Biography of Mike Nichols

Mike Nichols was an acclaimed director of stage and film, as well as an accomplished actor and comedian. Born Mikhail Igor Peschkowsky in Berlin to a Jewish family, Nichols eventually moved to the New York City with his parents and his brother to avoid arrest by the Nazis. Nichols' father set up a successful practice as a physician, changed the family name to Nichols, and the family settled into a life in Manhattan. Later, Mike would enroll at NYU before dropping out and eventually joining the pre-med program at University of Chicago, the college where he would meet his comedy writing partner, Elaine May.

Alongside May, Nichols innovated a satirical and improvisatory style, and the duo eventually created a Broadway show together, An Evening with Mike Nichols and Elaine May in 1960. The two would remain close friends and collaborators throughout their careers. Nichols would quickly transition into directing, saying that the first time he directed, he knew that it was what he was meant to be doing. His first big theater directing job was directing Neil Simon's Barefoot in the Park, for which he won a Tony Award.

Following his success as a stage director, Mike Nichols was asked to direct the film adaptation of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. After that, he directed The Graduate, for which he won an Oscar for directing. Later he would direct The Birdcage, an adaptation of the French-Italian story La Cage aux Folles, with a screenplay by Elaine May. Later he directed Primary Colors, Closer, and the TV miniseries adaptation of Tony Kushner's Angels in America, among others. He was married to the news anchor Diane Sawyer until his death in 2014.

Study Guides on Works by Mike Nichols

The Graduate is a 1967 American comedy/drama film directed by Mike Nichols, based on the 1963 novel of the same name by Charles Webb. The story revolves around Benjamin Braddock, played in a star-making turn by a young Dustin Hoffman, who enters...