Nick Nolte

Cheers to Nick Nolte for racing back to the front of the pack with Luck.

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The veteran actor — who first became a star in the '70s miniseries Rich Man, Poor Man — had become a stumbling punchline after his notorious arrest a decade ago. Now he's at the top of his game again thanks to his knockout work as a pair of very different trainers: an alcoholic MMA coach in his Oscar-nominated performance in Warrior and an old stable hand in HBO's new horseracing drama. You can't help but feel like Nolte identifies with his Luck role as Walter Smith, aka the Old Man, a seemingly over-the-hill geezer who's enlivened to make one last run for glory.

TV Guide Magazine recently interviewed Nolte, who revealed that Luck creator David Milch had approached him to star in his last series, the ill-conceived (and —fated) John From Cincinnati. Nolte turned it down, he said, because he "didn't quite get that one." When Nick Nolte finds something incoherent, that's really saying something. But Milch and Nolte have started making sense again, and don't be surprised if the old acting pro rides this role all the way to an Emmy.

What do you think of Luck —a nd Nick Nolte?

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