You may want to be sitting for this — I'm glad I was — but Jack Nicholson has decided to retire from the acting business. Just kidding! Rumors started swirling like wildfire yesterday that the 76-year-old actor was stepping away quietly from the film business. The news had apparently come from a Hollywood insider (which probably translates as a disgruntled housekeeper) who told Radar Online that the iconic megastar had been having a hard time with his memory and couldn't remember his lines anymore. Considering he's been acting since the 1950s, has been nominated for a record-setting 12 Oscars (eight for Best Actor and four for Best Supporting Actor), and has won three, it wasn't completely far-fetched that Nicholson wanted a bit of a break. Especially considering that he hasn't appeared in a film since 2010s How Do You Know, instead spending his time flirting with Jennifer Lawrence and attending basketball games.
Just hours after the rumor broke, NBC's Maria Shriver told E! News that they were 100 percent false. Apparently, not only is Nicholson not retiring, he's actively reading scripts and is looking forward to his next project. Who knows? Maybe tomorrow another source will come forward to affirm he is indeed retiring. If there's one thing this story has done for us (aside from causing a panicked Twitter uproar among fans), it has reminded us why we love that crazy smirk so much to begin with. To set you up for a killer Nicholson marathon, here are ten of his most iconic and memorable characters! Photo Courtesy of Columbia Pictures
Captain America's (played by Peter Fonda) chopper was so tough to ride that Nicholson had to squeeze his knees on Fonda's side to keep from falling off, which broke one of Fonda's ribs. Photo Courtesy of Columbia Pictures
Five Easy Pieces
Nicholson wanted Janis Joplin to play the role of Palm Apodaca (played by Helena Kallianiotes), but the role was never offered to the singer.
Photo Courtesy of Columbia Pictures
The Last Detail
Nicholson was offered the role of Johnny Hooker in The Sting (which went to Robert Redford in the end), but turned it down so he could appear in this film. Photo Courtesy of Paramount Pictures
At the start of shooting the film, Nicholson and Anjelica Huston had just embarked on their long-lasting relationship, making scenes with her father, John Huston, especially awkward. In one scene, the only time Anjelica was on set, Noah Cross interrogates Nicholson's character by demanding, "Mr. Gittes...do you sleep with my daughter?" Photo Courtesy of Warner Brothers
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Much of the scene when he arrives at the hospital was improvised by Nicholson, including when he slammed the stapler, asked about a fishing photo and talked about his rape conviction — Dean R. Brooks' (playing Dr. Spivey) reactions were all real. Photo Courtesy of Warner Brothers
The script would supposedly be changed so often, sometimes multiple times a day, that Nicholson would toss each new version without even looking at it because he knew that it would just be changed again. Photo Courtesy of Paramount Pictures
Terms of Endearment
The role of Garrett Breedlove was originally written with Burt Reynolds in mind but the actor was already committed to Stroker Ace. Both Paul Newman and Harrison Ford turned the role down before Nicholson grabbed it. Photo Courtesy of Warner Brothers
Nicholson said of his role, "The thing I like about The Joker is that his sense of humor is completely tasteless." Photo Courtesy of Tristar Pictures
As Good As It Gets
When Nicholson approached the podium to receive his Best Actor Oscar in 1998, he carefully stepped over the cracks between the tiles on the stage as an imitation of his character in the film. He dedicated the award to J.T. Walsh, his co-star in A Few Good Men who had died shortly before the ceremony. Photo Courtesy of Warner Brothers
Nicholson improvised many moments in the film, including when Frank Costello throws cocaine on hookers and pulling out a gun while he was talking with Billy (played by Leonardo DiCaprio).