Today In History: Jack Nicholson Destroys Stranger’s Car
Jack Nicholson isn’t the kind of guy whose bad side you want to be on. He proved this back in 1994, when his road rage boiled over into actual violence.
Nicholson, 56 at the time, was infuriated when he thought a man named Robert Blank cut him off in traffic in Los Angeles. They came to a red light, and Nicholson exited his car to take issue with Blank.
Nicholson aired his grievances and then elaborated by taking a golf club to Blank’s Mercedes-Benz. Blank claimed that Nicholson smashed his windshield and dented his roof with the club, a story corroborated by a witness.
Blank filed misdemeanor charges against Nicholson for assault and vandalism. A contrite Nicholson apologized and settled with Blank out of court. The exact amount of the settlement is unknown, but it was allegedly $500,000.
Nicholson later called it “a shameful incident in my life” during a Us Magazine interview. He further elaborated, saying that he was stressed out about shooting the movie he was working on (The Crossing Guard) and was coping with the recent death of a friend. He also pointed to symmetry between the situation and the subject matter of the movie, in which he played a revenge-driven father of a drunk driving victim.
Later, in a 2007 interview with Golf Digest, Nicholson cleared up a matter of speculation that had been circulating since the incident – what kind of iron he actually used. “I was on my way to the course, and in the midst of this madness I somehow knew what I was doing, because I reached into my trunk and specifically selected a club I never used on the course: my two-iron.”
Nicholson actually has a reputation for rage incidents, and not just for the windshield fiasco. He’s also known for being unruly during Lakers games, where he uses his courtside seats to scream at referees when they make calls he doesn’t like.