Oscar Actors: Nolte, Nick–Background, Career, Awards

December 15, 2020
Nick Nolte Career Summary:

Occupational Inheritance: No

Social Class: father, farmer’s son, dropout; mother department store buyer, expert antique dealer





Teacher/Inspirational Figure:

Radio Debut:

TV Debut:

Stage Debut:

Broadway Debut:

Film Debut:

Breakthrough Role:

Oscar Role:

Other Noms:

Other Awards:

Frequent Collaborator:

Screen Image: character actor

Last Film:

Career Output:

Film Career Span:





Nicholas King Nolte (born February 8, 1941)[1] is an American actor, producer, author, 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), Who’ll Stop The Rain (1978), North Dallas Forty (1979), 48 Hrs. (1982), Teachers (1984), Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986), Another 48 Hrs. (1990), Everybody Wins (1990), Cape Fear (1991), Lorenzo’s Oil (1992), I Love Trouble (1994), Blue Chips (1994), The Thin Red Line (1998), The Good Thief (2002), Hulk (2003), Hotel Rwanda (2004), Tropic Thunder (2008), A Walk in the Woods (2015), and Angel Has Fallen (2019).

He was also nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy for his role in the TV series Graves.

Nolte was born on 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).

His mother, Helen (née King; 1914–2000), was a department store buyer, and then became an expert antique dealer, co-owning a prestigious and successful antique shop despite having no formal education in the area.

His ancestry includes German, English, Scots-Irish, Scottish and Swiss-German.[3][4] 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.[5] He has an older sister, Nancy, who was an executive for the Red Cross.[6]

Nolte attended Kingsley Elementary School in Waterloo, Iowa.[7] He studied at Westside High School in Omaha, where he was the kicker on the football team. He also attended Benson High School, but was expelled for hiding beer before practice and being caught drinking it during a practice session.[8] 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 as a forward, and as a catcher on the baseball team.[9] 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.[9]

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.[10]

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 Chris O’Connor;[11] and they appeared on the packaging. In 1992, Nolte was named the Sexiest Man Alive by People magazine.[12]


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.[13] Later he appeared in over forty films, playing a wide variety of characters. Diversity of character, 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. Nolte also made two guest appearances in the television series Barnaby Jones in 1974 and 1975. 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,[14] but neither was picked up.

Nolte starred in The Deep (1977),[15] Who’ll Stop the Rain (1978),[16] North Dallas Forty (1979) which is based on Peter Gent’s novel,[17] and starred in 48 Hrs. (1982) with Eddie Murphy.[18] During the 1980s, he starred in Under Fire (1983),[19] Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986),[20] Extreme Prejudice (1987)[21] and New York Stories (1989).[22] Nolte starred with Katharine Hepburn in her last leading film role in Grace Quigley (1985).[23] Nolte and Murphy starred again in the sequel Another 48 Hrs..[24] In 1991, Nolte starred in The Prince of Tides and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor.[25] Later, he starred in Martin Scorsese’s remake of Cape Fear with Robert De Niro and Jessica Lange.[26] Nolte also starred in Lorenzo’s Oil (1992),[27] Jefferson in Paris (1995),[28] Mulholland Falls (1996)[29] and Afterglow (1997).[30] He received his second Academy Award nomination the same year for Affliction.[31] Nolte starred with Sean Penn in three films, including Terrence Malick’s war epic The Thin Red Line,[32] U Turn,[33] and Gangster Squad.[34]

Nolte in 2003
Nolte continued to work in the 2000s, taking smaller parts in Clean and Hotel Rwanda, both performances receiving positive reviews.[35][36] He also played supporting roles in the 2006 drama Peaceful Warrior[37] and the 2008 comedy Tropic Thunder.[38] In 2011, Nolte played recovering alcoholic Paddy Conlon in Warrior, and was nominated for Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.[39] Beginning in 2011, Nolte starred with Dustin Hoffman in the HBO series Luck. At the start of production of the second season, however, HBO ended the series after the death of three horses during filming.[40] In 2013, he was in the movie Parker which starred Jason Statham. In 2015, Nolte starred in the biopic comedy-drama A Walk in the Woods[41] and in the revenge thriller Return to Sender.[42]

From 2016 to 2017, Nolte starred in Graves on Epix 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.[43]

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”. 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”.[44] Nolte appeared as recurring character Kuiil in the Disney+ series The Mandalorian in 2019.[45]

Personal life
Nolte married Clytie Lane in 2016.[46] He was previously married to Sheila Page, Sharyn Haddad, and Rebecca Linger, respectively.[46][47] Nolte and Linger have a son, Brawley (b. 1986), who has had a few acting roles himself.[48] Nolte and Lane have a daughter, Sophie (b. 2007). Sophie played his granddaughter in Head Full of Honey.[49][50] Nolte and Linger also had a daughter in 1983 who was stillborn.[47] Nolte has dated Karen Eklund,[47] Debra Winger and Vicki Lewis.[51][52]

Legal troubles and substance abuse
Nolte is known for his “bad-boy reputation”.[53][54][47]

In 1965, Nolte was arrested for selling counterfeit documents and was given a 45-year prison sentence and a $75,000 fine; however, the sentence was suspended.[55][56] This felony conviction did, however, negate his eligibility for military service. 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.[57]

On September 11, 2002, Nolte was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving in Malibu, California. Three days later, he checked himself into Silver Hill Hospital in Connecticut for counseling.[58] 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.”[59] 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.[60][61] Nolte entered a rehabilitation facility in Connecticut.[62]

In 2005, The Independent reported that Nolte had struggled with substance abuse for “the majority of his adult life” and had begun abusing alcohol at an early age. After remaining sober for nearly 10 years, Nolte resumed drinking in the late 1990s. Following his 2002 arrest, Nolte stopped drinking.[62] In 2018, Nolte told The Saturday Evening Post that he did not have a drug problem and that he had been “relatively clean outside of prescription stuff for years”.[63]

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 Texas Ranger Jack Benteen
1987 Weeds Lee Umstetter
1989 Three Fugitives Daniel James 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 Also executive producer
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 / The Father
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 Nick Nolte: No Exit Himself Documentary
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 A puerta fría Battleworth
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
2014 Asthma Werewolf Voice
2015 A Walk in the Woods Stephen Katz
2015 Run All Night Eddie Conlon Uncredited
2015 Return to Sender Mitchell Wells
2015 The Ridiculous 6 Frank Stockburn
2018 The Padre Nemes
2018 Head Full of Honey[64] Amadeus
2019 Angel Has Fallen Clay Banning
2020 Last Words Shakespeare
TBA Blackout DEA Agent Ethan McCoy
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 Death Sentence John Healy Movie
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
2016–2017 Graves President Richard Graves 20 episodes
2019 The Mandalorian Kuiil Voice; 3 episodes
2020–present Paradise Lost Judge Forsythe 10 episodes

Nolte at 2000 Cannes Film Festival
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 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
2017 Graves Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy Nominated