Birth name Michael Igor Peschkowsky NationalityUSA Birth 6 november 1931 at Berlin (German) Death 19 november 2014 (at 83 years) at New York City (USA) Awards Primetime Emmy Award, National Medal of Arts, Academy Award for Best Director
Mike Nichols (born Mikhail Igor Peschkowsky; November 6, 1931 – November 19, 2014) was a German-born American film and theatre director, producer, actor and comedian. He was noted for his ability to work across a range of genres and an aptitude for getting the best out of actors regardless of their acting 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 acts were a hit on Broadway resulting in three albums, with their debut album winning a Grammy Award.
After Nichols and May disbanded their act in 1961, Nichols began directing plays. He soon earned a reputation as a skilled Broadway director with a flair for creating innovative productions and the ability to elicit polished performances from actors. His debut Broadway play was Neil Simons Barefoot in the Park in 1963, with Robert Redford and Elizabeth Ashley. He next directed Luv in 1964 and in 1965 directed another Neil Simon play, The Odd Couple. Nichols received a Tony Award for each of those plays. Nearly five decades later, he won his sixth Tony Award as best director with a revival of Death of a Salesman in 2012. During his career, he directed or produced over twenty-five Broadway plays.
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 and acclaimed film led critics to declare Nichols the "new Orson Welles". The film garnered 13 Academy Award nominations, winning five. It was also a box office hit and became the number 1 film of 1966. His next film was The Graduate in 1967, starring then unknown actor Dustin Hoffman, alongside Anne Bancroft and Katharine Ross. The film was another critical and financial success, becoming the highest grossing film of 1967 and receiving seven Academy Award nominations, wining Nichols the Academy Award for Best Directing. Among the other films he directed were Catch-22 (1970), Carnal Knowledge (1971), Silkwood (1983), Working Girl (1988), The Birdcage (1996), Closer (2004), and Charlie Wilson's War (2007).
Along with an Academy Award, Nichols won a Grammy Award (the first for a comedian born outside the United States), four Emmy Awards and nine Tony Awards. Nichols is one of only two people who can claim a PEGOT, having received Peabody, Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards. He was also a three-time BAFTA Award winner. 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 garnered a total of 42 Academy Award nominations and seven wins. In 2016, PBS will air an American Masters documentary about Nichols, to be directed by his former improv partner, Elaine May.
Nichols was married four times. The first three ended in divorce; the last ended upon his death. His first marriage was to Patricia Scott; they were married from 1957 to 1960. His second was to Margot Callas, a former "muse" of the poet Robert Graves from 1963 to 1974; the couple produced a daughter, Daisy Nichols. His third marriage, to Annabel Davis-Goff, produced two children, Max Nichols and Jenny Nichols; they were divorced in 1986. His fourth was to former ABC World News anchor Diane Sawyer, whom he married on April 29, 1988.
Nichols' grandfather, Gustav Landauer, was a leading theorist on anarchism in the early 20th century. According to research done by Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., of Harvard University, for the PBS series Faces of America (2010), Nichols is related to Albert Einstein, who was a third cousin on his mother's side.
Among Nichols' personal pursuits was a lifelong interest in Arabian horses. From 1968 to 2004, he owned a farm in Connecticut and was a noted horse breeder. Over the years, he also imported quality Arabian horses from Poland, some of which later resold for record-setting prices.
, 1h44 Directed byMike Nichols OriginUSA GenresDrama, Comedy-drama, Romance ThemesFilms about writers, Films about sexuality, Théâtre, Films based on plays, Striptease ActorsJulia Roberts, Jude Law, Natalie Portman, Clive Owen, Colin Stinton, Elizabeth Bower Rating71% In the opening scene, twenty-four-year-old Alice Ayres (Natalie Portman) and Dan Woolf (Jude Law) see each other for the first time from opposite sides of a street as they are walking toward each other among many other rush hour pedestrians. Alice is a young American stripper who just arrived in London, and Dan is an unsuccessful British author who is on his way to work where he writes obituaries for a newspaper. Alice looks in the wrong direction as she crosses the street and is hit by a taxi cab right in front of Dan's eyes. After he rushes to her side she smiles to him and says, "Hello, stranger." He takes her to the hospital where Alice is treated and released. Afterward, on the way to his office, they stop by Postman's Park, the same park that he and his father visited after his mother's death. Pausing in front of the office before he leaves her and goes to work, he reminds her that traffic in England tends to come on from the right, and on impulse, he asks her for her name. They soon become lovers.
, 5h52 Directed byMike Nichols GenresDrama, Fantasy ActorsAl Pacino, Meryl Streep, Patrick Wilson, Mary-Louise Parker, Emma Thompson, Justin Kirk Rating81% It is 1985: Ronald Reagan is in the White House, and AIDS is causing wide-scale death in America. In Manhattan, Prior Walter tells Louis, his lover of four years, that he has AIDS; Louis, unable to handle it, leaves him. As disease and loneliness ravage Prior, guilt invades Louis. Joe Pitt, a Mormon and Republican attorney, is pushed by right-wing fixer Roy Cohn toward a job at the United States Department of Justice. Both Pitt and Cohn are in the closet: Pitt out of shame and religious turmoil, Cohn to preserve his power and image. Pitt's wife Harper is strung out on Valium, causing her to hallucinate constantly (sometimes jointly with Prior during his fever dreams), and she longs to escape from her sexless marriage. An angel with ulterior motives commands Prior to become a prophet. Pitt's mother and Belize, a close friend and drag queen, help Prior choose. Joe leaves his wife and goes to live with Louis, but the relationship doesn't work out due to ideological differences. Roy is diagnosed with AIDS early on, and as his life comes to a close he is haunted by the ghost of Ethel Rosenberg.
, 1h39 Directed byMike Nichols OriginUSA GenresDrama, Comedy-drama ThemesFilms about education, Medical-themed films, Films about cancer, Films based on plays ActorsEmma Thompson, Christopher Lloyd, Audra McDonald, Eileen Atkins, Benedict Wong, Jonathan M. Woodward Rating79% Vivian Bearing (Emma Thompson) is a professor of English literature known for her intense knowledge of metaphysical poetry, especially the Holy Sonnets of John Donne. Her life takes a turn when she is diagnosed with metastatic Stage IV ovarian cancer. Oncologist Harvey Kelekian prescribes various chemotherapy treatments to treat her disease, and as she suffers through the various side-effects (such as fever, chills, vomiting, and abdominal pain), she attempts to put everything in perspective. The story periodically flashes back to previous moments in her life, including her childhood, her graduate school studies, and her career prior to her diagnosis. During the course of the film, she continually breaks the fourth wall by looking into the camera and expressing her feelings.
, 2h23 Directed byMike Nichols OriginUSA GenresDrama, Biography, Comedy, Comedy-drama ThemesPolitique, Political films ActorsJohn Travolta, Emma Thompson, Billy Bob Thornton, Kathy Bates, Adrian Lester, Maura Lynn Tierney Rating65% Young political idealist Henry Burton (Adrian Lester) is recruited to join the campaign of Jack Stanton (John Travolta), a charismatic Southern governor who is trying to win the Democratic Party nomination for President of the United States. Henry is impressed by Stanton's genuine warmth and empathy with people. He joins Stanton's inner circle of political advisers: Stanton's formidable wife, Susan Stanton (Emma Thompson); ruthless, redneck political strategist Richard Jemmons (Billy Bob Thornton); intelligent and attractive spokeswoman Daisy Green (Maura Tierney); and sly political operator Howard Ferguson (Paul Guilfoyle) as they journey to New Hampshire, the first state to hold a presidential primary.
, 1h41 Directed byMike Nichols OriginUSA GenresDrama, Comedy, Comedy-drama ThemesFilms about families, Medical-themed films, Films about drugs, Films about television ActorsMeryl Streep, Shirley MacLaine, Dennis Quaid, Gene Hackman, Rob Reiner, Richard Dreyfuss Rating66% Actress Suzanne Vale (Meryl Streep) is a recovering drug addict trying to pick up the pieces of her acting career and get on with her life after being discharged from a rehab center to kick a cocaine-acid-Percodan habit; after overdosing while on a date, her mother admitted her to the rehab center from the emergency room. When she is ready to return to work her agent advises her the studio's insurance policy will cover her only if she lives with a "responsible" individual such as her mother Doris Mann (Shirley MacLaine) who was the reigning musical comedy star of the 1950s and '60s. Suzanne is very reluctant to return to the woman she struggled to escape from for years after growing up in her shadow. The situation is not helped by the fact that Doris is loud, competitive, manipulative, self-absorbed and given to offering her daughter unsolicited advice with insinuating value judgments while treating her like a child.
, 1h55 Directed byMike Nichols OriginUSA GenresDrama, Comedy, Comedy-drama, Romantic comedy, Romance ThemesL'usurpation d'identité, Musical films, Children's films, Escroquerie ActorsMelanie Griffith, Harrison Ford, Sigourney Weaver, Alec Baldwin, Joan Cusack, Philip Bosco Rating67% Tess McGill (Melanie Griffith) is an Irish American working-class stockbroker's secretary from Staten Island with a bachelor's degree in Business from evening classes. She dreams of an executive position. Tricked by her boss (Oliver Platt) into a date with his lascivious colleague (Kevin Spacey), she gets into trouble by publicly insulting him and is reassigned as secretary to a new financial executive, Katharine Parker (Sigourney Weaver). Seemingly supportive, Katharine encourages Tess to share ideas. Tess suggests that a client, Trask Industries, should invest in radio to gain a foothold in media. Katharine listens to the idea and says she'll pass it through some people. Later, she says the idea wasn't well received. But when Katharine breaks her leg skiing in Europe, she asks Tess to house-sit. While at Katharine's place, Tess discovers some meeting notes where Katharine plans to pass off the merger idea as her own. At home, Tess finds her boyfriend (Alec Baldwin) in bed with another woman. Disillusioned, she returns to Katharine's apartment and begins her transformation.
, 1h48 Directed byMike Nichols OriginUSA GenresDrama, Comedy, Comedy-drama, Romance ThemesFilms about writers, Films about journalists ActorsMeryl Streep, Jack Nicholson, Stockard Channing, Jeff Daniels, Miloš Forman, Maureen Stapleton Rating61% New York City food writer Rachel Samstat and Washington, D.C. political columnist Mark Forman meet at a mutual friend's wedding and, after a whirlwind courtship, they marry, despite Rachel's reservations. They purchase a dilapidated Georgetown townhouse in Washington D.C. and the ongoing and seemingly never-ending renovations create some stress in their relationship. Rachel, overjoyed to discover she is pregnant, is determined to make her marriage work and becomes a stay-at-home mom. When she discovers evidence of Mark's extramarital affair with socialite Thelma Rice during her pregnancy with her second child, she leaves him and takes their daughter Annie to New York, where she moves in with her father and tries to jump start her career. Mark eventually convinces her to return home, but when it is obvious his philandering will never end, Rachel leaves him for good.