As Good As It Gets: About The Cast

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JACK NICHOLSON's (Melvin Udall) distinguished body of work includes some of the most successful and highly acclaimed films of all time. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor for "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and for Best Supporting Actor for "Terms of Endearment" and earned nominations for his performances in the films "A Few Good Men," "Prizzi's Honor," "Reds," "Ironweed," "Chinatown," "The Last Detail," "Five Easy Pieces" and "Easy Rider."

Most recently, Nicholson starred in the drama "Blood and Wine," the sci-fi comedy "Mars Attacks!," and re-created his role as womanizing astronaut Garrett Breedlove opposite Shirley MacLaine in "The Evening Star," the sequel to "Terms of Endearment." Among his other credits are "Batman," "The Crossing Guard," "Wolf," "Hoffa," "The Witches of Eastwick," "The Postman Always Rings Twice" and "The Shining." In 1995, Nicholson was honored with the American Film Institute's Lifetime Achievement Award.

HELEN HUNT (Carol) most recently starred in last summer's runaway blockbuster "Twister" for which she won a Blockbuster Award, but she is also well known for her television role as Jamie Buchman on NBC's hit series "Mad About You." Five times nominated for an Emmy in as many seasons, she won both the 1996 and 1997 awards for Best Actress in a comedy series. Hunt has previously earned three Golden Globe Awards, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and three American Comedy Awards. Her nearly two dozen feature film credits include "Kiss of Death," "Mr. Saturday Night," "Bob Roberts," "The Waterdance," "Peggy Sue Got Married," "Next of Kin" and "Project X." Hunt made her acting debut on television in 1973's "Pioneer Woman," and she has gone on to appear in over 15 movies for television, including most recently, "In the Company of Darkness" and "Murder in New Hampshire." In 1989, Hunt appeared in a Broadway production of Thornton Wilder's classic "Our Town" and as well appeared in Joseph Papp's Shakespeare In The Park production of "Taming of the Shrew" with Kevin Kline.

GREG KINNEAR (Simon) most recently starred in the comedies "A Smile Like Yours" opposite Lauren Holly and "Dear God" directed by Gary Marshall. He had previously made his film debut opposite Harrison Ford and Julia Ormond in "Sabrina." Kinnear first came to prominence as the animated, wisecracking host of E! Entertainment Television's "Talk Soup." As his popularity grew, Kinnear was hired as host and executive producer of his own NBC late night talk show, "Later with Greg Kinnear,"' a position he left to focus on his feature film career. Kinnear earned a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Arizona and landed one of his first jobs as a host on Movietime, a 24-hour entertainment cable network that later became E! Entertainment Television. He then moved on to host an international entertainment show called "The HBO International Report." During this time, he also landed television roles in the telefilm "Murder in Mississippi" and on the series "Life Goes On."

CUBA GOODING, JR. (Frank) most recently won the Academy Award® for Best Supporting Actor for his scene-stealing performance opposite Tom Cruise in "Jerry Maguire." Gooding made his film debut as the star of writer/director John Singleton's searing coming-of-age drama "Boyz N The Hood" in 1991. For his portrayal of a 17-year-old high school student, Gooding earned rave reviews and a NAACP Image Award. A year later Gooding was featured in the Oscar®-nominated "A Few Good Men," and was honored as the NATO/Showest 1992 "Newcomer of the Year" for his performance. His other theatrical screen credits include "Gladiator," "Judgement Night," "Lightning Jack," "Losing Isaiah" and "Outbreak."

SKEET ULRICH (Randy) has emerged as one of the screen's brightest new talents. Starting in early 1996, Ulrich has been featured in six new films including "Boys," opposite Winona Ryder, "Last Dance," with Sharon Stone," and "The Craft," opposite Fairuza Balk. He also starred in Kevin Spacey's "Albino Alligator" with Matt Dillon and Gary Sinise, and Paul Schrader's "Touch" opposite Bridget Fonda and Christopher Walken. Ulrich also starred in Wes Craven's hit thriller "Scream" with Drew Barrymore and Courtney Cox. Born and raised in North Carolina, Ulrich first came to prominence during his undergraduate days at NYU when he was 'discovered' by celebrated playwright David Mamet. Mamet invited Ulrich to be an apprentice at the acclaimed Atlantic Theater Company, where he performed in a number of the company's productions including, "Reckless" and "Hedda Gabler." During one of these stage plays, Ulrich was spotted by film director Stacey Cochrane, who cast him in an ABC After School special "Same Difference." It was Cochrane who then cast him in his first major feature, "Boys," which she wrote and directed.

SHIRLEY KNIGHT (Beverly) has had a distinguished career in film, television and theater. Her recent film roles include "Diabolique," "If These Walls Could Talk," "The Color of Night," "Stuart Saves His Family" and "Hard Promises." Knight earned an Academy Award ® nomination for her screen debut in the 1960 film "Dark at the Top of the Stairs." She won a second Oscar ® nomination for her performance in "Sweet Bird of Youth." Knight also starred in "The Rain People," in a role written for her by director Francis Ford Coppola. Other early films include "Petulia," "The Dutchman" amd "The Group." She has appeared in numerous acclaimed television programs, winning three Emmy Awards for an episode of "NYPD Blue," "Thirtysomething" and the HBO special "McMartin." On stage, she won a Tony Award for her performance in "Kennedy's Children." Other credits inlude "The Glass Menagerie," "A Streetcar Named Desire" and "A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur," which playwright Tennessee Williams wrote for Ms. Knight after seeing her performance in "Streetcar." She was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for her performace in John Guare's "Landscape of the Body" and for a Tony for Horton Foote's "The Young Man From Atlanta."

Seven-year-old JESSE JAMES (Spencer) makes his feature film debut in "As Good As It Gets." At age five, Jesse and his family relocated from Montana to Southern California and, soon after, Jesse began to pursue an acting and modeling career. He has appeared on "Sesame Street" as well as advertising spots for Domino's Pizza and Tommy Hilfiger. He worked on "Volcano," and also portrayed Kenneth Branagh's son in Robert Altman's "Gingerbread Man." When taking a break from his second grade studies, Jesse enjoys playing soccer and boating with his family. An avid reader, Jesse is a fan of C.S. Lewis and R.L. Stine.

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