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AS one of Hollywood’s showmen, he has never been one to do things quietly – until now.
Jack Nicholson has retired from acting “without fanfare” after a career spanning more than five decades, according to reports in the US.
The 76-year-old – the most nominated leading man in Oscar history – apparently made the decision as he now struggles to remember his lines.
“There is a simple reason behind his decision – it’s memory loss,” a Hollywood insider told celebrity website Radar Online. “Quite frankly, at 76, Jack has memory issues and can no longer remember the lines being asked of him. His memory isn’t what it used to be.”
Nicholson was not available for comment.
Despite the uncharacteristically low-key retirement, the three-time Academy Award winner – a regular on the Hollywood party circuit and courtside at Los Angeles Lakers basketball games – has no intention of dropping out of sight, said the report.
“He’s not retiring from public life, at all. He just doesn’t want a tribute,” added the insider. “He’s happy to tacitly join the retirees club like Sean Connery.”
Nicholson – who is also famed for his love of the ladies – made his acting debut in 1958, playing the lead role in low-budget teen drama The Cry Baby Killer.
But it was in the 1969 classic Easy Rider alongside Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper that he set out on the path to becoming one of the biggest stars in Hollywood.
His illustrious career has included three Oscars – for Best Actor in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in 1976 and As Good as It Gets in 1998, and a Best Supporting Actor award for 1983 film Terms of Endearment.
He has also starred in hits such as Chinatown, The Shining and The Witches of Eastwick.
In all, he received 12 Oscar nominations, and in 1999, Nicholson was presented with the Golden Globe’s Cecil B DeMille lifetime achievement award. He considers his performance in Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman as a personal favourite.
“I was particularly proud of my performance as The Joker. I considered it a piece of pop art,” he said.
Nicholson hasn’t acted since the 2010 romantic comedy How Do You Know with Reese Witherspoon and Paul Rudd, which fared poorly at the box office.
Throughout his career he has been romantically linked to numerous actresses and models, including Michelle Phillips, Rachel Ward, Bebe Buell, and Lara Flynn Boyle.
But in 2011, he said: “I’m definitely still wild at heart. But I’ve struck bio-gravity. I can’t hit on women in public any more. I didn’t decide this; it just doesn’t feel right at my age.” – Daily Mail