He played a suicidal bum in "Down and Out in Beverly Hills," but Nick Nolte was crowned king of Hollywood on Monday with a star on the iconic Walk of Fame.
The 76-year-old actor was honored for a career spanning five decades that has seen him lavished with acclaim, not to mention three Oscar nominations.
Sporting a business suit and a thick white beard, the famously gruff-voiced actor gave a shorter than usual acceptance speech celebrating the magic of Tinseltown rather than dwelling on his own career.
"There's a reason why this street and this town is such a center to the United States and to the world, the center of filmmaking," he told fans gathered on Hollywood Boulevard.
"That's because they honored the street with these stars along the way, and that's unlike any other street in LA."
Nolte has made a name for hard partying off screen and playing brusque, unstable characters on screen, including a hard-nosed cop in "48 Hrs." (1982) and a rapist's lawyer in "Cape Fear" (1991).
He first gained fame for his starring role in the 1976 ABC miniseries "Rich Man, Poor Man," which brought him an Emmy nomination for outstanding lead actor.
He has best actor Oscar nominations for his roles as a troubled man who falls in love with his sister's psychiatrist in "The Prince of Tides" (1991) and as a small-town New Hampshire police officer in "Affliction" (1997).
He was also nominated for his supporting role as the father of battling brothers in powerful fighter movie "Warrior" (2011).
Nolte, who currently stars in Epix comedy "Graves," was born on February 8, 1941 in Omaha, Nebraska, and moved to Southern California after graduating from high school, playing football at Pasadena City College.
He became interested in acting when he accompanied a friend to an audition for the ABC prime-time soap opera "Peyton Place" and ended being roped in to read a part.
After 20 years on the stage, Nolte's first starring film role came in 1977 as a scuba diver whose discovery of artifacts from a sunken ship sets off a series of events in "The Deep."
He had to wait another five years, though, for his big-screen breakthrough, starring opposite Eddie Murphy in "48 Hrs."
Other memorable films include "Who'll Stop The Rain," "North Dallas Forty," "Heart Beat" and "Cannery Row."
Gavin O'Connor, who directed "Warrior," described the actor in a poetic tribute as as "humble," but "crazy to the bone" and "a master of his craft."
"As an actor, Nick has one of the greatest listeners' ears I've ever witnessed, and a voice that sounds like he swallowed a bag of nails," he said.