Mike Nichols was a German-born American film and theatre director, producer, actor and comedian. He, along with the other members of the "Compass Players" including Elaine May,Paul Sills, Byrne Piven, Joyce Hiller Piven and Edward Asner helped start the famed "Second City Improv" company. They used the games taught to them by fellow cast mate, Paul Sills 's mother, Viola Spolin. Nichols's impressive five-decade career won him an Oscar, four Emmys, nine Tonys, a Grammy and AFI and Kennedy Center honors, among several other accolades.
Nichols (one of America’s most celebrated directors) started taking those chances in the 1960s and began to guide such enduring efforts as the films Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Graduate (Best Director Oscar), Carnal Knowledge, Silkwood and Working Girl, as well as Catch-22, Heartburn, Postcards from the Edge and The Birdcage; the Broadway smashes Annie, Spamalot, Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing and Neil Simon's The Odd Couple and Plaza Suite, among others; and the Emmy-laden HBO miniseries Angels in America. His death was announced by James Goldston, the president of ABC News. Mr. Nichols was married to the ABC broadcaster Diane Sawyer. A network spokeswoman said the cause was cardiac arrest, giving no other details. “I’ve always been impressed by the fact that upon entering a room full of people, you find them saying one thing, doing another and wishing they were doing a third,” he said in a 1965 interview with the weekly newspaper The National Observer, now defunct. “I think maybe my subject is the relationships between men and women,” Mr. Nichols said in an interview with The Washington Post in 1986, “centered around a bed.” “Most of the time people thought we were making fun of others, when we were making fun of ourselves,” Mr. Nichols said in 2000. Mr. Nichols was born Mikhail Igor Peschkowsky in Berlin on Nov. 6, 1931. “I never had a friend from the time I came to this country until I got to the University of Chicago,” he told one interviewer. To another, he described the university as “paradise.” He had a knack for popular, intelligent entertainment. People still remind their childhood and adolescence were spent in the 'Graduate' at theater during the sixties and early seventies. Many parts of the movie still bring tears to eyes, particularly the enigmatic ending.
Nichols' name on any film or play was always the most incredible experience. Who can forget "Carnal Knowledge"? The monologue of Jack Nicholson's at the close!! Or "The Graduate," with that insane ending and yet so utterly true.
Thank you Mike Nichols, for your beautiful stories that could touch anyone, anywhere.
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