Produced on November 6, 1931, Mike Nichols immigrated to America from Germany with his family in age 7. His early movies include Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) and The Graduate (1967), that he received an Academy Award for the best director. Nichols died of cardiac arrest on November 19, 2014 in age 83.
The son of Jewish parents, he immigrated to America in 1938 to escape from Nazi Germany. The son of Jewish parents was just 7 years old when he left Germany with his smaller brother, Robert. The brothers met up with their dad, Paul, in the United States, as well as their mother, Brigitte, could reunite with them two years later.
Based on Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s novel Faces of America, Nichols just understood two sentences in English before arriving in America: “I do not talk English” and “Please, do not kiss me.” The family settled in nyc, where Nichols’s dad shortly created a medical practice. His dad also altered the family’s last name to Nichols after reaching their new house.
After his dad’s passing, Nichols and his family struggled financially. His father worked to support himself through his school years in the University of Chicago, after which time he studied acting under Lee Strasberg in nyc. The pair became a successful couple in the late 1950s. A decade later, they took their act to Broadway, where they won over critics and crowds alike.
Nichols’s early career also thrived to the big screen. His first movie as a director was Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Then he won an Academy Award for the best director in 1967 for The Graduate, which starred Anne Bancroft and Dustin Hoffman.
Nichols also earned Oscar nominations for directing the Meryl Streep play Silkwood (1983) as well as the Harrison Ford-Melanie Griffith comedy Working Girl.
Nichols continued to really have a varied profession, managing comedy, play as well as musicals with remarkable ability, in his later years. Nichols directed and produced Closer (2004), a black movie at sex and relationships starring Julia Roberts, Clive Owen, Jude Law and Natalie Portman. On Broadway, Nichols won a Tony in 2005 for his work with the musical Spamalot, on the basis of the Monty Python film The Holy Grail. A couple of years later, Nichols brought the political play Charlie Wilson’s War, starring Tom Hanks, to the big screen.
Nichols continued to pursue his love for Broadway the next year, directing the Harold Pinter play Betrayal, which starred real life couple Rachel Weisz and Daniel Craig. In 2014, Nichols was involved in accommodating Master Class,Terence McNally’s Tony Award-winning playabout opera legend Maria Callas, for HBO. Meryl Streep was in discussions to star in the job.
Mike Nichols wed ABC news anchor Diane Sawyer in April 1988. Nichols was formerly married to Patricia Scott (1957 60), Margo Callas (1963 74) and Annabel Davis-Goff (1975 86), and had three children: Daisy (produced in 1964), Max (born in 1974) and Jenny (produced in 1977). Nichols died after suffering cardiac arrest at his residence on November 19, 2014. Nichols was 83.