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Mike Nichols (1931 – 2014)

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  • Macbeth
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    #166058

    Mike Nichols, one of the most acclaimed directors in the history of American film and stage, whose work included the movies “The Graduate” and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”, died suddenly on Wednesday night. He was 83.

    His death was announced Thursday morning by James Goldston, the president of ABC News, who described him as a “true visionary.” Nichols was married to the ABC anchor Diane Sawyer.

    Nichols was one of a handful of people to win an Emmy, a Tony, a Grammy and an Oscar. His canon included some of the defining American films of the second half of the 20th century, among them “Working Girl,” “Silkwood” and “The Birdcage.” He won the Oscar in 1968 for “The Graduate.”

    “There’s nothing better than discovering, to your own astonishment, what you’re meant to do,” he once said. “It’s like falling in love.”

    For the stage, he won more Tony Awards for direction of a play — six — than anyone else. Those included Neil Simon’s “Barefoot in the Park” in 1964 and “The Odd Couple” in 1965, and Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman” two years ago.

    “I think a director can make a play happen before your eyes so that you are part of it and it is part of you,” he once said. “If you can get it right, there’s no mystery. It’s not about mystery. It’s not even mysterious. It’s about our lives.”

    Nichols won nine Tony Awards in all, including two for producing and one for directing a musical, “Monty Python’s Spamalot” in 2005.

    “He is a giver,” the legendary playwright Tom Stoppard said in the ABC announcement. “He’s good at comfort and joy. He’s good at improving the shining hour and brightening the dark one, and, of course, he’s superlative fun. … To me he is the best of America.”

    Nichols’ work for television included “Angels in America,” the award-winning HBO miniseries about the AIDS crisis, in 2003.

    Before his death, he had been at work on an HBO adaptation of “Master Class,” the Terrence McNally play about the opera legend Maria Callas, which is to star Meryl Streep.

    Nichols was born Michael Igor Peschkowsky on Nov. 6, 1931, in Berlin. His family Nazi Germany for the United States when he was 7. He told The Associated Press in 1996 that at the time he knew how to say two things in English: “I don’t speak English” and “Please don’t kiss me.”

    Besides Sawyer, to whom he was married 26 years, Nichols is survived by three children and four grandchildren. The ABC announcement said that the family planned a small, private service this week and a memorial to be announced later.

    Reply
    M
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    #166060

    I thought about Master Class when I read the news. Officially and forever Elizabeth Taylor and Sandy Dennis are the only actors he directed to Oscar wins. Costars of the movie Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean—Sandy Dennis, Cher, and Kathy Bates all have Oscar nominations in supporting actress from a movie directed by Mike Nichols.

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    Halo_Insider
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    Jul 3rd, 2011
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    #166061

    Dear Lord. 

    Despite his age, this came as a bit of a shock to me. Nichols remained so active throughout his later years, and I thought we would get more still from him. I hope that he was at ease in his passing. He left behind an incredible legacy. 

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    Marcus Snowden (The Artist Formerly Known as msnowden1)
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    #166062

    Oh, my God, I did not see this coming at all. Words cannot express my grief at this moment.

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    Choice Chayawat
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    #166063

    Very sad. A huge loss to the film, TV and theater industry. He had a few projects in development that hopefully still go on in his honor.

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    ETPhoneHome
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    Jan 3rd, 2013
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    #166064

    Wow, looking over his career, it’s hard to believe that he achieved that much as a director. He will be sorely missed.

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    AviChristiaans
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    Jul 26th, 2013
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    #166065


    One of my favorite Directors/Writers. He
    was simply the best, his way of drawing raw emotion in his films, he was great with actors and a wonderful storyteller, and the human
    nature aspect in his films was very unique in a way. And by God , he was the only
    one to draw amazing performances from Emma
    Thomp
    son
    .

    I will forever thank him for :

    Wit,
    Silkwood

    and of cousre The
    Graduate
    .

    R.I.P Mr Nichols.


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    Macbeth
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    #166066

    This is absolutely heartbreaking. He was one of my all-time favorites. What is even sadder is that he is now the second amazing director to die on my birthday, with the other being Robert Altman in 2006 

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    Berlin2002
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    Dec 29th, 2011
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    #166067

     And here’s to you Mr. Nichols…heaven holds a place…

                 
                           coo coo ca choo….

                         May you forever dream with angels.

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    GhostOrchid
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    Sep 27th, 2011
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    #166068

    What a year, taking legends after legends.

    He was so great, I loved all his movies and at least enjoyed the “lesser” ones.
    I’ll miss him so much.

    RIP

    I thought about Master Class when I read the news. Officially and forever Elizabeth Taylor and Sandy Dennis are the only actors he directed to Oscar wins.

    Ehm, Master Class was supposed to be a TV movie, so it would have competed for the Emmy’s.
    He has directed a mutiple Emmy winning masterpiece of a Mini Series:Angels in America.

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    benbraddock
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    #166069

    My name here should tell most of you that I was a huge
    of MIKE NICHOLS and many of his legendary films…I am
    devastated with this terribly sudden sad news…I just had
    the pleasure of seeing him in the theater with his lovely wife
    back in June..we were attending Audra’s LADY DAY…We spoke
    briefly and he seemed absolutely fine..sharp as ever and as
    always, totally engaging…We discussed his past projects and
    he was excited to be working with Meryl Streep again…He didnt
    divulge the project as all contracts were not signed back then..
    I left the theater that night as ever, excited for the next Mike Nichols
    project..Diane sawyer just lost her mother a few weeks ago, and
    now comes this !  My heart goes out to the family and friends who
    adored him…The Graduate and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,
    IMO, are the clearest case of a director making back to back
    masterpieces that have both become iconic as of today, and
    other films of his show his brilliant talent as a film director..His
    stage work is legendary in  its scope and longevity…and Angels
    IN America on HBO is a film that soars with the Nichols touches.
    he was masterful with actors getting brilliant performances from
    the likes of TAYLOR, BURTON, BANCROFT, HOFFMAN, STREEP
    Julia Roberts , Harrison Ford, Robin Williams, Nathan Lane, Emma Thompson
    Cher, Shirley MacLaine and even Melanie Griffith…Thank goodness
    we all have his films to watch over and over…I intend to watch
    a few this weekend just for the joy of remembering his singular
    style of film making..He will be sorely missed and I personally have
    lost my favorite director of all time…

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    Berlin2002
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    Joined:
    Dec 29th, 2011
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    Posts:
    #166070

    My name here should tell most of you that I was a huge
    of MIKE NICHOLS and many of his legendary films…I am
    devastated with this terribly sudden sad news…I just had
    the pleasure of seeing him in the theater with his lovely wife
    back in June..we were attending Audra’s LADY DAY…We spoke
    briefly and he seemed absolutely fine..sharp as ever and as
    always, totally engaging…We discussed his past projects and
    he was excited to be working with Meryl Streep again…He didnt
    divulge the project as all contracts were not signed back then..
    I left the theater that night as ever, excited for the next Mike Nichols
    project..Diane sawyer just lost her mother a few weeks ago, and
    now comes this !  My heart goes out to the family and friends who
    adored him…The Graduate and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,
    IMO, are the clearest case of a director making back to back
    masterpieces that have both become iconic as of today, and
    other films of his show his brilliant talent as a film director..His
    stage work is legendary in  its scope and longevity…and Angels
    IN America on HBO is a film that soars with the Nichols touches.
    he was masterful with actors getting brilliant performances from
    the likes of TAYLOR, BURTON, BANCROFT, HOFFMAN, STREEP
    Julia Roberts , Harrison Ford, Robin Williams, Nathan Lane, Emma Thompson
    Cher, Shirley MacLaine and even Melanie Griffith…Thank goodness
    we all have his films to watch over and over…I intend to watch
    a few this weekend just for the joy of remembering his singular
    style of film making..He will be sorely missed and I personally have
    lost my favorite director of all time…

    Thanks for sharing that beautiful memory. Mike Nichols was the best, always will be.

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    Choice Chayawat
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    Jul 2nd, 2011
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    Atypical
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    Dec 1st, 2011
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    #166072

    Such sad news to hear about Mike Nichols’s passing. This is a staggering loss to the film community.

    RIP to one of the all-time legends. 🙁

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    Milo Kunis
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    Sep 28th, 2011
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    #166073

    Very, very sad news. Such a talented director who helped change the lanscape of films.

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