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Nicholson: A Biography Paperback – October 28, 2014

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Candice Bergen and Jack in a scene from Carnal Knowledge
Candice Bergen and Jack in a scene from Carnal Knowledge

Courtesy of Rebel Road Archives

Jack and Maria Schneider in Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1975 release, The Passenger, a Hitchcock-flavored man in search of his own identity.
Jack and Maria Schneider in Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1975 release, The Passenger, a Hitchcock-flavored man in search of his own identity.

Courtesy of Rebel Road Archives

Kathleen Turner and Jack Nicholson as loving killers killing lovers in John Huston’s endlessly entertaining Prizzi’s Honor.
Kathleen Turner and Jack Nicholson as loving killers killing lovers in John Huston’s endlessly entertaining Prizzi’s Honor.

Courtesy of Rebel Road Archives

Chinatown
Chinatown

Courtesy of Rebel Road Archives

One Flew Over the Cuckoo
The highlight of Jack’s 1975 run, Miloš Forman’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The film was the first in forty-one years to win all four major Oscars. The recipients, left to right: producer Michael Douglas, director Miloš Forman, actress Louise Fletcher, Jack, producer Saul Zaentz.

Courtesy of Rebel Road Archives

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

"Unless Nicholson writes his own...this might be as good as we get."
People
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press; Reprint edition (October 28, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 030788838X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307888389
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,220,259 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Marc Eliot is the New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen books on popular culture, among them the highly acclaimed biography Cary Grant, the award-winning Walt Disney: Hollywood's Dark Prince, and most recently American Rebel: The Life of Clint Eastwood, plus the music biographies Down Thunder Road: The Making of Bruce Springsteen, To the Limit: The Untold Story of the Eagles, and Death of a Rebel about Phil Ochs. He has been featured in many documentaries about film and music and has written on the media and popular culture for numerous publications. He divides his time among New York City; Woodstock, New York; and Los Angeles. Visit him at marceliot.net.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Richard Masloski on November 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I was very excited when I heard there was a new bio of Jack Nicholson just released. But once I saw who the author was, I wasn't excited anymore.

One might ask "Why?" Well, Marc Eliot's previous take on the life and times of Steve McQueen was laden with errors of fact and misinterpretation. My review of that 2011 book is here on Amazon.

But perhaps, one might say, an author learns from their mistakes? Well, I was just in my local B&N and thumbed through a copy of Eliot's latest. It is a very short book, by-the-way, for such a storied life that covers 76 years. Anyway, right off early on in the book on page 38 I learned that in 1963 Nicholson was "working on but not acting in Roger Corman's THE RAVEN, often incorrectly remembered as Jack's debut film."

The trouble is Nicholson did star in THE RAVEN. Talk about something being "incorrectly remembered"!

The overwhelming question therefore is: why can't this author accurately research what he is writing about? I see from several reviews of his many other celebrity biographies that Eliot has a track record of factual inaccuracies and contextual misunderstandings.

I will flip through the book - as opposed to buying it! - whenever I am in B&N and report all errors I come across here on this post for those on the fence as to whether to buy or not buy Eliot's latest endeavor.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By sooz-a-ma-gooz on December 6, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
And maybe he should but such glaring errors as naming Jennifer as Jack and Rebecca Broussards daughter was astounding. She was Jack's first daughter with first wife Sandra Knight as covered in multiple chapters before the error. I agree with another reviewer about the sloppy facts. Also, some of the details about Jack's love affairs came across as if Eliot was writing his own script right out of the National Enquirer....right Marc......and where did you get those facts. I found the book too focused on the deals and the Hollywood machine. Also, we never really get to see the intimacy of his male relationships ,I.e. Bob Evans, Warren Beatty, John Huston...important people in his generous life.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Wayne Courtois on December 21, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What a horrible book this is. Supposedly the author has published 24 books prior to this one, and I can only think the others must be much better.

I've never seen sloppier writing. Sentence fragments, vague or missing antecedents, poor subject/verb agreement, sentences that don't make sense...every possible mechanical error is here. And while it's one thing for an author to care nothing about presenting his work in a readable manner, where was the publisher in all this? Is there no such thing as copyediting anymore?

Unfortunately, the content of the book isn't much better than the presentation. We don't learn anything more about Nicholson than what the mass media have already shown us. We see the pussy-hound, drug user, and narcissist; but where is Nicholson the artist, who has to exist somewhere underneath all the muck? Or is there really nothing there? I prefer to think that there is something there, and that Nicholson deserves better.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By CPerc on December 28, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This book is written very poorly. Unbelievable to think that someone actually edited this mess and published this trash. It is fragmented in many areas but is mostly a run-on sentence of irrelevant names and obscure relationships. It is a complete bore. Do not waste your money. I would have given it zero stars but it is not an option.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By J Clancy on October 29, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I became a fan of Mr. Eliot after reading his Michael Douglas biography and have since gone back and read his earlier works on Phil Ochs (fantastic), Cary Grant, Clint Eastwood, and others. I find his strongest attribute is not only writing about the person but also about the world that person lived in. Jack Nicholson is no exception.

Nicholson has lived an incredible life with a career that spans over five decades and Eliot makes each one interesting and accessible. I highly recommend this book for its story of one of the most iconic actors in Hollywood.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By april wright on January 4, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was a very disappointing bio of a very lively individual. The author seems to have simply read Nicholson's CV & then writes the story of the movie scripts he either did or didn't appear in
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By G.I Gurdjieff TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 25, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Part biography and part analysis of the actor's film career, this works only really works when analyzing Nicholson's now very long life in film and the parts he has played.
Much like Eliot's previous book on actor Steve McQueen,what might have been an interesting life story loses momentum early on. The teaser, Nicholson's true parentage which is somewhat a story within a story, is handled poorly in bits and pieces tossed into the narrative and never fully developed. Additionally, Eliot's credibility is suspect when he screws up on known facts such as Rebecca Broussard being Jennifer Nicholson's mother. Hey, didn't he spend many pages back describing Nicholson's first and only marriage to actress Sandra Knight and the birth of their daughter Jennifer Nicholson? More goofy stuff reigns as he determines that sister/birth mother June Nicholson/Nilson married the supposed birth father Don Furillo-Rose in a shotgun secret wedding only to leave him shortly after when she found of he was already married with a child and therefore a bigamist. And of course, this makes June a bigamist too when she marries a guy named Hawley without being divorced from bigamist Furillo-Rose. I could go on about this, but it is too odd to bother.
Facts aside, this book isn't very well structured. Eliot goes off topic too much and didn't hold my interest which is this book's real offense.
Far as I am concerned Eliot is only nominally better than a guy I refer to as the biographer from hell who fabricates a lot of his facts to crank out a book. This was not a satisfying read. However, I read a promotional copy so the only thing I was out was my time.
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