Jack Nicholson Retirement Talk Tells Bigger Tale: Hollywood's Movie Star Deficit

At 76, Jack Nicholson is no longer at the top of every film producer's wish list.

It's "Get me Gosling ... or Pitt ... or Denzel."

Yet news that the acting icon could have quietly retired due to memory loss concerns, a fact disputed by E! News today, still lit a fire under film fans.

No more Jack? Say it ain't so.

Either way, Nicholson's future plans point to a bigger issue--the dearth of bankable, beloved movie stars in modern Hollywood.

Yes, Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling and Denzel Washington still matter, and their gifts shouldn't be dismissed. Yet there's something about Jack that other actors can't possible replicate.

Today's leading men appear on late night shows, daytime chat fests and magazine covers. They're over-exposed by design for marketing purposes. We know everything about them, from their favorite yoga positions to their preferred political candidates. There's no mystery, and often a lack of connection and trust, between actor and audience.

Some don't just talk politics. They rub it in the ticket buyers' faces. How many stars insult roughly half their audience with their ideological rhetoric?

Nicholson's politics are left of center but not brazenly so. Simply mention the name "Jack" and politics is likely the 32nd topic that comes to mind. He also decided long ago not to be a fixture on The Tonight Show couch, a decision that enhanced his persona. He remains a mystery we'll never solve.

Nicholson is a handsome gent but hardly in a metrosexual manner. He's a man's man on screen, and even when he flashes his tender side one raised eyebrow reminds us the devil lurks not too far from the surface. That sense of danger is missing in many male actors today, regardless of all the iron they pump to prep for a part.

So let's hope either the retirement story is untrue or Nicholson decides to keep on acting even if he has the occasional senior moment on the set. Movie goers still need Jack because there is no one around to replace him.


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