Nick Nolte

Nick Nolte

Nolte at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival
Born Nicholas King Nolte
(1941-02-08) February 8, 1941
Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.
Occupation Actor, Model
Years active 1969–present
Height 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)[1]
Spouse(s) Sheila Page (1966–1970)
Sharyn Haddad (1978–1983)
Rebecca Linger (1984–1994)
Partner(s) Clytie Lane (2003–)
Children 2

Nicholas King "Nick" Nolte (born February 8, 1941)[2] is an American actor and former model. He won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama, and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for the 1991 film The Prince of Tides. He went on to receive Academy Award nominations for Affliction (1998) and Warrior (2011). His other film appearances include The Deep (1977), 48 Hrs. (1982), Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986), Another 48 Hrs. (1990), Everybody Wins (1990), Cape Fear (1991), Lorenzo's Oil (1992), The Thin Red Line (1998), Hulk (2003), The Good Thief (2003), Hotel Rwanda (2004), Tropic Thunder (2008), A Walk in the Woods (2015) and The Ridiculous 6 (2015).

Early life

Nolte was born February 8, 1941, in Omaha, Nebraska. His father, Franklin Arthur Nolte (1904–1978), was a farmer's son who ran away from home, nearly dropped out of high school and was a three-time letter winner in football at Iowa State University (1929–1931),[3] and his mother, Helen (née King; 1914–2000), was a department store buyer. His ancestry includes German, English, Scots-Irish, Scottish and Swiss-German.[4][5] Nolte's maternal grandfather, Matthew Leander King, invented the hollow-tile silo and was prominent in early aviation. His maternal grandmother ran the student union at Iowa State University. He has an older sister, Nancy, who was an executive for the Red Cross.

Nolte attended Kingsley Elementary School in Waterloo, Iowa.[1] He studied at Westside High School in Omaha, where he was the kicker on the football team. He also attended Benson High, but was expelled for fighting and hiding beer before practice and being caught drinking it during a practice session.[6] Following his high school graduation in 1959, he attended Pasadena City College in Southern California, Arizona State University in Tempe (on a football scholarship), Eastern Arizona College in Thatcher and Phoenix College in Phoenix. At Eastern Arizona, Nolte lettered in football as a tight end and defensive end in basketball with forward, and as a catcher on the baseball team. Poor grades eventually ended his studies, at which point his career in theatre began in earnest. While in college, Nolte worked for the Falstaff Brewery in Omaha.

After stints at the Pasadena Playhouse and the Stella Adler Academy in Los Angeles, Nolte spent several years traveling the country and working in regional theaters, including the Old Log Theater in Minnesota for three years.



Nolte was a model in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In a national magazine advertisement in 1972, he appeared in jeans and an open jean shirt for Clairol's "Summer Blonde" hair lightener sitting on a log next to a blonde Sigourney Weaver;[7] and they appeared on the packaging. In 1992, Nolte was named the Sexiest Man Alive by People magazine.


Nolte as Tom Jordache in Rich Man, Poor Man

Nolte first starred in the television miniseries, Rich Man, Poor Man, based on Irwin Shaw's 1970 best-selling novel. Later he appeared in over forty films, playing a wide variety of characters. Diversity of character, and his trademark athleticism, and gravelly voice are signatures of his career. In 1973, he guest-starred in the Griff episode, "Who Framed Billy the Kid?", as Billy Randolph, a football player accused of murder. He co-starred with Andy Griffith in Winter Kill, a television film made as the pilot of a possible television series, and another one, Adams of Eagle Lake, but neither was picked up.

Nolte starred in The Deep (1977), Who'll Stop the Rain (1978), North Dallas Forty (1979) which is based on Peter Gent's novel, and starred in 48 Hrs. (1982) with Eddie Murphy. During the 1980s, he starred in Under Fire (1983), Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986), Extreme Prejudice (1987) and New York Stories (1989). Nolte and Murphy starred again in the sequel Another 48 Hrs.. In 1991, Nolte starred in The Prince of Tides and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor. Later, he starred in Martin Scorsese's remake of Cape Fear with Robert De Niro and Jessica Lange. Nolte also starred in Lorenzo's Oil (1992), Jefferson in Paris (1995), Mulholland Falls (1996) and Afterglow (1997). He received his second Academy Award nomination the same year for Affliction. Nolte starred with Sean Penn in three films, including Terrence Malick's war epic The Thin Red Line, U Turn and Gangster Squad.

Nolte continued to work in the 2000s, taking smaller parts in Clean and Hotel Rwanda, both performances received positive reviews. He also played supporting roles in the 2006 drama Peaceful Warrior and the 2008 comedy Tropic Thunder. In 2011, Nolte played recovering alcoholic Paddy Conlon in Warrior, and was nominated for Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. While filming the HBO series Luck, it lasted for one season in March 2012, after the death of three horses.[8]

In 2015, Nolte starred in the biopic comedy-drama A Walk in the Woods and in the revenge thriller Return to Sender.

In 2016, Nolte stars in "Graves" on Epix TV about a volatile, hard-drinking former U. S. President who has been retired for 25 years and who has a political epiphany to right the wrongs of his past administration in very public and unpredictable ways. (Interview by Lee Cowan, "CBS Sunday Morning", October 9, 2016)

For Nolte, acting is not a career but something he needs to do, he says, "a need in the sense that I can't find anything as complex and interesting to do, but I need it in a story," and "I don't want to do reality because reality never runs smooth." (Ibid., Cowan interview) He likes to vanish into a role "if the story reaches up to where the great actor is, the great actor disappears, and the story becomes number one, that's as real as it gets." (Ibid., Cowan interview)

Personal life

In 1965, Nolte was arrested for selling counterfeit documents and was given a 45-day jail sentence and a $75,000 fine; however, the sentence was suspended.[9] This felony conviction did, however, erase his military-joining eligibility – at the time, he felt obligated to serve in the Vietnam War. As a result, Nolte says he felt incomplete as a young man for not going to Vietnam.[10]

On September 11, 2002, Nolte was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving in Malibu, California. Three days later, he checked himself into Silver Hill Hospital in Connecticut for counseling.[11] Tests later showed that he was under the influence of GHB. Nolte responded that he has "been taking it for four years and I've never been raped."[12] On December 12, 2002, he pleaded no contest to charges of driving under the influence. He was given three years' probation, with orders to undergo alcohol and drug counseling with random testing required.

Nolte has been in relationships with Debra Winger and Vicki Lewis.[13][14][15] He has two children, Brawley (b. 1986) and Sophie (b. 2007).[16]

Cultural References

A gin and tonic with a splash of pineapple juice is commonly referred to as a Nick Nolte.



Year Title Role Notes
1972 Dirty Little Billy Town Gang Leader Uncredited
1973 Electra Glide in Blue Hippie Kid Uncredited
1975 Return to Macon County Bo Hollinger
1976 Northville Cemetery Massacre Chris (voice) Uncredited
1977 The Deep David Sanders
1978 Who'll Stop the Rain Ray Hicks
1979 North Dallas Forty Phillip Elliott
1980 Heart Beat Neal Cassady
1982 Cannery Row Doc
1982 48 Hrs. Jack Cates
1983 Under Fire Russell Price
1984 Grace Quigley Seymour Flint
1984 Teachers Alex Jurel
1986 Down and Out in Beverly Hills Jerry Baskin
1987 Extreme Prejudice Jack Benteen
1987 Weeds Lee Umstetter
1989 Three Fugitives Lucas
1989 Farewell to the King Learoyd
1989 New York Stories Lionel Dobie Segment: "Life Lessons"
1990 Everybody Wins Tom O'Toole
1990 Q&A Captain Michael Brennan
1990 Another 48 Hrs. Jack Cates
1991 Cape Fear Sam Bowden
1991 The Prince of Tides Tom Wingo
1992 Lorenzo's Oil Augusto Odone
1992 The Player Himself Cameo
1994 I'll Do Anything Matt Hobbs
1994 Blue Chips Pete Bell
1994 I Love Trouble Peter Brackett
1995 Jefferson in Paris Thomas Jefferson
1996 Mulholland Falls Max Hoover
1996 Mother Night Howard Campbell
1997 Nightwatch Inspector Thomas Cray
1997 Afterglow Lucky Mann
1997 U Turn Jake McKenna
1997 Affliction Wade Whitehouse
1998 The Thin Red Line Lt. Col. Gordon Tall
1999 Breakfast of Champions Harry Le Sabre
1999 Simpatico Vincent Webb
2000 The Golden Bowl Adam Verver
2000 Trixie Senator Drumond Avery
2001 Investigating Sex Faldo
2002 The Good Thief Bob Montagnet
2003 Northfork Father Harlan
2003 Hulk Dr. David Banner
2004 The Beautiful Country Steve
2004 Clean Albrecht Hauser
2004 Hotel Rwanda Colonel Oliver
2005 Neverwas T.L. Pierson
2006 Over the Hedge Vincent (voice)
2006 Paris, je t'aime Vincent (segment "Parc Monceau")
2006 Peaceful Warrior Socrates
2006 Quelques jours en septembre Elliott
2006 Off the Black Ray Cook
2007 Chicago 10 Thomas Horan (voice) Documentary
2008 The Mysteries of Pittsburgh Joe Bechstein
2008 The Spiderwick Chronicles Mulgarath
2008 Tropic Thunder John "Four Leaf" Tayback
2010 My Own Love Song Caldwell
2010 Huxley on Huxley Himself Documentary
2010 Arcadia Lost Benerji
2010 Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore Butch (voice)
2011 Arthur Burt Johnson
2011 Zookeeper Bernie the Gorilla (voice)
2011 Warrior Paddy Conlon
2012 The Company You Keep Donal
2013 Gangster Squad Bill Parker
2013 Parker Hurley
2013 Hateship, Loveship Mr. McCauley
2013 The Trials of Cate McCall Bridges
2014 Noah Samyaza (voice)
2015 A Walk in the Woods Katz
2015 Run All Night Eddie Conlon Uncredited
2015 Return to Sender Mitchell Wells
2015 The Ridiculous 6 Frank Stockburn


Year Title Role Notes
1969 Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color Episode: "The Feather Farm"
1973 Griff Billy Randolph Episode: "The Framing of Billy the Kid"
1973 Cannon Ron Johnson Episode: "Arena of Fear"
1973–1974 Medical Center Tank / Lou 2 episodes
1974 The Streets of San Francisco Captain Alan Melder Episode: "Crossfire"
1974 Emergency! Fred Episode: "The Hard Hours"
1974 The Rookies Tommy Episode: "The Teacher"
1974 Toma Wally Episode: "Friends of Danny Beecher"
1974 Chopper One Bob Episode: "The Hijacking"
1974 Gunsmoke Barney Austin Episode: "The Tarnished Badge"
1974 Winter Kill Dave Michaels Movie
1974 The California Kid Buzz Stafford Movie
1974–1975 Barnaby Jones Mark Rainey, Paul Barringer 2 episodes
1975 Adams of Eagle Lake Officer Jerry Troy 2 episodes
1976 Rich Man, Poor Man Tom Jordache Miniseries
2011 Ultimate Rush Narrator (voice)
2011–2012 Luck Walter James Smith 10 episodes
2014 Gracepoint Jack Reinhold Miniseries
2016 Graves President Richard Graves


Awards and nominations
Year Association Category Nominated work Result
1976 Rich Man, Poor Man Primetime Emmy Awards Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie Nominated
1977 Golden Globe Awards Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama Nominated
1979 Who'll Stop the Rain National Society of Film Critics Awards Best Actor 3rd place
North Dallas Forty New York Film Critics Circle Awards Best Actor 3rd place
1980 National Society of Film Critics Awards Best Actor 3rd place
1988 Weeds Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama Nominated
1991 The Prince of Tides Boston Society of Film Critics Best Actor Won
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Best Actor Won
New York Film Critics Circle Awards New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor Nominated
1992 Academy Awards Best Actor Nominated
Chicago Film Critics Association Best Actor Nominated
Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama Won
National Society of Film Critics Awards Best Actor 3rd place
1997 Affliction Valladolid International Film Festival Best Actor Won
1998 New York Film Critics Circle Best Actor Won
1999 Academy Awards Best Actor Nominated
Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama Nominated
Independent Spirit Awards Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead Nominated
National Society of Film Critics Best Actor Won
Sant Jordi Awards Sant Jordi Award for Best Foreign Actor Won
Satellite Awards Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role Nominated
The Thin Red Line Chicago Film Critics Association Best Supporting Actor Nominated
2011 Warrior Chicago Film Critics Association Best Supporting Actor Nominated
Denver Film Critics Society Best Supporting Actor Nominated
San Diego Film Critics Best Supporting Actor Won
Satellite Awards Best Supporting Actor Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards Best Supporting Actor Nominated
2012 Academy Awards Best Supporting Actor Nominated
Broadcast Film Critics Association Best Supporting Actor Nominated
Online Film Critics Society Best Supporting Actor Nominated

Other honors


  1. 1 2 "Nick Nolte".
  2. "Nick Nolte: Life in pictures". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 8 June 2016. (show caption on slide 1 of 21)
  3. Iowa State Records
  4. To the brink and back | Film | The Guardian. Retrieved on December 21, 2010.
  5. "Nick Nolte".
  6. E. W. Smith, Jr., Athletes Once: 100 Famous People Who Were Once Notable Athletes, Fireship Press, 2010 p45
  7. Nick Nolte as a Young Man & Male Model (Photos) + Rolex Watch Retrieved on August 8, 2012
  8. Nick Nolte « Southern Gaming. Retrieved on December 21, 2010.
  9. Nick Nolte, Q&A with Nick Nolte. (March 10, 2008). Retrieved on December 21, 2010.
  10. Weekend Weirdness: An Intimate Doc on Nick Nolte; Who Killed Teddy Bear? in NYC; The House of the Devil on VHS | /Film. (January 24, 2010). Retrieved on December 21, 2010.
  11. Nick Nolte Charged With DUI. CBS News (October 24, 2002). Retrieved on December 21, 2010.
  12. Nick Nolte: No Exit at the Internet Movie Database
  13. "Debra Winger: The return of a class act". The Independent. 24 October 2008. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  14. Beale, Lewis (23 December 1997). "NICK'S KNACK HIS EMOTIONAL TROUBLES OVER, NOLTE'S ANGER TURNS TO ON-SCREEN ARTISTRY". Daily News. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  15. Voll, Daniel (29 January 2007). "Nick Nolte Has a Drawer Full of Tourniquets". Esquire. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  16. "Nick Nolte: Life in pictures". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 1 March 2015.

External links

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