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Nicholson’s late-night discovery: men can sleep alone

Los Angeles, Dec. 11: Age has finally caught up with Jack Nicholson, the Hollywood actor once described by Kim Basinger as “the most highly sexed individual I have ever met”.

Rarely pictured without a glamorous woman on his arm, Nicholson — now officially a pensioner — professes to spend most of his nights alone.

And he wonders out loud whether, instead of spending most of his spare time pursuing the opposite sex, he would have been happier staying married to the same woman.

But fans who watched his seduction technique in The Postman Always Rings Twice and The Witches of Eastwick will wonder whether this is not Nicholson just having a little bit of fun at the expense of his interviewer.

“I’m a different guy here in my 60s,” the 65-year-old claims in an interview in Newsweek magazine. “I don’t have the same libido.

“It used to be that I didn’t think I could go to sleep if I wasn’t involved in some kind of amorous contact or another. Well, I spend a lot of times sleeping alone these days. That’s different. And very liberating. “It wasn’t until the last few years that I became completely comfortable with it. But my fear is that I’m beginning to prefer it.”

He continued: “I can’t work on a movie for 12, 14 hours a day, then go out and burn the streets to the ground all night and get wild. I don’t have the energy for it.”

The concept of the actor, with his trademark lecherous smile, preferring to spend his nights alone in his Los Angeles mansion will come as a shock to the legion of women who have known him.

Such was his reputed animal magnetism that Cher said of her friend: “The thing about Jack is that he likes women more than any man I’ve ever known.”

He has dated Rachel Ward, Candice Bergen and Joni Mitchell. He had two children in his early 50s with a woman 30 years his junior and at 57 he had a third child with a 21-year-old waitress.

Earlier this month, Jack Nicholson was among five artistic legends who were honoured by US President George Bush. Actress Julie Andrews, pianist Van Cliburn, music maestro Quincy Jones, actor Jack Nicholson and opera singer Luciano Pavarotti received the Kennedy Center Honours for their contributions to American culture.

“The recipients for 2001 make quite a collection. ... As one newspaper put it in the headline, this year’s honourees can carry a tune and then there’s Jack,” Bush told them at a White House reception before the gala.

“Perhaps it's a nice change that none of you will be called on to perform. This is an evening for appreciation, for looking back at all you’ve achieved and for the part you continue to play in our national life,” he added.

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