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The Tao of Jack Nicholson: Icon on Love, Sex, Movies

Celebrating the 80-year-old movie icon’s words of wisdom on acting, love, sex and the necessity of a good pair of sunglasses

The Tao of Jack Nicholson best quotes from Rolling Stone features

In honor of Jack Nicholson's 80th birthday, we celebrate the movie icon's legacy with a gallery of Rolling Stone pics and our favorite Jack quotes.

Matthew Rolston for Rolling Stone

Hollywood Lothario, Oscar-winner, character actor, cinematic icon, the coolest man on Muholland Drive – over the years, Jack Nicholson has been all of these things and more. The man behind Randall McMurphy, Jack Torrance, Jake Gittes and oh-so-many other unforgettable angry young men and roaring lions in winters turned 80 years old over the weekend, and we’re celebrating with a gallery of his standout Rolling Stone covers and photo shoots. And just for kicks – because we do know Jack – we’ve collected a handful of his more memorable words of wisdom (some from our numerous cover stories, others from a variety of outside sources) on everything from how to survive six decades in the spotlight to his thoughts on death, sex, love and regret.

Jack on Our Decemeber 1975 Cover

“It is a slight stretch of the imagination,
but most people are alike in most ways. I never have any trouble
identifying with a character that I’m playing.”-Film Monthly

‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ Feature Spread

“If men are honest, everything they do and everywhere they went was for a chance to see women. A lot of me being an actor was about that, and about me.”–The Sun

Albert Watson for Rolling Stone

Jack on Our April 1981 Cover

“My religion basically is to be immediate, to live in the now. It’s an old cliche, I know, but it’s mine.”–Esquire

Albert Watson for Rolling Stone

Jack in New York City, 1981

“It’s not that sex is the primary element of the universe…It’s just that when it’s unfulfilled, it will affect you.”–Playboy

Richard Avedon for Rolling Stone

The World’s Most Die-Hard Lakers Fan, 1984

“You only lie to two people in your life: your girlfriend and the police. Everybody else you tell the truth to.”–Vanity Fair

Herb Ritts for Rolling Stone

Jack on Our August 1986 Cover

“I’ve directed actors who have never acted before in a movie, and what I
learned to give them is …’If you get an impulse in a scene, no matter how
wrong it seems, follow the impulse.'”–Rolling Stone

Herb Ritts for Rolling Stone

Jack Keeping Cool, 1986

“I know an awful lot about film making and I also know less is more. And
that a lot of things you learn, you have to forget about so that it’s
fresh now.”–New York Times

Herb Ritts for Rolling Stone

The Man With the Mouth, December 1987

[On his character in As Good As It Gets] “There’s that one-up part of the New York patois: Accuse me of being an
anti-Semite and I’m going to be Adolf Hitler, you know what I mean?”–Rolling Stone

Albert Watson for Rolling Stone

Jack on Our March 1998 Cover

“With my sunglasses on, I’m Jack Nicholson. Without them, I’m fat and 60.”–quoted in Hello magazine

Matthew Rolston for Rolling Stone

Jack on Our October 2006 Cover

“I’m unattached for quite a while so I have varied company. In terms of
age, you could say that over the last year, I’ve probably covered the
territory from twenty-one to sixty-one.”–Rolling Stone

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