Jack Nicholson

Nicholson in 2010, Featureflash / Shutterstock.com

Birth Name: John Joseph Nicholson

Place of Birth: New York City, New York, U.S.

Date of Birth: April 22, 1937

*mother – Irish, with smaller amounts of Scottish, English, Pennsylvania Dutch/German, Welsh
*biological father – unknown: either Italian, or Latvian, or Ashkenazi Jewish, or Baltic German

Jack Nicholson is an American actor, writer, director, and producer. He has won the Academy Award for Best Actor, twice, for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) and As Good as It Gets (1997), and the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for Terms of Endearment (1983).

He was raised in the Catholic faith.

His mother, June Frances (Nicholson), was of Irish, and smaller amounts of Scottish, English, Pennsylvania Dutch (German), and Welsh, descent.

Jack Nicholson was raised believing that his maternal grandparents were his parents. The identity of Jack’s father is not confirmed, and Jack has chosen not to take a DNA test to find out his paternal background. There are two possible fathers. One, Donald Furcillo, was of Italian descent. The other, Edgar Alfred Kirschfeld/Kirschfeldt (or Kirsfeld), a bandleader, was a Latvian immigrant, from the city Liepāja; Edgar was possibly born Jewish, although he practiced the Episcopalian religion in the United States. Edgar’s mother’s name was Otilia.

Jack has at least four children, a daughter with his former wife, actress, painter, and writer Sandra Knight; a daughter with his former partner, Danish model Winnie Hollman; and two children with his former partner, actress Rebecca Broussard.

Jack’s maternal grandfather was John Joseph Nicholson (the son of Joseph J. Nicholson and Ella/Ellen Lynch). Jack’s grandfather John was born in New York, to Irish parents. Joseph was the son of Joseph J. Nicholson and Bridget Derrig, who was likely from County Mayo. Jack’s great-grandmother Ella was born in Cork, the daughter of Timothy Lynch and Mary Mahoney.

Jack’s maternal grandmother was Ethel May Rhoads (the daughter of William Jakel Rhoads/Rhoades and Mary Alice Wilkinson). Ethel was born in Pennsylvania. William was the son of Alfred Cook Rhoads/Rhoades, whose father was English, and of Margaret Blanche Jakels. Mary Alice was the daughter of Joseph John Wilkinson, whose parents were English, and of Ellen Harper, who was born in Pennsylvania, to a Scottish father.

Sources: Genealogy of Jack Nicholson – https://www.geni.com

Jack Nicholson on the 1940 U.S. Census – https://www.familysearch.org

Genealogy of Jack Nicholson (focusing on his mother’s side) – https://www.wikitree.com

Genealogy of Jack’s mother – http://worldconnect.rootsweb.ancestry.com

Jack’s mother on the 1920 U.S. Census – https://www.familysearch.org
Jack’s mother on the 1930 U.S. Census – https://www.familysearch.org

Genealogy of Jack’s mother (focusing on her father’s side) – http://worldconnect.rootsweb.ancestry.com

Jack’s maternal grandfather, John Joseph Nicholson, on the 1910 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org

Marriage record of Jack’s maternal grandparents, Joseph J. Nicholson and Ella/Ellen Lynch – https://familysearch.org

Jack’s maternal great-grandmother, Mary Alice Wilkinson, on the 1880 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org

Adherents.com material on Jack’s religious and family background – http://www.adherents.com


Curious about ethnicity

53 Responses

  1. ses101 says:

    Nicholson is a Scottish name, if that is his real name he certainly has Scottish roots.

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