Mike Nichols

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Mike Nichols (born November 6, 1931) is a German-born American television, stage and film director, writer, and producer. Nichols is one of only twelve people to have won an all the major American entertainment awards: an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Award. In 2001, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts.[1] He received the Life Achievement Award from the American Film Institute in 2010.

Contents

Early years

Nichols was born Michael Igorevitch Peschkowsky in Berlin, Germany, the son of Brigitte Landauer and Igor Nicholaievitch Peschkowsky, a physician.[2] His maternal grandparents were anarchist Gustav Landauer and author Hedwig Lachmann. He and his German/Russian Jewish family moved to the United States to flee the Nazis in 1939.[3] He became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1944 and attended PS 87 in Manhattan.[4] While attending the University of Chicago in the 1950s, he began work in improvisational comedy with the Compass Players, a precursor to The Second City, and later started the long-running Midnight Special folk music program on radio station WFMT.

Career

Nichols formed a comedy team with Del Close and Elaine May, with whom he appeared in nightclubs, on radio, released best-selling records, made guest appearances on several television programs and had their own show on Broadway, directed by Arthur Penn. They were accompanied by Chicago pianist Marty Rubenstein, host of the television show Marty's Place. Personal idiosyncrasies and tensions (the latter culminating in the out-of-town closing of A Matter of Position, a play written by May and starring Nichols) eventually drove the duo apart to pursue other projects in 1961. They later reconciled and worked together many times, with May scripting his films The Birdcage and Primary Colors. They appeared together at President Jimmy Carter's inaugural gala and in a 1980 New Haven stage revival of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? with Swoosie Kurtz and James Naughton.[5]

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