A DIFFICULT TRUTH TO HANDLE: Radar Online is reporting that Jack Nicholson quietly has decided to retire from acting, with diminished memory cited as a key factor.
He is 76, the most-Oscar nominated male actor of all time (8 lead and 4 supporting across five decades, with two wins in the former and one in the latter), and if this is true then his last-minute-substituting-for-Bill-Murray role in James L. Brooks' How Do You Know (2010, and his fourth film with Brooks) will have been his last screen work. It's not, of course, the one we'll remember first, and as the 1994 AFI Tribute notes:
A rebel with an unquenchable spirit — both onscreen and off — Nicholson's roles have spanned all genres. His performances offer an impressive variety of experience, yet his artistry is consistent. He has had the courage to tackle offbeat, often unsympathetic, roles; but he invests each of his characters with humanity and intelligence....
Although most of his work shares themes of alienation, loyalty, and deception, he has experimented with a broad range of styles: somber, exuberant, pessimistic, and hallucinogenic. Whether dominating with his mach imprimatur, dazzling with his ironic grin, snarling with sarcasm, or offering himself up as a vulnerable sacrifice to a society he can't grasp, his presence is commanding
Jack Nicholson possesses every quality we require of a movie star: personality, looks, charm. He is always uniquely "himself" — "Everything I do in the movies is autobiographical," he says — yet the actor merges seamlessly with the personality of whatever role he plays.