‘His socializing days are long gone’
Jack Nicholson’s close friends are raising the alarm about the legendary actor’s disappearing act from the public eye as he increasingly lives his life as a recluse.
An insider tells RadarOnline that the three-time Oscar winner “doesn’t want to face reality anymore and that’s just sad” as he lives alone in his sprawling Los Angeles mansion on a mountain he once referred to as “Bad Boy Hill,” owing to his rowdy neighbours Warren Beatty and the late Marlon Brando.
Nicholson, once a staple in his courtside seats to watch his beloved Los Angeles Lakers basketball team, hasn’t been seen in public in over a year. The last time the 85-year-old was spotted at a game was in October 2021 with his son, Ray — one of his five children.
“He’s made it clear his home is his castle. But people just wish he’d come out of the house and pop up to tell them how — or at least reassure folks he’s OK,” a source told RadarOnline.
“Jack’s in touch with certain relatives — especially Ray, his protege, who he’s so proud of — but his socializing days are long gone,” the insider added.
Friends now worry that Nicholson is heading down the same path as his longtime pal Brando, who turned into a recluse in his later years before his death at age 80 in 2004.
“Brando died a virtual recluse after leading such a colourful life, and Jack’s friends are drawing comparisons,” the source said.
Several insiders intimated that Nicholson could be suffering from dementia, telling the outlet his “mind is gone.”
“Jack and I have been friends for years and he doesn’t leave his house anymore… I think his son and daughter are looking after him now,” a friend said in 2021.
“The Mulholland Drive community is pretty close-knit, and they are all worried about him. Physically he is fine — but his mind is gone. It’s really sad to see such a super talented actor, like Jack, go out this way.”
Nicholson, who made his film debut in the 1958 B-movie The Cry Baby Killer, last appeared onscreen in a supporting role alongside Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd and Owen Wilson in 2010’s How Do You Know.
In 2013, Radar Online reported that Nicholson stepped away from acting due to memory loss.
“Jack has — without fanfare — retired,” an insider told Radar at the time.
“There is a simple reason behind his decision — it’s memory loss. Quite frankly, at 76, Jack has memory issues and can no longer remember the lines being asked of him.”
But Nicholson was quick to shoot down reports that he was quitting Hollywood.
“I have a mathematician’s brain … I’m not going to work until the day I die, that’s not why I started this,” he told the U.K. Sun. “I mean, I’m not driven. I was driven — but I’m not, I don’t have to be out there any more. In fact, there’s part of me that never really liked being out there … You get older, you change.”
After a slow rise, his big breakthrough came with 1969’s Easy Rider, which landed him the first of 12 Academy Awards nominations.
In a 2002 interview with the New York Times to promote his Oscar-nominated role in About Schmidt, Nicholson said by the time that role came around he had almost given up hope that he would ever rise above mediocrity.
”I hadn’t dropped the pose of 10 to 12 years of failure,” he says. ”Like: ‘You can use me or not. I can tell you my credits. I can charm you. But really, I’m the best actor there is in my age group.’ This was the kind of form that I would get myself into when I would get those occasional interviews for jobs. False confidence, but you have to believe a certain amount of it.”
At the time, he also told the newspaper that he had started to take to heart the advice he had long shared with aging actresses who were worried about the lack of acting opportunities.
”’Will you shut up?”’ he said he told them. ”’This is a self-defeating piece of constant public relations that you’re doing. It’s a negative self-hypnotic mantra.’ For the first time, I’m feeling limited by my age in terms of I can’t just play anybody. But the more you talk about this, the more self-fulfilling it is.”
Jack Nicholson explains Hollywood absence
Jack Nicholson admits he’s single and lonely
In 2015, Closer Weekly reported that Nicholson was afraid of “dying alone in that house.”
The legendary lothario, who dated actress Anjelica Huston on and off for 17 years and was married once, was still looking for love.
“I would love that one last romance,” he reportedly said. “But I’m not very realistic about it happening. What I can’t deny is my yearning.”
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