Mike Nichols (born November 6 1931 as Michael Igor Peschkowsky in Berlin, Germany) is an Academy Award-winning movie and stage director of films such as The Graduate and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?.
Nichols was born to a Russian Jewish family in 1931. In 1939, his father fled the Nazis by moving the family to the U.S. While attending the University of Chicago in the 1950s, he began work in improvisational comedy with the Compass Players troupe (a precursor to The Second City) and later started the long-running Midnight Special folk music program on radio station WFMT. He teamed up to form a comedy team with Elaine May, with whom he appeared in nightclubs, on radio, released best-selling records, guested on several television programs and had their own show on Broadway before moving on to other pursuits in 1961. May frequently writes or re-writes scripts for Nichols, including The Birdcage and Primary Colors.
Nichols moved on to Broadway directing, helming such hits by Neil Simon as Barefoot in the Park and The Odd Couple. His first major film direction was the adaptation of another play, Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? in 1966, for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director. His next film, The Graduate, spoke to a disaffected generation and made Dustin Hoffman a star, and gave Nichols his Oscar.
He followed that up with more successes in Catch-22 and Carnal Knowledge, but two failures in the 1970s, The Day of the Dolphin and The Fortune, tarnished his reputation. Since then, he has moved on to more Broadway productions, and executive producing of television programs, including Family. He recently (2005) directed the movie "Closer" and the broadway play Spamalot.
Nichols has been married to TV journalist Diane Sawyer since April 29, 1988. Since May 2005 he's been a contributing blogger at The Huffington Post. He is also a teacher and founder of The New Actor's Workshop in New York City.
Nichols is one of the few people who have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony Award.
Nichols was a recipient of Kennedy Center Honors in 2003. He has also received the following Academy Awards and nominations:
- 1994 Nominated Best Picture The Remains of the Day (with John Calley and Ismail Merchant)
- 1989 Nominated Best Director Working Girl
- 1984 Nominated Best Director Silkwood
- 1968 Won Best Director The Graduate
- 1967 Nominated Best Director Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
He has also received the following Emmy Awards and nominations:
- 2004 Won Outstanding Directing For A Miniseries, Movie Or A Dramatic Special Angels in America
- 2004 Won Outstanding Miniseries Angels in America
- 2001 Won Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special Wit
- 2001 Won Outstanding Made for Television Movie Wit
- 2001 Nominated Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries or a Movie Wit
- 1977 Nominated Outstanding Drama Series Family
He won a Tony for best director for the broadway play Spamalot in 2005.