Nick Nolte Looks Back on His Movie Roles, Drugs, & Mug Shots

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“The best way to deal with the biggest mistakes in your life is to discuss them. With everybody, including God,” says Nolte to The Associated Press while talking about the two mugshots he has had, one in 1961 and the other in 2002.

Nick Nolte during The Beautiful Country Press Conference
Photo by Vera Anderson/WireImage

While he openly discusses both the events in his memoir “Rebel: My Life Outside the Lines,” Nolte talks especially about his first arrest and other incidents that left a mark on him, spanning across his life.

On First Mugshots and Befriending Cops

In 1961, Nolte got caught selling counterfeit draft cards and was sentenced to 45 years in prison. The teenager, however, got spared from jail thanks to a compassionate judge. In his mugshot, a young Nolte sports short hair and a button-down shirt.

Nick Nolte Mug Shot
Photo by Kypros/Getty Images

After receiving several concerns regarding Nolte’s speeding problem while he was at a community college in Arizona, the court reached an agreement with his football coach. Nolte would attend classes in the mornings, practice in the afternoons, and spend every night in prison. In a few days, he managed to charm the policemen and wound up patrolling with them.

The Infamous Arrest in 2002

Nolte was detained on the Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, on September 11 after a California Highway Patrol officer stated he was “weaving and driving erratically.” He was charged with one count of driving while intoxicated and another count of being under the influence of the narcotic gamma-hydroxybutyrate, or GHB.

Nick Nolte Mug Shot, 2002
Photo by Kypros/Getty Images

This led to his second mugshot in a flower-print Hawaiian shirt. “I needed help,” he wrote in his memoir. After years of sobriety, he finally laughed it off and admitted, “I take full responsibility for that one.”

The Bad Boy Takes the Stage

The memoir follows the growth in popularity of Nolte, who was known for his strange penchant for head-butting parked automobiles and breaking the law. He was a born jock from the Midwest who rose to stardom after switching from stage to screen.

Nick Nolte, circa 1978.
Photo By Getty Images/ Michael Ochs Archives

It was the risk-taking factor of the acting industry that attracted him. “Actors are risk-takers.” he stated, “And they’re taking risks for their own sanity.”

Emulsing Himself into Roles Through Drugs and Dog Food

His biography details his voracious hunger for drugs such as cocaine, HGH, GHB, and LSD. Nolte also had his film “Under Fire” smuggled across the borders of Mexico, unknown to the government, and saved the movie.

Nutsa Kukhianidze, Nick Nolte, and Tcheky Karyo
Actors Nutsa Kukhianidze (L), Nick Nolte, and Tcheky Karyo pose at the premiere of “The Good Thief.” Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

For his movie “Down and Out in Beverly Hills,” he reveals that he ate genuine dog food and that he used actual heroin during the eight-week filming of the movie “The Good Thief” to understand his character and better depict a heroin addict.

The Nasty Side of Tinseltown

Recalling his own casting couch incident, Nolte talks about a Hollywood agent who had invited him over for dinner at his Bel Air house. The agent turned up wearing only a dressing gown, approaching him with the words “hello, cuddle bunny” and causing Nolte to race out the door.

LA Premiere Of Lionsgate's
Photo by Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic

When talking about Harvey Weinstein, the former Miramax CEO who was known to be a brutal film editor and accused of sexual misconduct on many occasions, Nolte says that he wasn’t very fond of him or the company. Weinstein had been notorious for shelving films, coercing him into a role, and being manipulative during awards.