He didn’t always want to be an actor, but even as a kid, Jack Nicholson couldn’t resist the movies. The one that made all the difference?
“Brando in ‘On the Waterfront’,” says the three-time Oscar winner. “I was an assistant manager in the theater in New Jersey when it played, so I probably saw it 12 or 15 times. He was the guy of my high school generation.”
It helped that the story of a failed boxer who stands up to the corrupt union bosses took place in Nicholson’s backyard, Hoboken. The starstruck 17-year-old saw the movie in 1954, and shortly thereafter he trekked to Hollywood. “One thing I knew is that I wasn’t going to imitate Marlon Brando or I wouldn’t go anywhere.”