The smoke has cleared over Zuma Beach, where Nick Nolte's residence succumbed yesterday to a devastating fire that caused nearly $3 million in damage. And as much as we appreciate your helpful tips as to how that blaze began, officials have since confirmed that it all started with a faulty printer in Nolte's office. The dominos toppled from there, sending the Oscar-nominated actor out a window suffering from a cut on his hand, smoke in his lungs and a painstakingly built enclave burned to the ground. At which point we turn the story over one of Nolte's former profilers at Premiere, whose encomium today reminds Malibu — and all of us, really — the true scope of the catastrophe that transpired:
Nobody, however, had a house like Nick Nolte's. [...] We are told — in fact, it is part of my job to tell you — that celebrities are just like the rest of us. But that wasn't the case with the way Nolte lived here. For starters, it wasn't just one house but six separate houses on a six-acre compound by the Pacific. Nolte moved into a small pink house there shortly after 48 HRS and he slowly amassed a whole subsection of the neighborhood.
Tour the "Frankenstein-style science chamber" and "Dance Dance Revolution room" after the jump.
In a room off his bedroom, Nolte (at that time, at least) maintained a Frankenstein-style science chamber to monitor the condition of his blood. Under a giant cardboard cutout of Jesus, which Nolte plucked from the set of Lorenzo's Oil, the actor kept IV drip bags, hospital-grade oxygen canisters and flat-panel computer screens flickering with data about white and red cell counts and who knows what else. Nolte asked that day if he could have a drop of my blood. I declined. But he delighted in telling me about others who had taken the dare. Director Ang Lee's blood was "fascinating," he told me, saying he'd never seen anything shimmer like that. "You watch white cells surround bacteria. You see the death of things. It's better 'n television. His blood was glorious." [...] Nolte flashed a crooked smile and gestured to a now-popular Japanese arcade contraption known as Dance Dance Revolution. It blinked with colorful lights atop booming speakers and there was a light-up dance floor. Nolte fired it up and said, "We all have hand-eye coordination but not eye-foot. This machine challenges you to find a whole new set of learning muscles."
And there's more, including Nolte's poignant, semi-eerie declaration of love for the joint: "This is where I'm going to die. And then after I'm dead, this is where they'll bring my casket and where I'll rest in peace." Yikes. Considering Tuesday's alternative, is it awful of us to be relieved he'll have to resort to plan B?