Nick Nolte in GQ on his career folles: “You don’t learn anything from success.”

Nick Nolte appears in the January issue of GQ with a long, rambling interview that discusses all matter of drug-related subjects and his run-ins with the law. The man just might be flat out insane after his many years of “liquid ecstasy” (which he habitually mixed with cranberry juice) use, but he’s winning much praise as a possible Oscar contender for Warrior, which sees him portray an alcoholic father and a man who’s a thousand days sober. Here are a few excerpts from the interview (which might be worth pursuing in full), within which Nolte reveals his life experiences and drops a few details of what we didn’t know about his wild-man “mug shot” that is proudly displayed on his own website,

On Aging: “When you start thinking about death more than sex, you know you’re getting old. At 70, you crest that hill. In the sixties you’re still thinking you could do something about this slow disintegration of the body. As Katharine Hepburn used to say to me: ‘Aging, Nick, is boring.’ Now I know what she means.”

On His Big “Return” In Warrior: “All of a sudden, it’s this rediscovery thing.” Nolte says this quite amiably, in the accepting tone of a man who has watched such tides go in and out long enough to know what little influence he has over their motions. “I never went away, you know,” he shrugs.

On The Value Of Not Winning “You don’t learn anything from success. You know, it’s comfortable, it’s nice, it’s warm, but success just leaves you kind of feeling a little bloated.”

On Whether He’d Like An Oscar “I can’t say it doesn’t matter to me…,” he says, and leaves this hanging there for a moment. “But it doesn’t matter to me. I can’t say that, but that’s what I’m going to say. Because it doesn’t really matter in the final end. Especially as you get closer to death, it really doesn’t matter. If I do have a chance to get it, I’d like it to be before I’m ten days to death. Because that’s going to be an ugly picture.”

On His Infamous Wild Man Photo: The common misconception about the freak-haired-wild-man photo taken that day is that it was Nolte’s police mug shot. It was not. (He did pose for a mug shot, but that has never leaked.) At the hospital where Nolte was taken for a blood test, a young officer asked him if he could take a Polaroid. “I said, ‘Come on, you don’t really want to ask that, do you?’ ” Nolte recalls. But he did. Nolte figured that the officer had been talking to the others about how this might be worth having, and so Nolte made him agree that, if he posed, the young officer would share any proceeds with his colleagues. “And I let him shoot the Polaroid.”

On Becoming A Father Again At Age 66: “You’re just so much more aware, so much more present. Your time is precious now. I’m basically overall healthy, but at this age you just don’t know, so it’s really been a treat. A real joy.” Sophia was born in a water pool in the bedroom right here, three midwives in attendance, and spent her first forty minutes resting on top of her mother before the umbilical cord was cut. “If you can let her stay attached for a long time, those stem cells build up,” Nolte explains. “We didn’t see a doctor until the next day. It was a great experience.”

[From GQ]

The guy is as nutty as a pot-laced fruitcake, right? He’s got a known history of studying his own blood under a microscope and readily admits that he’ll one day take GHB again (but only if it’s “medically supervised“), and that thing about the umbilical cord stem cells building up, well, it sounds wacky, to be honest. Does anyone know if there’s something to that theory?

Here are some recent photos of Nolte on the set of Gangster Squad. You thought it was just some Ryan Gosling movie, right?

Photos courtesy of GQ and Fame

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

16 Responses to “Nick Nolte in GQ on his career folles: “You don’t learn anything from success.””

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Eve says:

    He may be crazy but he’s definitely one of the best actors I’ve seen.

  2. gloaming says:

    Really hope he wins an Oscar this year.

  3. Girl says:

    There is some reported benefit to delayed cord clamping in the midwifery community and maybe even some peer reviewed medical studies but I don’t recall it having to do with stem cells specifically. It’s definitely more of a crunchy, granola type birth practice. You won’t find it done as a matter of course in a hospital setting. You would have to find medical providers who’d agree to it. Interesting stuff. Oh, and gird your loins if you come across the term “lotus birth” if you decide to google. ‘Nuff said.

  4. Hautie says:

    Oh yea, he is nutty as hell. But aren’t most truly gifted actors. All just crazy. And that is alright with me.

    I am just surprised he has not aged very well. I could have swore he was into the whole healthy granola thing, since the 80’s. But his face looks like he has been smoking and drinking heavily for 30 years.

    It would be nice for Nolte to get some nominations. Just so he can give crazy interviews for the next couple of months.

  5. Lisa says:

    I have been LOVIN’ this man since 1976 for his role in “Rich Man…Poor Man” where he played Tom Jordache…in the series he went from playing a teen to a grown man…and I swear…WHATEVA he did he LITERALLY looked like he aged YEARS during that production…WOW!!! I mean I was a lil’ girl and I remember him chewing UP the screen…SIGH…need to get THAT on DVD…

    Nolte has always been…enigmatic and compelling…what more can you ask for in an actor?

  6. The Original Denise says:

    Nick is a legend….his body of work speaks for itself. Living hard is what his generation are used to….

  7. Nancy says:

    He was awesome in Warrior I hope he gets a Oscar nom and wins.

  8. MJ says:

    That story about the crazy Hawaiian shirt mugshot is BS! It was clearly a digital photo, NOT a polaroid. Love the GHB stories, though… that is pretty shocking.

  9. Julie says:

    I absolutely love this man as an actor and it breaks my heart hearing about his abuse issues. Anyway, one of the oldies but goodies, along with Al Pacino, R. De Niro, Nicholson, etc.

  10. Turtle Dove says:

    “You don’t learn anything from success.”

    How true. It’s the failure and obstacles that shape who we are.

    Great actor. It is funny how Gangster Squad is being billed as the Gos show, but there are obviously other fantastic actors in this film.

  11. sandy says:

    long time fan, glad to see him return, a substantial actor.

  12. Vesper says:

    I can’t believe this is the same guy who played in “The Deep”. He was so hot then (granted it was filmed 30 years ago), but he has looked like crap for the last 25 years. Alcohol and aging well do not go together.

  13. Laura says:

    Maybe the full article makes the “crazy” more clear, but he seems pretty lucid in those quotes. That thing about waiting to cut the umbilical cord is real:

  14. MoMo says:

    Maybe they want to preserve the cord and stem cells in a blood bank for their daughter if she ever needs it medically.

  15. Nev says:

    loved him in Prince of Tides.