The moment Jack Nicholson allegedly offered HRH Princess Margaret a bump of cocaine
As we celebrate the acclaimed actor and antics-lover Jack Nicholson’s 83rd birthday we’re reminded of how he has grown old both gracefully and disgracefully—always adding a particular poise to his work both on and off the set.
Nicholson has never been afraid of discussing his penchant for drugs but one moment would almost cost the Hollywood star his neck as, when introduced to British royalty, Nicholson allegedly offered Princess Margaret some cocaine.
The Hollywood A-lister has always managed to the toe the line between graceful and disgraceful. His ability to be entirely open about his relationships both with the women and drugs has given him a Buddhist Zen-like glow. It’s enchanting, if not a little repulsive. The actor even once shared a boat trip in which he was open about his drug use with his children.
Telling People Magazine: “Last year on a raft trip I had a little flavour of the season—peach mescaline—but it was not like the hallucinatory state of the ’60s. This was just kind of sunny. I don’t advocate anything for anybody. But I choose always to be candid because I don’t like the closet atmosphere of drugging. In other words, it ain’t no big thing. You can wreck yourself with it, but Christ, you can wreck yourself with anything.”
It’s these kinds of comments that lead you to believe there aren’t many Jack Nicholson stories that you’re shocked by nowadays. Stories of the great actor’s off-set antics have been swirling around Hollywood for decades. But while drunken escapades and sexual acts on the hood of a car are by the by, one “classic Jack” moment could have seen the Oscar winner in serious trouble.
In Brian Kellow’s biography of Sue Mengers, a widely regarded behemoth of the Hollywood agent industry, Kellow describes a scene in which Mengers is hosting a lavish party in her Beverly Hills home back in 1979. During that time Queen Elizabeth’s sister, Princess Margaret, was frequented Los Angeles and had been invited to the party.
Nicholson was at the party with his longtime girlfriend Anjelica Houston when he was introduced to Her Royal Highness. There’s a lot of protocol that goes into meeting a royal, when to bow, when to curtsy, how to address them properly, without causing offence. Instead, Jack Nicholson allegedly offered her a bump of cocaine “in a bid to get to know her better.”
Naturally, Princess Margaret declined the invitation and moved on. Mengers was reportedly furious with Nicholson for this indiscretion. Though it was almost certainly a joke from Nicholson, in the super agent’s eyes it had ruined her chances of ever being invited to Buckingham Palace. However, Princess Margaret was not deterred.
Instead, she moved through the party with consummate ease apparently not moved by Nicholson’s joke. The Princess even stayed for most of the party, sharing drinks and frolics with Farrah Fawcett, Sean Connery, Robin Williams, and more until the early morning. Apparently she even danced repeatedly with Saturday Night Fever and Grease star John Travolta.
That may well have been most of the party’s attendees’ lasting memory, of Danny Zuko dancing with a Royal. But our thoughts turn to a sniggering Jack Nicholson, likely still reeling from his joke and already looking forward to re-telling it. He’s never really changed.