One of Hollywood’s most versatile leading actors, Nick Nolte, with ruggedly handsome looks and a lengthy screen career, established himself as a major industry figure by starring in over 50 films and playing a wide variety of characters. Initially gaining strong notice for portraying rebellious younger brother Tom Jordache in the celebrated miniseries “Rich Man, Poor Man” (1976), Nolte received appreciation and acclaim starring as wounded Tom Wingo in Barbra Streisand’s The Prince of Tides (1991), where he picked up a Golden Globe Award and a Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award, as well as earned nominations at the Oscars, New York Film Critics Circle and Golden Globes. His desirable standing as one of Hollywood’s most typical leading men was further cemented with a 1998 Best Actor Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for his role as a middle-aged, small-town man becoming unhinged in Paul Schrader’s Affliction (1997). The role also garnered Nolte such awards as a Valladolid International Film Festival Award, a New York Film Critics Circle Award, a Sant Jordi Award and a National Society of Film Critics Award. Also in 1997, Nolte won a Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival Award for his credible performance as the charismatic, womanizing husband in director/writer Alan Rudolph’s Afterglow (1997). Nolte is also known for his wide range of characters in such films as 48 Hours (1982), the hit comedy Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986), Weeds (1987, received a Golden Globe nomination), Martin Scorsese’s Cape Fear (1991), Terrence Malick' 1998 adaptation of James Jones’ The Thin Red Line, In the James Ivory-helmed The Golden Bowl (2000), The Good Thief (2002), Ang Lee’s psychological interpretation of the Marvel Comics’ Hulk (2003), Vietnam drama The Beautiful Country (2004) and the critically-acclaimed Hotel Rwanda (2004), among others.
Recently appearing in the Joshua Michael Stern-scripted Neverwas (2005), Nolte is scheduled to play various roles in the upcoming Victor Salva’s drama Peaceful Warrior (2006), the romance film Paris, je t'aime (2006), the animated Over the Hedge (2006), The Death of Harry Tobin (2006) and Pride and Glory (2007).
“There's an understanding about addiction. It's just learning about yourself; either things are tough and you detach yourself or it becomes an experiment and a lifestyle. The thing about addiction is that you don't feel things; it's about cutting the pain off, whether it's physical or psychological.” Nick Nolte
Off screen, People Magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” (1992), Nolte was a heavy drinker until the 1990s. Katharine Hepburn mentioned once a comment about him falling down drunk in every gutter in town, to which Nolte replied, “I’ve got a few to go yet.”
In September 2002, Nolte checked himself into the Silver Hill Hospital in Connecticut for therapy after being under suspicion for drunk driving in Malibu, CA. Tests later showed that he was under the influence of GHB, the “date rape” drug. As for his romantic life, Nolte has been married three times. He first married actress Sheila Page in 1966, but later the couple divorced in 1971. The following year, he tied the knot with second wife Sharon Haddad (aka "Legs" Haddad), but again his second marriage was a disappointment. After filing for divorce in 1983, Nolte remarried in 1984, to Rebecca Linger, with whom he has a son named Brawley King (born in 1986). Unfortunately, Nolte and Linger divorced in 1991. Three years after the split, Nolte was romantically involved with actress Vicki Lewis and they lived together from 1994 to 1997. The two met while on the set of I'll Do Anything. Nolte was also linked to actress Debra Winger (had relationship while they starred in the 1982 Cannery Row) and actress Karen Louise Eklund (together for seven years).
Childhood and Family:
Of German, Swedish, Irish and Italian heritage, Nicholas King Nolte was born on February 8, 1941, in Omaha, Nebraska. His father is Frank Nolte, a nomadic irrigation pump salesman, and his mother is Helen King, a buyer for a department store. Nancy Nolte, Nick’s older sister, was an executive for Red Cross.
Growing up in such cities as Ames and Waterloo, Iowa, and Joplin, Missouri, Nick moved back to Omaha in his teens. He was educated at Benson High School and Westside High School, Omaha, and lost his football scholarship at Arizona State University due to poor grades. Nick also briefly attended Eastern Arizona College in Thatcher, Arizona, and Phoenix College in Phoenix, Arizona, but again dropped out because he failed his classes. Relocation to California later made Nick realize that his true passion was acting. Upon studying acting at the Pasadena City College and with Bryan O'Byrne at Stella Adler’s Academy in Los Angeles, Nick began his career by traveling the country with diverse regional theater companies.
6’1” Nick tied the knot with actress Sheila Page in 1966, but the couple filed for divorce in 1971. Nick next built a new family with Sharon Haddad (aka “Legs” Haddad), a dancer whom he married on May 10, 1978. Unfortunately, his second marriage ended up in separation in 1983. On February 19, 1984, Nick married Rebecca Linger (aka Becky Linger), but the couple’s relationship also ended up in divorce seven years later. Nick and Linger share a son named Brawley King (actor; born on June 20, 1986).
The Prince of Tides
After spending 14 years traveling around the country and working with a number of regional theater companies, Nick Nolte eventually got his first taste in front of the camera playing a bit part in Dirty Little Billy (1972). Several roles on TV and film followed his onscreen debut, but it was Nolte’s performance in the ABC acclaimed miniseries “Rich Man, Poor Man” (1976) that garnered the actor attention. Portraying disobedient, younger brother Tom Jordache, Nolte earned an Emmy nomination.
Nolte’s breakthrough role opened doors. Nolte’s natural acting abilities, combined with a gloomy sexuality, provided a gruff, but charismatic, center to a wide variety of movies. Landing his first starring role, alongside Jacqueline Bisset, in The Deep (1977), he was next seen as the drug-smuggling Vietnam vet in Who'll Stop the Rain (1978), a disenchanted football star in North Dallas Forty (1979), free-spirited beat-era author Neal Cassady in the artsy Heartbeat (1980) and as an isolated marine biologist in the big screen adaptation of John Steinbeck’s classic Cannery Row (1982). After making a commercial impact, along with Eddie Murphy, in 48 Hours (1982), Nolte continued to dare himself with such character roles as American photojournalist Russell Price in Under Fire (1983), homeless bum Jerry Baskin in the hit comedy Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986), strong-minded lawman Jack Benteen in the unsuccessful Extreme Prejudice (1987) and ex-con turned playwright Lee Umstetter in Weeds (1987). Nolte’s performance in the latter received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Dramatic Actor. His next films, Three Fugitives (1989), Farewell to the King (1989) and Everybody Wins (1990), met with failure. Nolte then found himself waist-deep in NYC police department corruption in Sidney Lumet’s Q & A (1990) and bounced back as attorney Sam Bowden in Martin Scorsese’s Cape Fear (1991).
With more than 15 motion pictures in his pocket, Nolte finally experienced a huge breakthrough with the release of director/actress/singer Barbra Streisand’s The Prince of Tides (1991), a drama/romance based on the adaptation of the Pat Conroy novel. Delivering a brilliant turn as the wounded Tom Wingo, Nolte netted a Golden Globe and a Los Angeles Film Critics Association for Best Actor, as well as earned Oscar, a New York Film Critics Circle and Golden Globe nominations. He followed it up with a notable performance as a father struggling to discover a cure for his young son in Lorenzo’s Oil (1992, starring with Susan Sarandon).
Returning to the screen after two years hiatus, Nolte worked on a string of commercial flops. He was seen in the tuneless comedy I'll Do Anything (1994). In the Ron Shelton-scripted Blue Chips (1994), he played a hard-driving college basketball coach, and in I Love Trouble (1994), the actor portrayed a Bogie-like newspaperman-of-action romancing Julia Roberts. Many critics even found Nolte a bit miscast as radical theorist and future president Thomas Jefferson in the Merchant-Ivory production Jefferson in Paris (1995).
The following years saw Nolte play the lead of Max Hoover, the Hat Squad’s head, in Mulholland Falls (1996), showcase the much more complex character of American writer Howard Campbell in Mother Night (1996) and star as Inspector Thomas Cray in Ole Bornedal’s remake of the 1994 Danish movie Nightwatch (1997), before giving a convincing performance as the fascinating womanizing husband in director/writer Alan Rudolph’s Afterglow (1997, opposite Julie Christie), in which he was handed a Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival for Best Ensemble Cast.
Nolte scored even a bigger success when Paul Schrader cast him as a psychologically-wrecked loser, who can never get his bearings, in his thriller Affliction (1997). Nolte, who also served as an executive producer, won critical raves from film critics and took home several awards, including a Valladolid International Film Festival, a New York Film Critics Circle, a Sant Jordi and a National Society of Film Critics for Best Actor. Moreover, he was nominated for the Best Actor Award at the Academy Awards and Golden Globes.
After the huge victory, Nolte cemented his position as a major Hollywood actor in director Terrence Malick' 1998 adaptation of James Jones’ The Thin Red Line (also starring George Clooney, Sean Penn and John Travolta). He next teamed up with director Alan Rudolph to play cross-dressing car salesman Harry Le Sabre, alongside Bruce Willis’ Dave Hoover, in Breakfast of Champions (1999) and costarred with Jeff Bridges and Sharon Stone in the dull Simpatico (1999).
Entering the new millennium, Nolte continued to look for offbeat, exceptional parts that pushed his limits. In the James Ivory-helmed The Golden Bowl (2000), he was cast as a bad-tempered, expatriate American. 2000 and 2001 marked Nolte’s next collaboration with Rudolph for the little-seen comedy Trixie (2000, opposite Emily Watson) and Investigating Sex (2001), in which he played the 1920s bohemian Faldo. Joining director Neil Jordan for his 2002 film The Good Thief, Nolte gained positive feedback for his good performance as aging gambler Bob Montagnet. After finishing Northfork (2003), Nolte was seen as the father of a scientist-turned-green-gamma-rayed-monster in director Ang Lee’s psychological interpretation of the Marvel Comics’ Hulk (2003). In 2004, Nolte dotted his acting resume with three more films, Vietnam drama The Beautiful Country, Clean, and the critically-acclaimed Hotel Rwanda (opposite Don Cheadle).
Nolte recently was featured in the Joshua Michael Stern-scripted Neverwas (2005), starring Aaron Eckhart, Ian McKellen and William Hurt. Additionally, Nolte will put four more films under his belt in 2006. He first will star as Socrates in Victor Salva’s drama Peaceful Warrior (2006, opposite Scott Mechlowicz and Amy Smart), and then play Vincent in romance Paris, je t'aime (2006). He is also scheduled to lend his voice to Vincent in the upcoming Over the Hedge (2006) and play a role in forth coming The Death of Harry Tobin (2006). Moreover, Nolte is set to join Samantha Morton for director Gavin O'Connor’s new project Pride and Glory (2007).