Is Jack Nicholson really going to retire from acting, or is he just putting us on?
According to reports in Radar Online and Star magazine, the 76-year-old Nicholson has retired, and for a simple reason: "It's memory loss," an unnamed source told Radar. "Quite frankly, at 76, Jack has memory issues and can no longer remember the lines being asked of him."
Best known for his screen roles in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, The Shining and Chinatown, Nicholson hasn't appeared on screen since the 2010 romantic comedy How Do You Know. So far Nicholson's agent and lawyer haven't responded to press requests for confirmation or denial of the retirement reports.
Over a career spanning five decades, Nicholson received a dozen Oscar nominations and won Best Actor twice, for Cuckoo's Nest in 1976 and As Good As It Gets in 1998. He also won Best Supporting Actor in 1984 for Terms of Endearment.
Talking to Esquire magazine earlier this year, Nicholson said that because he was "such a perfectionist," he has never really been satisfied with his acting career.
"I take responsibility for my successes as well as my failures. But when I look at my professional mistakes, I'm always left with the feeling that maybe I should have done more," said Nicholson.
One thing's for certain: Nicholson isn't working as much as he used to.
Hollywood scuttlebutt says the producers of the upcoming film Nebraska tried to convince Nicholson to take on the lead role of an alcoholic father who makes the trip from Montana to Nebraska with his estranged son to pick up a lottery prize. Nicholson is said to have turned down the part, which eventually went to Bruce Dern.
Two years ago, Nicholson was reportedly in talks to star in the film The Golden Age, in which he would team with fellow elder actors Clint Eastwood and Warren Beatty to play a trio of retired superheroes. The movie never materialized.
The same Radar source said Nicholson plans to back away from acting "without fanfare" and would still be using his courtside seats at Los Angeles Lakers games.
But is the man with the golden grin really going to step down? Nicholson is famous for his wicked sense of humour and loves the spotlight. He gleefully photo-bombed Ben Affleck and his Oscar-winning Argo collaborators at last year's Academy Awards. The man loves the spotlight.
Another source said to be close to Nicholson was reported to have told NBC News that the retirement rumours were simply untrue and that Nicholson would continue considering scripts.