Jack Nicholson Net Worth

How much is Jack Nicholson worth?

Net Worth:$400 Million
Profession:Professional Actor
Date of Birth:April 22, 1937
Country:United States of America
1.77 m

Over several decades, Jack Nicholson delivered one scene-stealing performance after another in some of cinema’s most important films. Nicholson entered Hollywood when the old studio system gave way to counterculture New Hollywood and became its biggest star.

Binge Worthy

About Jack Nicholson

Jack Nicholson is an actor who is known almost as much for the women he dated and his once bad boy lifestyle as he is for the numerous iconic roles under his belt. He has won a closet worth of awards, including three Academy Awards, as well as being nominated 12 times. Nicholson has been in the game since the 1960s and over his long, varied career has proven to be as good at comedy acting as he is at dramatic acting, not that Jack Nicholson ever had anything to prove to anyone.

As of 2021, we estimate Jack Nicholson has a net worth of $400 million dollars.

How did Jack Nicholson get so rich?

In the 80s, Nicholson would cost at least $10 million if you wanted him in your movie, but when negotiating his salary for his role as The Joker in Tim Burton’s Batman, he famously took only $6 million. However, that deal also included a percentage of the film’s box office intake, and a percentage of profits from Batman merchandise, such as toys. It was the most lucrative deal in cinema history.

A deal like that was completely unheard of at the time. The Joker has been portrayed by many different actors on screen, as of now, there have been four actors portray the famous villain on the big screen, and none of them received a salary close to Nicholson’s. The role even had very little dialogue, 585 words to be exact. Nicholson earned more than his co-star Michael Keaton who played the main role, and it is possible that Nicholson has made up to $100 million for playing The Joker alone.

Nicholson’s salary demand managed to remain that high for 20 years. Still demanding $10 million for the Scorsese gangster flick The Departed in 2007. His basic salary reached its highest when he took a $20 million payday for Anger Management starring alongside Adam Sandler. Jack Nicholson and his agent are great at making deals, with few known ventures outside of acting, most of Nicholson’s wealth stems from his salaries from starring in movies such as Mars Attacks!, As Good As It Gets, The Bucket List, and more.

Nicholson also invests in property, as he owns dozens of properties and hundreds of acres of land all over the world. He famously bought Marlon Brando’s house on Mulholland Drive after The Godfather actor’s death only to tear it down and fill the land with flowers.

Nicholson’s Early Years

Born on April 22, 1937 in New York, NY, Nicholson was raised believing his grandparents, Ethel and John, were his parents, while his real mother, June, was his sister – a fact that lay dormant until Time magazine dug into his past in 1974. It turned out that June was a showgirl who became pregnant out of wedlock and wanted to hide her shame.

He grew up in a solid middle class home in suburban New Jersey and attended Manasquan High School, where he was voted class clown. After graduation, he moved to Los Angeles and landed a gopher job at MGM. While taking acting classes, he met Robert Towne, future writer of Chinatown.

Road to Stardom

Nicholson made his film debut in Roger Corman’s low budget crime thriller, Cry Baby Killer, and continued to work with him on The Little Shop of Horrors, The Raven and The Terror. He also wrote the screenplays for Thunder Island and Flight to Fury.

He next wrote Corman’s LSD-fueled cult flick, The Trip, before writing and producing Head, a satirical look at the music industry starring The Monkees.

‘Easy Rider’ and New Hollywood

In 1969, he gained attention as a hard-drinking Southern lawyer in the famed counterculture road movie, Easy Rider. Replacing actor Rip Torn, who allegedly threatened Dennis Hopper with a knife, Nicholson rocketed to stardom with his Academy Award-nominated performance.

Nicholson entered his most fruitful decade with a nuanced turn in the moody drama, Five Easy Pieces, earning another Oscar nomination. He made his directing debut with the basketball-themed Drive, He Said, before delivering another Oscar-worthy turn as the foul-mouthed, cigar-chomping Navy man Billy ‘Badass’ Buddusky in The Last Detail.

Mainstream Success:

Nicholson entered the mainstream with 1974’s Chinatown, director Roman Polanski‘s ode to film noir. His Oscar-nominated portrayal of dogged private eye, Jake Gittes, became his first truly iconic role and launched him to the top of Hollywood’s food chain.

He finally won an Oscar for playing another definitive character, R.P. McMurphy, a rebellious prisoner whose spirit refuses to be crushed in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

A Lull and Return to Form

At the end of the 1970s, Nicholson suffered flops with The Missouri Breaks and Goin’ South, but was back on top in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, chewing the scenery as the murder-minded Jack Torrence.

Nicholson entered the 1980s as an actor whose cocked eyebrows and mugging for the camera became a calling card. He was in top form as a rowdy ex-astronaut who pursues a widowed Shirley MacLaine in Terms of Endearment, which won him a second Oscar.

He was nominated again for his turn as Mafia hit man in John Huston’s crime comedy Prizzi’s Honor and was at his hammy best in The Witches of Eastwick as the mysterious Darrell Van Horn, who uses his strange allure to seduce Michelle Pfeiffer, Susan Sarandon and Cher.

Back on Top

Nicholson pulled all the stops as The Joker in Tim Burton’s blockbuster Batman, only to disappoint fans and critics by directing himself in the Chinatown follow-up, The Two Jakes, a messy production that reportedly caused irreparable harm between him and Robert Towne.

But Nicholson shined in Rob Reiner’s acclaimed drama, A Few Good Men, in which his famed line, “You can’t handle the truth!” helped secured another Academy Award nomination. He followed that sterling performance with the rather muddled biopic, Hoffa.

Press Troubles

While making the disappointing Wolf, Nicholson was in the news for smashing a driver’s windshield with a golf club in a road rage incident, which ran counter to his subdued turn as a father who confronts his daughter’s killer in The Crossing Guard.

Nicholson disappointed again by reprising his Terms of Endearment role for the critically maligned drama The Evening Star. He had dual roles in Burton’s 1950s sci-fi spoof, Mars Attacks!, before playing a would-be jewel thief in the little-seen Blood and Wine.

New Heights

For As Good As It Gets, Nicholson won a third Academy Award for playing an obsessive-compulsive author who falls for Helen Hunt’s single mother waitress. Aside from The Pledge, he remained inactive until he portrayed a retired salesman who goes on a journey of self-discovery in About Schmidt.

Nicholson turned in a tour-de-force performance as a deviant mob boss in Martin Scorsese’s crime saga, The Departed, only to follow with disappointments like The Bucket List and How Do You Know, perhaps setting himself up for one more iconic role.

Nicholson in Private

Nicholson had many romances throughout his career. He was with actress Susan Anspach during Five Easy Pieces, which resulted in son Caleb. Though he reportedly accepted Caleb in private, Nicholson refused to acknowledge him in public.

Prior to that, he fathered daughter Jennifer with wife Sandra Knight after marrying in 1961. He briefly dated Michelle Phillips and had his most lasting relationship with actress Anjelica Huston.

But Nicholson torpedoed that affair when he impregnated model Rebecca Broussard with his second daughter, Lorraine. He raised more eyebrows with his May-December romance with the younger Lara Flynn Boyle in the late 1990s.

Legend Nicholson

A legend of the screen, Jack Nicholson was one of the few New Hollywood stars to maintain his status as a top box office earner into the next millennium. Though he lapsed into theatrics later in his career, Nicholson was always capable of turning in refreshing performances. Along the way, he became one of the most decorated actors at the Academy Awards, earning to date 12 nominations and three wins.

Why is he so famous?

Nicholson grew to fame after starring in in Easy Rider alongside Dennis Hopper, a role that rewarded him with only $329 per week. Nicholson has come a long way since then and has more than made up for the pocket change salary he became accustomed to in the 60s. The success of Easy Rider sky-rocketed Nicholson to A-list status, and he would go on to star in critically acclaimed and hugely financially successful 70s movies such as Five Easy Pieces, Chinatown, and One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, among a barrage of others.

Though Nicholson was never supposed to be in Easy Rider, as it was Rip Torn who was originally cast. If it wasn’t for a knife fight that erupted between Torn and Easy Rider writer, director, and star, Dennis Hopper, Nicholson may never have made it to the legend status that he is today.

The on-set behavior of Jack Nicholson and his ability to ad-lib and improvise so easily is what the actor has become known for. You can see in behind the scenes footage of the making of The Shining, the 1980 horror movie directed by Stanley Kubrick, that when Nicholson was getting into character during the axe scene, he almost hit a crew member with the real axe, but it never phased Nicholson one bit.

The most legendary ad-lib of all time features in The Shining, which is Nicholson’s exclamation, “Here’s Johnny!” as his character, Jack Torrance, psychotically axes down a door. Many people don’t know that the line was not in the script and it was completely improvised. Nicholson also improvised the famous line, “You Can’t Handle The Truth!” featured in A Few Good Men .

Nicholson reportedly has quite a temper, but it’s something that people work around due to his stature as one of Hollywood’s most elite actors. It makes you wonder how much he was actually acting in the Adam Sandler movie, Anger Management.

What makes him so successful?

Very few actors work so hard as Jack Nicholson did, he is completely dedicated to every role he takes. So dedicated that in order to feel comfortable being nude on screen, he didn’t where clothes at home for months, and that included when anybody visited him.

As mentioned, a lot of the infamous scenes in Jack Nicholson’s movies are improvised. In The Departed, a movie in which Nicholson plays a truly sinister Boston mob boss, there is a scene in which his character is questioning Leonardo DiCaprio’s character about whether or not he is working with the police, and then goes on to infamously impersonate a rat, which was all completely improvised.

Jack Nicholson was 73 years old when his last film was released in theaters and leading right up to his retirement, he was still characteristically Jack Nicholson. Whether he was mocking himself about how he once smashed up a car with a golf club, or he’s yelling at the opposing team at a Lakers game, people fell in love with Nicholson’s bad boy charm and Nicholson as a person, not just as an actor, even if he wasn’t always completely moral.


From the late-1960 through the end of the next decade, Nicholson played his most iconic roles. His personal life was as colorful as the edgy men he portrayed on screen, which earned some bad press, though all he had to do was cock an eyebrow, flash a wide grin and just be Jack.

Not only is he famous for being an excellent actor, he is also incredibly wealthy. You don’t buy Marlon Brando’s $5 million Mulholland Drive mansion just to tear it down without having a bit of savings. Jack Nicholson is estimated to be worth a jaw dropping $400 million. It is heavily rumored that Jack Nicholson has retired, and though Nicholson himself says he is not retired, the fact is that he hasn’t starred in a movie since 2010. But it isn’t like he needs to, he has a over 50 years of iconic characters that will be remembered forever and he has enough money that would last for several lifetimes.

What do you think?

3k Points
Upvote Downvote

Written by MoneyNet

MoneyNet is the team behind the research and fact-checking of our net worth listings. We strive to provide the most up-to-date listings of the wealthiest people in the world from a wide range of industries and professions. If you have a tip, or think that we have something factually incorrect, then please let us know. Aside from that, enjoy learning everything there is to know about the rich and famous.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Clint Eastwood Net Worth

Martin Lawrence Net Worth