There are plenty of famous actors, but few are in the same movie star stratosphere as Jack Nicholson. The man has been the embodiment of a movie star in every way since the late 1960s. He hasn’t made a movie since 2010’s snooze-fest How Do You Know, and he may have announced his retirement from acting last year — but he has NOT retired from creepin’ on young actresses. God bless him.
The man can lay claim to plenty of iconic roles, but there are still a few that got away. In acknowledgment of his 77th birthday, I’ve pulled ten roles that passed Jack by for one reason or another.
1. The Graduate (1967) — Nicholson was considered for the part of Benjamin Braddock, but Dustin Hoffman got the part.
2. The Godfather (1972) — Nicholson was offered the part of Michael Corleone in Francis Ford Coppola’s mafia trilogy, but the role ended up making Al Pacino a star instead.
3. The Exorcist (1973) — He was considered for the role of Father Karras, but the part ultimately went to actor Jason Miller.
4. Taxi Driver (1976) — Nicholson was offered the lead part of psycho taxi driver Travis Bickle, but turned it down and the part went to Robert De Niro.
5. Apocalypse Now (1979) — Nicholson was offered the role of Capt. Willard in the military masterpiece, but passed and the part went to Martin Sheen.
6. Hoosiers (1986) — Jack Nicholson was interested in playing the part of Coach Norman Dale, but was busy at the time and asked producers to wait until the following year. They didn’t, and Gene Hackman took the role.
7. Rain Man (1988) — Another role that Nicholson lost to Dustin Hoffman was the idiot savant, Raymond.
8. Misery (1990) — Before James Caan took the part of author Paul Sheldon, Jack Nicholson was considered for the part.
9. Nixon (1995) — Nicholson was in talks to play the part of the former president, but British actor Anthony Hopkins landed the part.
10. Bad Santa (2003) — Jack Nicholson was offered the lead role, but was already committed to Something’s Gotta Give at the time and Billy Bob Thornton got the part.