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Jack Nicholson: Unpublished photos of "Five Easy Pieces"

Not published in LIFE. Jack Nicholson in his beloved Volkswagen convertible, Los Angeles, 1969. According to notes by writer Judy Fayard that accompanied Arthur Schatz's film when it was sent to LIFE's offices in New York, Nicholson said that "anyone out here who doesn't drive a Volks is either ostentatious or stupid."

Jack Nicholson: Unpublished photos from 1969

This Sunday, April 22, Jack Nicholson turns 75. In celebration of the man, his career and his status as a pop culture touchstone, LIFE offers a selection of photos taken at Nicholson's home in Los Angeles in 1969, at the critical juncture in the actor's career when he was being lauded for his performance in "Easy Rider" and was about to star in one of the great American films of the 1970s, the Bob Rafelson-directed masterpiece, "Five Easy Pieces."