Skip to main content

As actor Jack Nicholson has gotten older, his perspective on life has changed a bit from his younger years. This perspective once even affected his performance in one of his films. While starring in Something’s Gotta Give, for instance, Nicholson found himself doing a scene that left him absolutely terrified because of his age.

How Jack Nicholson fought his old age

Jack Nicholson sitting down while wearing sunglasses and a suit.
Jack Nicholson | Munawar Hosain/Fotos /Getty Images

In an interview with Playboy, Nicholson once shared how he dealt with getting older. For Nicholson, aging meant that he preferred staying inside to going out, lacking the energy to do so.

“Getting older, I don’t go out as much as I used to. It’s not that I do or don’t like the music any more or any less. What got me out there ain’t getting me out there now. I still like jazz, but I ain’t going out to listen to it now,” he said.

Nicholson confided that he practiced yoga every morning to help combat the effects of aging. It was a revelation that he knew others wouldn’t expect from The Anger Management star.

“Yeah, but it’s fighting back. After 20 years in a row of waking up and looking over and saying, ‘Well, I’m not going to go work out today. I’ll try tomorrow.’ It eventually sinks in. Yoga kicks me over at the beginning of that day. I want to have a realistic view of myself. I’m not ever probably going to know where the world is, but I like to know where I am,” he said. “There’s always that whispering voice in your head that you don’t always want to listen to. However, it’s pretty much a source of your integrity and truth. I’d like to hear it as well as possible.”

Jack Nicholson found his heart attack scene in ‘Something’s Gotta Give’ terrifying due to his age

In the romantic comedy Something’s Gotta Give, Nicholson finds himself playing an elderly womanizer currently in a relationship with his younger girlfriend. But after experiencing a heart attack, his perspective on love changes, and he finds himself falling for the mother of his girlfriend played by Diane Keaton.

Because he’s older, Nicholson opened up about the challenges of acting out his heart attack scene.

“Lying on the ground I was very vulnerable. The minute I laid down on the gurney and looked up at Keanu [Reeves, who plays the ER doctor], I knew where I was at,” Nicholson said. “You know what I’m saying. One of the things I don’t like to do at my tender age is to be portrayed as a beached whale lying on the ground, and that’s exactly what I do in the new movie. Lying there—vulnerable, exposed, helpless–represents everything dropping away, and it’s terrifying.”

It also left The Shinning star reflecting on his own mortality.

“Nothing is more pulverizing in life than a brush with the grim reaper. I’m kind of a fraidy cat in that way anyway. I wouldn’t quite call myself a hypochondriac, but I’ve had moments of feeling a lump under my arm and thinking I’m going to vomit and pass out in the shower. When people of your own generational group begin to appear in obituaries, you sweat,” he said.

Jack Nicholson planned on taking a break from acting because he didn’t want to work until he died


‘The Shining’: Jack Nicholson Ad-Libbed the Famous ‘Here’s Johnny!’ Line — Here’s Why

Jack Nicholson recently opened up about his decision to take a step back from Hollywood’s spotlight. Although the Oscar-winner asserted that aging has contributed to his decision, it wasn’t because of memory issues as other reports suggested. Instead, this came about from a lack of drive.

“I have a mathematician’s brain…I’m not going to work until the day I die, that’s not why I started this. I mean, I’m not driven. I was driven – but I’m not, I don’t have to be out there anymore,” he once told The Sun (via Sydney Morning Herald). “In fact, there’s a part of me that never really liked being out there…You get older, you change.”