Jack Nicholson is in trouble

AT 84, One of the greatest actors of our time is playing out his last scene, shut away in his Beverly Hills home with dementia.

When the scene fades to black, Jack will live on. More than 60 movies over half a century, including 12 Academy Award nominations — the most for a male actor in Academy history. He won Best Actor three times, for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in 1976, Terms of Endearment in 1984, and As Good As It Gets in 1998.

Jack Nicholson has dementia.

Jack Nicholson has dementia.

One of his best films is Five Easy Pieces, the 1970 classic of the disillusioned misfit, the outsider, the guy who doesn’t fit in anywhere, and in the end says Fuckit and leaves his life behind in a highway rest stop.

Director Bob Rafelson made the picture for under $2-million and it earned more than $18-million at the box office.

Five Easy Pieces spoke to so many of us at that time in history and in our lives.

Demntia
Moment of truth time in ‘Five Easy Pieces.’

The 1960s was a decade of assassinations — JFK in 1963, and Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King in 1968 — the Vietnam War, bloody protest and revolution, and to cap it off, the Manson slaughter in 1969 of beautiful young actress Sharon Tate and six others.

We all wanted out of the ‘60s. We wanted a new decade. And the 1970s lived up to our hopes. Nixon resigned in 1974, the Vietnam War ended in 1975, and we all partied wild and free in a decade of sex, drugs and some of the best music we ever heard.

FIVE EASY PIECES

Bobby Dupea, Jack’s character in Five Easy Pieces wanted out of the ‘60s too, out of his life, out of his relationship with the neurotic, tedious Rayette, played by Karen Black.

Bobby was a piano prodigy raised in a privileged family in the Pacific Northwest but he chucked it all away to see the world. He ended up working on an oil rig in California. When he learns his father has had a stroke he and Rayette drive north to visit his family.

There, in the midst of his past, his disillusionment with life become quietly unbearable.

FIVE EASY PIECES

On the drive back, Bobby stops for gas at a rest stop. Rayette goes into the cafe to get some snacks. Bobby goes into the men’s room. He looks at himself in the mirror, decides he can’t live this life any more. It’s fuckit time. He leaves his jacket in the men’s room, goes outside and hitches a ride north on a logging truck, leaving Rayette behind.

Just about all of us have wanted to bug out like that at one time or another — just leave your jacket and ID and tiresome girlfriend behind and hitch a ride to a new life.

Now Jack in real life appears to be coming to the end, but it’s been one hell of a ride.


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Cops bust risqué actress — and Mae West’s career is born

Remembering the “Come up and see me sometime” vamp of yesteryear

The sex superstar of the 1930s started out writing her own risqué plays. Her first starring role on Broadway was in ’Sex,’ a 1926 play she wrote, produced, and directed.

Is that a gun in your pocket....

Puritanical critics panned the show, but the public loved it. Religious groups were the loudest critics and their complaints prompted the cops to raid the theater. Mae West and the cast were arrested.

Mae was prosecuted on morals charges, and on April 19, 1927, was sentenced to 10 days for “corrupting the morals of youth.” She could have paid a fine and gone free, but she chose the jail sentence for the publicity.

Mae West‘s first starring role

Mae served eight days of her sentence. She is shown below leaving the West 47th Street police station. (Photo/New York Daily News)

Mae West‘s first starring role

Mae West bucked the system, making comedy out of conventional mores, and the Depression-era audience admired her for it. When her cinematic career ended, she wrote books and plays and continued to perform in Las Vegas and in the UK, on radio and television, and she recorded rock and roll albums.

She was born on August 17, 1893, in Brooklyn, N.Y. Her father was a prizefighter known as ‘Battlin’ Jack West’ who later worked as a ‘special policeman’ and then became a private investigator. Her mother Mathilda modeled corsets.

Mae West introduced her Diamond Lil character in the 1933 film ‘She Done Him Wrong’ co-staring Cary Grant in one of his first major roles.

She became one of the biggest box office stars in America, and two years later, the highest paid woman and the second-highest paid person in the U.S., after publisher William Randolph Hearst.

The American Film Institute named her 15th among the greatest female stars of classic American cinema.

She died on November 22, 198O, at her home, Apartment 611 at the Ravenswood Apartments on 570 North Rossmore Avenue in Hollywood. She was 88.

MAE WEST NO. 611

Mae West was entombed at Cypress Hills Cemetery along with her parents and brother John in her hometown of Brooklyn, N.Y. Her younger sister Beverly was entombed there a year later.


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