This morning a producer friend told me about how Jack Nicholson saved Jim Harrison‘s financial ass in 1978 with a loan of $15K. The late author-poet (whose recent death prompted yesterday’s post) became friendly with Nicholson through novelist and screenwriter Thomas McGuane, who had written The Missouri Breaks (’76) . McGuane and Harrison had met from their mutual base of Livingston, Montana. Harrison published three books in the early to mid ’70s — “Wolf: A False Memoir” (’71), “A Good Day to Die” (’73) and “Farmer” (’76), but the income from these works was negligible and by ’78 he was “broke and all but starving,” the producer relates. Harrison was working on “Legends of the Fall” (which was actually three novellas — “Revenge,” “The Man Who Gave Up His Name” and “Legends of the Fall”) and so Nicholson, advised by McGuane of Harrison’s desperate situation, stepped in with the $15K, which gave Harrison enough breathing room to finish. “Fall” was published in ’79. It became Harrison’s biggest success of his life at the time, and he lived more or less comfortably after that. Here, by the way, is a nice Outside piece on Harrison (“The Last Lion,” published on 8.31.11) by Tom Bissell. Curious milestone: 13 months from now Nicholson will turn 80. Salud!