by Justin Cook
Mike Nichols, acclaimed director of such classic films as The Graduate and Working Girl, has passed away at the age of 83.
The legendary film and theater director died after falling into cardiac arrest on Wednesday in Manhattan. ABC News president James Goldston announced his death. He leaves behind his wife of 26 years, broadcaster Diane Sawyer, and his three children, Daisy, Max and Jenny.
Nichols was a true talent who expertly handled elements of comedy and drama in his films. He had a true passion and love for filmmaking and made truly remarkable and memorable films for close to five decades.
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Catch-22, Silkwood, Postcards from the Edge, The Birdcage, Primary Colors and Closer are just a few of the great films directed by Nichols throughout the course of his career.
Nichols even won an Oscar in 1967 for Best Director for The Graduate. He also garnered four other Oscar nominations, including three more for Best Director.
Charlie Wilson’s War, which came out in 2007, was Nichols’ last film. It starred Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and Phillip Seymour Hoffman.
Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Robin Williams and Gene Hackman are just a few of the legendary actors who Nichols worked with on his films.
On top of his film career, Nichols also directed theater and amassed ten Tony Awards. Tomorrow Broadway will dim its lights at 7:45 out of respect for Nichols. His stage works include Death of a Salesman, The Odd Couple and Barefoot in the Park.
Nichols is one of twelve individuals to have won all four major American annual awards, or a distinction better known as EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony). He completed this in 2001 when he won his first Emmy for directing a TV movie called Wit. He won a Grammy for his 1961 comedy album with Elaine May titled An Evening with Mike Nichols and Elaine May.
Steven Speilberg issued a statement about the death of his friend, saying, “Mike was a friend, a muse, a mentor, one of America’s all time greatest film and stage directors, and one of the most generous people I have ever known. For me, The Graduate was life-altering — both as an experience at the movies as well as a master class about how to stage a scene. Mike had a brilliant cinematic eye and uncanny hearing for keeping scenes ironic and real. Actors never gave him less than their personal best — and then Mike would get from them even more. And in a room full of people, Mike was always the center of gravity. This is a seismic loss.”
The world has lost a truly extraordinary talent.