FROM THE MORGUE
Copyright 2012 by William A. Mays, Proprietor
|Jack Nicholson Talks
About His Sexploits
Copyright © 1976 Police Gazette Publishing Corp.
Copyrights managed by National Police Gazette Enterprises, LLC
by Don Short
Every pair of eyes in the hotel lobby turns to look at him. Nobody can fail to notice the athletic figure coming towards me. As he smiles a greeting, he flashes teeth as white as the immaculate suit he wears. The atmosphere is electric and the cause is Jack Nicholson.
The former film studio postal clerk is not just a pretty face on the cinema screen. Stories of his hell-raising past, the booze and the women, are all too recent for Jack to remain a cardboard hero.
Now he's become a respectable one-girl guy, the new Jack Nicholson is a fine example of a bad boy turned good. But not too good. Danger still lurks in those penetrating eyes.
He lit the fuse on stardom five years ago in Easy Rider as the drunken lawyer. Then in Five Easy Pieces he came close to an Oscar with a nomination. This was followed by an explosive performance in Carnal Knowledge and then by his best-actor award at the Cannes Film Festival in the raw but riotous frolic The Last Detail.
His latest box-office blockbuster on both sides of the Atlantic is Chinatown. As the cynical private detective J.J. Gittes, he stars with Faye Dunaway. The partnership is truly dynamic.
Faye was just one of a long line of women unable to resist the man's steel-cool charm. Romantically embroiled with him while they were making the film she says: "He's gorgeous—and mean and moody with it. I like that."
Another former girlfriend and leading lady, Candice Bergen, adds: "He has the eyes of a cobra," and yet another convert warns of his smile. "It's a killer."
Along with the empty beer bottles, Jack's sexual exploits provided a feast for hungry gossip writers. But those days are over. He no longer has to fight for recognition. Critics have been aglow with praise, as have Hollywood's top-flight directors. Roman Polanski, who conducted Nicholson through Chinatown, gives this unsolicited testimonial: "He is cool perfection itself. He puts the whole acting thing together like nobody else."
Mike Nichols, who directed him in Carnal Knowledge and repeats the process in the forthcoming comedy Fortune, declares: "Nicholson is destined to become one of the giant film stars of all time."
All this and more is re-echoed in the sacks of fan letters he receives which leave Mr. Nicholson rather flattered, but just a little cautious.
"They love you today, but where will they be tomorrow?" He unveils that "killer" smile and shrugs. "Dammit. I shouldn't ask questions like that. It's better to enjoy it while it lasts..."
Nicholson, who was earning $25 a week as a postal clerk at MGM Studios, drifted inconspicuously on the Hollywood scene for 15 years without recognition.
Today he calls the tune. Producers who rejected him in the past are now pleading for his services. But Jack Nicholson chooses only what he wants to choose.
One suspects that he might apply that in his well-known appetite for the opposite sex. But in London, where he lingers to do a small cameo role in Ken Russell's rock opera Tommy, the actor shakes his head.
"Don't get the idea that because you're a film star you can get any girl you see. It's ironic, but the ones you want the most stay the most remote. You've got to work to get 'em.
"Then you've got to hold them. Film stars are just as vulnerable as the next guy. You can lose your girl just as easily.
"Imagine the blow to your pride when you discover, as i have in the past, that your girl has been going with someone else at the same time, especially if it turns out to be your best friend, which isn't unusual!
"Luckily I've only experienced this when my relationship has blown and I've found out a lot later. But you still take a helluva knock for not having suspected anything whatever at the time."
Nicholson grimaces as though he is thinking of a particular affair that went sour on him but he sits pensive and silent.
Then he explodes. "What's the point of hiding it? I expect my women to be loyal. If they dare look over my shoulder at someone else then I kick them in that direction.
"Sharing a woman is not my idea of enlightenment. I try not to be possessive, but when it comes to the crunch I guess I am."
At the same time Nicholson isn't averse to the challenge. "Some guys like to lock their girls away so no one else gets a look-in. Or they move in a clique where there isn't a single stud in sight. I couldn't kid myself like that. If a girl is with me, then the choice is hers. I prefer to mix with my own circle of friends rather than surround myself with a bunch of idiots I can't converse with in order to keep a girl on tag."
The American actor was married for seven years to the actress Sandra Knight. They have a 10-year-old daughter Jennifer who visits her father every weekend.
"The marriage was good," reflects Nicholson, adding sagely, "and the divorce was good too. It was the story of two people who grew apart. You might say an industrial hazard hit us."
With the dissolution of the marriage five years ago Nicholson embarked on a series of scorching romances. There was his affair with model girl Mimi Machu, succeeded by his attachment for the singer Michelle Phillips and then came his affectionate encounters with his leading ladies Candice Bergen and Faye Dunaway.
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|Jack Nicholson and Anjelica Huston as they appeared in the April 1976
issue of the National Police Gazette.