In Memoriam: Mike Nichols (11/6/1931 - 11/17/2014)

by Jacob Coakley
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On Wednesday, Nov. 17, legendary director Mike Nichols died of cardiac arrest. Nichols was among the most celebrated people in the history of show business, one of only a handful of people to win an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award. Mike Nichols has won more Tony Awards for Best Direction of a Play than any other individual. His six nods were for Barefoot in the Park (1964), Luv and The Odd Couple (1965), Plaza Suite (1968), The Prisoner of Second Avenue (1972), The Real Thing (1984), and Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman (2012). He has also won in other categories for directing the musical Monty Python's Spamalot (2005), and for producing Annie (1977) and The Real Thing (1984) under the company he founded, Icarus Productions, making it a total of nine Tony Award wins. He also received eight additional nominations.

Nichols started out on Broadway as a performer in An Evening With Mike Nichols and Elaine May, which he co-wrote with May. The show premiered in 1960 and ran for 306 performances. His full Broadway biography can be found on The Internet Broadway Database (ibdb.com) here.

He made his cinematic directorial debut directing Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf and later won the Academy Award for his direction of The Graduate.

In June 2012, at age 80, he accepted the Tony for directing “Salesman.” In his acceptance speech for the award he recalled that he once won a pie-eating contest in that very theatre. “It was nice, but this is nicer,” he said. “You see before you a happy man.”

He is survived by his wife, Diane Sawyer; his three children Daisy, Max and Jenny; and four grandchildren. Among his upcoming projects, Nichols was slated to helm a screen adaptation of Terrence McNally's Master Class starring Meryl Streep as Maria Callas.