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This Is Why You Never Hear From Jack Nicholson Anymore

Rumors have been swirling about his retirement for years.

You may not have realized it, but it's been 12 years since Jack Nicholson last appeared in a movie. In 2010, the prolific actor starred in the romantic comedy How Do You Know alongside Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson, and Paul Rudd, and hasn't taken on a film role since. But he also hasn't announced an official retirement either—at least not publicly. Yet, reports have come out in recent years that may shed some light onto why he hasn't been acting.

While he's not been working onscreen, the star has been out and about in the decade since his last film. Nicholson made headlines as recently as last fall for one public outing in particular. Read on to learn more about the state of the 84-year-old's career.

RELATED: See Jack Nicholson's Grandson, Who's Following in His Footsteps.

His most recent roles were over a decade ago.

Paul Rudd and Jack Nicholson in "How Do You Know"
Sony Pictures Releasing

Nicholson's most recent movie was in 2010, and before that, he hadn't appeared in a film since 2007—The Bucket List with Morgan Freeman. In 2006, he starred in The Departed. And in 2003, he was in both Anger Management and Something's Gotta Give. Nicholson, who has been nominated for 12 Academy Awards and won three, received his last nomination for the 2002 movie About Schmidt.

There were retirement rumors in 2013.

Jack Nicholson at the 2013 Oscars
Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock

In 2013, Radar Online reported that Nicholson was retiring. "Jack has—without fanfare—retired," a source told the tabloid. "There is a simple reason behind his decision—it's memory loss. Quite frankly, at 76, Jack has memory issues and can no longer remember the lines being asked of him."

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He denied that he was having health problems.

Jack Nicholson at the premiere of "How Do You Know" in 2010
Tinseltown / Shutterstock

After the rumor started to circulate, a source close to Nicholson told NBC News that it was "100% false" and that he was "actively reading scripts" and "looking forward to his next project" (via Digital Spy).

Nicholson also spoke out himself in an interview with The Sun (via The Sydney Morning Herald). "I have a mathematician's brain," he said, but added, "I'm not going to work until the day I die, that's not why I started this. I mean, I'm not driven. I was driven—but I'm not, I don't have to be out there any more." He continued, "The movie business is the greatest business but I only want to do films that move people, films about emotions and people. I had the most chilling thought that maybe people in their twenties and thirties don't actually want to be moved anymore. They may want just to see more bombs, more explosions, because that is what they have grown up with. And I'll never do that type of movie."

A friend and co-star commented on his possible retirement.

Jack Nicholson and Peter Fonda at the 1998 Golden Globe Awards
Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock

Peter Fonda, who starred in Easy Rider with Nicholson, spoke out about the actor possibly retiring in 2017. "I think he is ­basically retired. I don't want to speak for him, but he has done a lot of work and he has done very well as a person financially," Fonda said at a BAFTA event as reported by The Sun (via Page Six). "Sometimes ­people have a reason that you don't know, and it's not for me to ask," Fonda continued. "I don't call him up and say, 'Johnny,' I call him Johnny Hop, 'What are you doing?' I would say, 'How are you, how do you feel?'"

It was reported that he was attached to a new movie.

Jack Nicholson at the 2018 NBA All-Star Game
Kevin Mazur/WireImage via Getty Images

Not long after Fonda said Nicholson was "basically retired," Variety reported that Nicholson was set to star alongside Kristen Wiig in a remake of the German film Toni Erdmann. But, a year later in 2018, The Film Stage reported that Nicholson was no longer involved with the movie. The remake still has not been made.

He hasn't stopped pursuing his favorite hobby.

Jack Nicholson and son Ray at a Lakers game in October 2021
Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

In addition to the big screen, another place Nicholson has been frequently spotted over the years is court-side at Los Angeles Lakers games. And, in October 2021, he made his return to watch his favorite team after nearly two years. As reported by People, Nicholson returned and was joined by his 29-year-old son, Ray Nicholson. Before that, the last time he was seen at a game was in January 2020 prior the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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