Mike Nichols Biography
Mike Nichols, whose full name is Mikhail Igor Peschkowsky, was an American film, television, and stage director whose works often explore the absurdities and horrors of contemporary life as they are revealed in intimate relationships. Mike Nichols was born in Berlin, Germany, on November 6, 1931, and passed away in New York, New York, on November 19, 2014.
- Before the start of World War II, Nichols moved to the United States with his family when he was seven years old. He studied acting under Lee Strasberg in New York City while attending the University of Chicago (1950–1953). After returning to Chicago, he founded The Compass Players, a comedic improvisational troupe with Elaine May, Shelley Berman, Barbara Harris, and Paul Sills.
- After performing their social satire performances across the country, Nichols and May appeared on Broadway in An Evening with Mike Nichols and Elaine May from 1960 to 1961. Nichols and May received a Grammy Award for the year’s best comedy CD for the recording of their show.
- Nichols won a Tony Award for directing Barefoot in the Park, a critically acclaimed Neil Simon comedy, on Broadway in 1963. Nichols received another Tony Award for his subsequent two stage productions, Luv (1966–1967) and Simon’s The Odd Couple (1965–1967).
- The HBO film Wit (2001) was a better fit for Nichols. It was based on Margaret Edson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, and it starred Thompson (who co-wrote the script with Nichols) as a cancer-stricken English professor who considers significant events in her life while undergoing chemotherapy to defeat the illness.
- As he did with the 2003 HBO production of Tony Kushner’s play about the effects of the AIDS pandemic, Angels in America, Nichols received an Emmy Award for directing. The miniseries was a major critical and popular success, garnering an additional 10 Emmy nominations. Streep, Thompson, Al Pacino, Mary-Louise Parker, and Jeffrey Wright were all part of the ensemble cast.
- Closer marked Nichols’ comeback to the big screen (2004). It, too, had Broadway roots, but unlike Angels in America, the sexual drama’s scope was far more narrow, concentrating on the interactions of just four people (Natalie Portman, Clive Owen, Julia Roberts, and Jude Law).
- The following year, Nichols won another Tony for directing Monty Python’s Spamalot on Broadway. The entertaining political drama Charlie Wilson’s War, directed by Tom Hanks in 2007, was his next movie. It was written by Aaron Sorkin and was based on the valid account of Texas congressman Charlie Wilson (Tom Hanks), who helped the mujahideen fight the Soviet Union during the Afghan War in the 1980s.
- As a CIA spy, Philip Seymour Hoffman was excellently cast, while Julia Roberts was funny as a wealthy Texas socialite who supported Wilson’s efforts. After returning to the stage, Nichols earned his seventh Tony Award (for best director) in 2012 for his production of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s character in Arthur Miller’s timeless drama Death of a Salesman.
- Nichols received several honours, including the Life Achievement Award from the American Film Institute and a Kennedy CenterHonor in 2003. (2010). He was among the very few individuals who received the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony awards.