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Mike Nichols

Film director

Died when: 83 years 13 days (996 months)
Star Sign: Scorpio

 

Mike Nichols

Mike Nichols (born Igor Mikhail Peschkowsky;November 6, 1931 – November 19, 2014) was an American film and theater director, producer, actor, and comedian.

He was noted for his ability to work across a range of genres and for his aptitude for getting the best out of actors regardless of their experience.

Nichols began his career in the 1950s with the comedy improvisational troupe The Compass Players, predecessor of The Second City, in Chicago.

He then teamed up with his improv partner, Elaine May, to form the comedy duo Nichols and May.Their live improv act was a hit on Broadway, and the first of their three albums won a Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album.

After Nichols and May disbanded in 1961, he began directing plays, and quickly became known for his innovative productions and ability to elicit polished performances.

His Broadway directing debut was Neil Simon's Barefoot in the Park in 1963, with Robert Redford and Elizabeth Ashley.He continued to direct plays on Broadway including, Luv (1964), and The Odd Couple (1965) for which he received Tony Awards for each of those plays.

In 2012, he won his sixth Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play with a revival of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman starring Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Nichols directed and/or produced more than 25 Broadway plays throughout his prolific career.In 1966, Warner Brothers invited Nichols to direct his first film, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.

The groundbreaking film inspired some critics to declare Nichols the "new Orson Welles".It won five Academy Awards (out of 13 nominations) and was the top-grossing film of 1966.

His next film, The Graduate (1967), starred then unknown actor Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft.It was another critical and financial success, became the highest-grossing film of the year, and received seven Academy Award nominations, winning Nichols the Academy Award for Best Director.

Among the other films Nichols directed were Catch-22 (1970), Carnal Knowledge (1971), Silkwood (1983), Working Girl (1988), Postcards from the Edge (1990) The Birdcage (1996), Primary Colors (1998), Closer (2004) and Charlie Wilson's War (2007).

Nichols also was known for work on television directing HBO's Wit (2001) with Emma Thompson and Angels in America (2003) starring Meryl Streep.

Along with an Academy Award, Nichols won a Grammy Award (the first for a comedian born outside the United States), four Emmy Awards, nine Tony Awards, and three BAFTA Awards.

His other honors included the Lincoln Center Gala Tribute in 1999, the National Medal of Arts in 2001, the Kennedy Center Honors in 2003 and the AFI Life Achievement Award in 2010.

His films received a total of 42 Academy Award nominations, and seven wins.He is one of the few people to have won Academy, Emmy, Grammy and Tony Awards.


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