February 1, 1948 - June 29, 2017
Nick was an actor, both stage & screen, movies & television, a dancer, a stuntman, a fight choreographer, a roku-dan/6th Degree Black Belt in Aikido, a sculptor, a painter, a singer, a stand-up comedian, a musician, a teacher of acting & Aikido, Arjuna's labor foreman, and my long time, much admired, much respected & much loved friend.
Ask most people who knew him what he was in this life and they would say a martial artist & teacher. Ask Nick and he would always say, "I'm an actor."
To me, the most pronounced aspect of his character was his integrity. I've never known another woman or man with such profound integrity in every & any action, large or small.
The next thing would be his limitless creativity. Nick began his martial arts study at 12 years old, spent 10 years in Japan studying Aikido during his 20s, and returned to the US in 1982, and has been teaching ever since.
He started acting in high school, studied acting & ballet in college, and has performed in theater, dance companies, movies & TV. You've seen him be slapped by Karl Malden as the assassin of Michael Douglas in Streets Of San Francisco, ravage Sigourney Weaver in a movie, and play countless bad guys, and the occasional good guy. His favorite roles were either Shakespearean or Dr. Frankenstein.
That wasn't enough.
When Nick turned 50, he wanted to sculpt, so he got some clay and taught himself to sculpt. That morphed into sculptures using construction tie wire. He invented a way to spin it, and created many unique sculptures.
He wanted to draw, so he got some colored pencils and a pad of drawing paper and taught himself to draw, then various kinds of paint and learned their application.
I used to tease him that I could always spot his drawings because of the way he drew feet. His forms improved over the years, but the unique way he drew feet always stayed the same.
You could see Nick all over Sausalito, or on the bus with his art pad and his pencils, scribbling away. I was lucky enough to be shown lots of his work in progress. An artist needs an audience, and he would come by and lay out his latest works for me to check out.
Nick attended Shari Carlson's Acting Class for years. For one period of time their assignment was to compose a song and sing it in public along with accompaniment.
Then there was the assignment of composing a stand-up comedy routine and performing it in public. To me, that took the most stones of anything he did. You're out there all alone, and the audience either laughs, or they don't...They did!
Monologues at the Trieste and other venues
But the best monologue Nick ever did had Tony Briggs, Jason Dudley & me for an audience. We were excavating underneath a house in a bitter cold November, using a jack hammer and carrying the dirt out in 5 gallon buckets, miserable work.
There we were in that cold dark dank basement, and all of a sudden Nick threw down the jack hammer and launched into the soliloquy from Shakespeare's Richard the 3rd. On & on he went, every verse memorized and us mesmerized.
Nick's last creative venture was to learn to play guitar. I got to contribute to that effort by scoring a very nice Martin guitar from a friend, gave it to Nick and away he went. Every day, some time spent playing the guitar.
10,000 games of chess, many joints smoked, much deep and wide ranging conversation. Many beautiful and useful things designed and built together, especially yoga and dance studios, and the dojo for City Aikido.
I could not imagine or have wished for a more loyal, devoted, & supportive friend, my brother from another mother...A Yogi and a Samurai
His suffering is over, and now Nick knows what comes next...
Jamie Lamka (6/29/2017)