- NAME: Mike Nichols
- OCCUPATION: Director
- BIRTH DATE: November 06, 1931 (Age: 82)
- Did You Know?: Mike Nichols is one of only 14 people to have received the four major entertainment honors—Emmy, Oscar, Tony and Grammy awards.
- EDUCATION: University of Chicago
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Berlin, Germany
- Originally: Michael Igor Peschkowsky
- AKA: Mike Nichols
- AKA: Michael Peschkowsky
- AKA: Mike Peschkowsky
- ZODIAC SIGN: Scorpio
Best Known For
Mike Nichols is an American theater and film director best known for his 1967 classic, The Graduate. He's won Emmy, Oscar, Tony and Grammy awards—and is one of only 14 to do so.
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Born on November 6, 1931, Mike Nichols immigrated to the United States from Germany with his family at the age of 7. Nichols made his Broadway debut in 1964 with Barefoot in the Park, which earned him his first Tony Award. His early films include Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) and The Graduate (1967), for which he received an Academy Award for best director. In June 2012,
Nichols accepted his sixth Tony Award (best director of a play) for his work on the revival of Death of a Salesman, a play originally written by Arthur Miller.
Mike Nichols was born Michael Igor Peschkowsky in Berlin, Germany, on November 6, 1931. The son of Jewish parents, he immigrated to the United States in 1938 to escape from Nazi Germany. He was only 7 years old when he left Germany with his younger brother, Robert. The brothers met up with their father, Paul, in America, and their mother, Brigitte, was able to reunite with them two years later.
According to Henry Louis Gates Jr.'s book Faces of America, Nichols only knew two sentences in English before arriving in America: "I don't speak English" and "Please, don't kiss me." The family settled in New York City, where Nichols's father soon established a medical practice. His father also changed the family's last name to Nichols after reaching their new home.
After his father's death, Nichols and his family struggled financially. He worked to support himself through his college years at the University of Chicago, after which time he studied acting under Lee Strasberg in New York City. Nichols then made his way back to Chicago, where he started up a comedy troupe, through which he met future performance partner Elaine May. The pair became a successful duo in the late 1950s. A decade later, they took their act to Broadway, where they won over critics and audiences alike.
Moving behind the scenes, Mike Nichols made his Broadway directing debut with Neil Simon's Barefoot in the Park, starring Robert Redford and Elizabeth Ashley, for which he earned his first Tony Award (1964). He continued his winning streak on the Great White Way, picking up another Tony (best direction of a play) for his work on both Luv and The Odd Couple, which featured Art Carney and Walter Matthau, in 1965.
Nichols's early career also flourished on the big screen. His first film as a director was Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. He then won an Academy Award for best director in 1967 for The Graduate, which starred Anne Bancroft and Dustin Hoffman.
Nichols continued to find success on both the stage and screen in the 1970s and '80s, picking up a Tony for directing in 1972 for Neil Simon's Prisoner of Second Avenue, and receiving the same honor five years later for the popular musical Annie. He also earned Oscar nominations for directing the Meryl Streep drama Silkwood (1983) and the Harrison Ford-Melanie Griffith comedy Working Girl.
Nichols continued to have a diverse career, handling comedy, drama and even musicals with tremendous skill, in his later years.
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