John Daniel "Jack" Torrance is a fictional character, the antagonist in the 1977 novel The Shining by Stephen King. He was portrayed by Jack Nicholson in the 1980 movie adaptation of the novel, and by Steven Weber in the 1997 miniseries. The American Film Institute rated the character (as played by Nicholson) the 25th greatest film villain of all time. In 2008, Jack Torrance was selected by Empire Magazine as one of The 100 Greatest Movie Characters. Premiere Magazine also ranked Torrance on their list of The 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.
Jack Torrance is a writer and former teacher who is trying to rebuild his and his family's life after his alcoholism and volatile temper costs him his teaching position at a small preparatory school. Having given up drinking, he accepts a position maintaining the isolated Overlook Hotel in Colorado for the winter, in the hope this will salvage his family, re-establish his career, and give him the time and privacy to finish a promising play. He moves to the hotel with his wife, Wendy, and young son, Danny, who is telepathic and sensitive to supernatural forces. Danny receives guidance from an imaginary friend he calls "Tony."
It is later revealed that Jack's father, also an alcoholic, was abusive towards his family. A flashback scene in the novel shows his father pretending to be drunk so as to brutally bash Jack's mother with a cane.
Danny finds out that the Overlook Hotel is haunted from cook Dick Hallorann, who is also psychic (in fact, it is he who coins the term "the shining" to describe the powers he and the boy possess) and who teaches Danny to use his gift to defend himself and his family from the evil forces at work in the old building. Jack, however, succumbs to both cabin fever and his drinking problem, and allows the hotel to convince him to hate his own wife and child (in fact, a good part of Jack's insanity is caused by the hotel's demonic entity, which use it's supernatural powers to psychologically torture them). Jack has encounters with ghost of previous staff of the hotel, who insist he had always been working there, and must kill his family so he can be promoted to a managerial position.
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