wolf of wall street jordan belfort orig jtb_00011511.jpg
Wild life of the REAL Wolf of Wall Street
02:36 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

Jordan Belfort was the self-proclaimed 'Wolf of Wall Street'

He served 22 months in prison for stock fraud

Leonardo DiCaprio plays Belfort in Martin Scorsese's new film

Manhattan Beach, California CNN  — 

The Wolf of Wall Street vividly remembers he was so stoned out of his mind at that mahogany-laden restaurant with the imposing edifice, while savoring a bottle of 1945 Chateau Lafite Rothschild, running up a $30,000 tab in one night.

After all, it was just dinner.

In the 1990s, Jordan Belfort was already the self-proclaimed king of the world, raking in nearly a million dollars a week, all the while fashioning himself an ultra-hip, white Ferrari Testarossa-driving Don Johnson from Miami Vice.


And then there were the women.

The real ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ on Leo DiCaprio’s portrayal

Throw in a steady stream of salaciousness with stunning strippers and call girls, ungodly quantities of Quaaludes, cocaine and assorted excesses that rivaled Sodom and Gomorrah and you have something close to describing Jordan Belfort’s life. Or what was his life.

“Once I scuba dived on four Quaaludes and passed out at the bottom of the ocean, you know, 60 feet under, and somehow made it up alive,” he recalled in a 2008 interview with a degree of both relish and self-loathing.

These days, the hoopla is on land.

The three-hour Martin Scorsese-directed epic based on Belfort’s life and bestselling book, “The Wolf of Wall Street,” premieres on December 25. If you are looking for a Christmas morality tale, this isn’t it. The real king of the world, Leonardo DiCaprio, portrays Belfort.

Photos: Hollywood takes on Wall Street

The film, which also stars Jonah Hill and Matthew McConaughey, portrays Belfort’s world and the people who worked for him in what was a fraudulent stock enterprise. Belfort’s then-wife Nadine, who he calls “The Duchess” in his book, is played by Margot Robbie.

Belfort’s millions were based on a huge lie, a massive “pump and dump” stock scheme at the firm he started called Stratton Oakmont. It wasn’t on Wall Street, but in Lake Success on Long Island.

Along the way, it was the firm’s outrageous office antics and parties that would cement the legend of Jordan Belfort. In more than 2½ hours of home videos obtained by CNN from a 1991 party in the Hamptons and another on his yacht, Belfort appears downright giddy, reminiscent of one of his favorite movie characters, Gordon Gekko from the film “Wall Street.”

Addressing the throngs of Strattonites at the 1991 party, Belfort declares, “And I make one more guarantee. Six months from now, what you’re doing right now is going to be nothing again. OK, that’s the bottom line. The guys who are doing 200, will be doing 400, the guys doing 400 will be doing 600. And they’ll still be one guy that is going to break that million dollar for the month.”

The real ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ sounds off on the film

Looking back on those parties, Belfort told us in 2008, “On Wall Street, it’s like boom. You just jump to the top of the heap and it’s just mind-boggling, and that’s what really turned me on. And then of course, you know the thousand-dollar suits, the gold watches and the drinking at lunch, and the cocaine at the end of the day. … It was almost like adult Disneyland for dysfunctional people.”

In other words, instant gratification.

“Was sleeping with a hooker about the instant gratification of sex? No. I think for me it was probably more about power. And I think, it’s more about status on Wall Street. … I got very little enjoyment from that whole, you know, prostitution thing.”

Greed as Belfort knew it, he says, is not good.

“The greed’s good to a point until it reverses on you and makes you into a monster. You know, there were times I look back at the way I acted and some of the things I did – I was a monster.”