Three-time Academy Award-winner Jack Nicholson will wave the green flag at the 94th running of the Indianapolis 500.
Jack Nicholson became a true star in the 1969 counterculture classic “Easy Rider,” in which he starred with Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda and earned his first of 12 Academy Award nominations. - Associated Press
I was particularly proud of my performance as the Joker. I considered it a piece of pop art.
My motto is: more good times.
A question you always ask in acting is, Where were you going if this scene didn't interrupt the movements of the character?
"You're new here, aren't you?" Nicholson, who rarely is seen in public without his sunglasses, replied when asked by a photographer to take off his glasses for a photo.
There's a period just before you start a movie when you start thinking, I don't know what in the world I'm going to do. It's free-floating anxiety. In my case, though, this is over by lunch the first day of shooting.
"I don't think it's too much to say that he is probably one of the top 10 stars in Hollywood. Jack Nicholson is a star that other stars will stop and gawk at," said Carlos Diaz, a nationally-syndicated radio host who formerly served as a correspondent for "Extra."
"I've sat with the biggest stars in the world," said Diaz, who is from Greenwood and will host 500-related parties this weekend in Indianapolis. "If Jack Nicholson walks into the room, everyone stops."
IndyCar Series CEO Randy Bernard is pleased.
"I think its great to have Jack attending an event," said Bernard. "He is one of America's favorite movie stars. It's always great to have celebrities that have huge fan bases attend this race."
Nicholson, a New Jersey native who headed to Southern California at age 17, appeared in and wrote several films in the 1960s but became an instant superstar with the 1969 counterculture classic "Easy Rider," in which he starred with Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda and earned his first of 12 Academy Award nominations, according to the movie web site, IMDB.com.
Nicholson's newest film, "How Do You Know," will be released this fall.
The actor won't be the only star on hand to help start what's known as Indianapolis' "Greatest Spectacle in Racing" this year.
Andretti Autosport's Michael Andretti will take actor Mark Wahlberg, star of "Boogie Nights" and "The Departed," on the track in a custom-built two-passenger Indy car to start the race.
Andretti will be the first driver zipping around Indianapolis Motor Speedway during Sunday's Indianapolis 500.
It will be the first time a custom-built two-passenger Indy car will be on the track when the green flag waves.
They expect to reach 200 mph in the Izod-sponsored car and approach the back of the 33-car field as those drivers start the race. That's when Andretti will pit.
"My career has taken me down many amazing roads, but nothing compares to this," Wahlberg said in an IMS statement.
Mario Andretti will be in radio communication with his son and Wahlberg. Mario also will be keeping tabs on his grandson, Marco, who starts 16th in the race, and his nephew, John, who starts 28th.