came in 1975 with the comedy-drama One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, which was the first film in 41 years to sweep the major Oscar categories, including the first Best Actor win for Nicholson himself.

January 1970. Contact sheet of various portraits of Jack Nicholson, New York. Photo by Jack Robinson.

The actor continued to take more unusual roles after his success. “I like to play people that haven’t existed yet, a ‘cusp character,’ I have that creative yearning.” Nicholson once said. In 1976, he played an unsympathetic role in Arthur Penn’s The Missouri Breaks, particularly to work with Marlon Brando, whom Nicholson had long idolized. In Marc Eliot’s Nicholson: A Biography, the actor said, “Marlon Brando influenced me strongly. Today, it’s hard for people who weren’t there to realize the impact that Brando had on an audience… He’s always been the patron saint of actors.”

Below are 26 photographs capturing Nicholson both on and off set during the 1970s

April 1970. Jack Nicholson and Dennis Hopper talk at an Academy Awards after party, Los Angeles, California. Michelle Phillips stands in the foreground. Photo by Max Miller.

1971. Jack Nicholson and Michelle Phillips at the 43rd Annual Academy Awards' Governer's Ball. Photo by Ron Galella.

1971. Jack Nicholson and Art Garfunkel in 'Carnal Knowledge.' Photo by Corbis.

1973. Jack Nicholson on the set of 'The Last Detail,' directed by Hal Ashby. Photo by Corbis.

1970s. Jack Nicholson with partner actress Anjelica Huston. Photo by Tony Korody.

1974. Jack Nicholson in his house on Mulholland Drive with his daughter and Anjelica Huston. Photo by Julian Wasser.

1974. Jack Nicholson in  'Chinatown.' Photo by Steve Schapiro.

May 1974. Jack Nicholson on the Croisette during the Cannes Film Festival. Photo by Michel Ginfray.

May 1974. Jack Nicholson at the Cannes Film Festival. Photo by GIRIBALDI.

July 1974. Jack Nicholson put his handprints and autograph at the Mann's Chinese Theatre. Photo by Tony Korody.

July 1974. Jack Nicholson with daughter Jennifer. Photo by Tony Korody.

December 1974. Portrait of Jack Nicholson at Paris. Photo by Jack Garofalo.

1975. Jack Nicholson looking through fence in a scene from the film 'One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest.' Photo by United Artists.

January 1976. Jack Nicholson and Michael Douglas arrive in Sydney to promote the film 'One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest.' Photo by Antony Matheus Linsen.

March 1976. Jack Nicholson with Louise Fletcher pose backstage after winning Best Actor and Best Actress for 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' during the 48th Academy Awards. Photo by Michael Montfort.

May 1976. Lauren Bacall and Jack Nicholson during American Film Insitute Salute to William Wyler at Century Plaza Hotel in Century City, California. Photo by Ron Galella.

1976. Marlon Brando and Jack Nicholson on the set of 'The Missouri Breaks,' directed by Arthur Penn.

January 1977. After an inauguration party for President Jimmy Carter, Jack Nicholson, with Linda Ronstadt and Carl Bernstein, leaves Georgetown's Pisces disco, Washington, D.C.. Photo by Allan Tannenbaum.

1977. Warren Beatty and Jack Nicholson in New York. Photo by Peter L Gould.

May 1977. Jack Nicholson sighted at On The Rox in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Ron Galella.

January 1978. Jack Nicholson at the 'Appearing Nightly' premiere in Los Angeles. Photo by Ron Galella.

April 1978. Jack Nicholson attends the 50th Annual Academy Awards at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Ron Galella.

April 1978. Jack Nicholson on stage at the 50th Annual Academy Awards. Photo by Walt Disney Television.

1978. Jack Nicholson on the set of his movie 'Goin' South.' Photo by Corbis.

1979. Jack Nicholson attends the 1979 Deauville American Film Festival. Photo by  Caterine Milinaire.

September 1979. Jack Nicholson in London. Photo by Evening Standard.


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