Mike Nichols
American director and actor
Mike Nichols
Mike Nichols is a German-born American television, stage and film director, writer, producer and comedian. He began his career in the 1950s as one half of the comedy duo Nichols and May, along with Elaine May. In 1968 he won the Academy Award for Best Director for the film The Graduate. His other noteworthy films include Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Carnal Knowledge, Working Girl, Closer and the TV mini-series Angels in America.
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If You See Something, Say Something: Garry Marshall
Huffington Post - 7 months
Garry Marshall, who died on Tuesday, was a Rolls Royce of punchlines, a wisecrack machine of the first order with impeccable class. "I like young people who are in that brief window between on their-way-up and rehab," he said to me. "In that window I can make stars." Then he admitted that the window business wasn't totally true -- but the line was just too good to give up. Now that's eating your cake and having it, too. How do you not love that? We also agreed that "Took me three hours to figure out F.U. was Felix Ungar!" is maybe the funniest punchline ever written. (It was not his, of course, but Neil Simon's. And it never made it past the ABC censors when Marshall shepherded the Broadway hit, which had been staged by Mike Nichols, into sitcom history.) "My first series was a show called Hey, Landlord," Marshall told me. "It was No. 99 in the ratings. It's pretty hard to be 99 in the ratings." That was accurate enough, though the short-lived sitcom that gave him his debut as sh ...
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Huffington Post article
Why Meryl Streep Almost Turned Down 'The Devil Wears Prada'
Huffington Post - 8 months
Meryl Streep is a tour de force in pretty much every role, and her performance in "The Devil Wears Prada” was no different. As the movie approaches its 10th anniversary, we shudder to think that Streep might not have played THE Miranda Priestly because some Hollywood execs would not pay her enough. (Just now, a decade later, fair and equal pay for women actors has finally become a rallying cry.) Looking back on her role in the film in a new interview with Variety, the actress talks about how she almost walked away. "The offer was, to my mind, slightly, if not insulting, not perhaps reflective of my actual value to the project," Streep said. "There was my 'goodbye moment,' and then they doubled the offer. I was 55, and I had just learned, at a very late date, how to deal on my own behalf."  A true Miranda move. Shame on the executives who failed to notice: A) Streep's incredible star power, and B) The fact that she would (and did) carry the entire movie.  ...
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Huffington Post article
'Becoming Mike Nichols': The making of a legend
CNN - about 1 year
Before there was Mike Nichols, award-winning director, there was Mike Nichols, terrified improviser.
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CNN article
What to Watch Monday
NYTimes - about 1 year
“Spotlight” gets the gray areas of journalism right. “The X-Files” return comes to a close. And Mike Nichols reminisces about his early career.
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NYTimes article
'Becoming Mike Nichols' charts director's creative arc
LATimes - about 1 year
"One minute, you don't know. The next minute, you suddenly get it … there's nothing like getting it." That, in a nutshell, is the creative process as described by the late director Mike Nichols. Whether on a Broadway stage, in a movie or on TV, Nichols delivered smart entertainments that "got it"...
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LATimes article
Revisiting The Craft And Vision Of 'Graduate' Director Mike Nichols
NPR - about 1 year
The late director is the subject of a new PBS American Masters documentary. Another documentary about Nichols will be shown on HBO next month. Nichols spoke to Fresh Air's Terry Gross in 2001.
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NPR article
'The Graduate' director Mike Nichols celebrated in new PBS documentary
LATimes - about 1 year
Mike Nichols was a stranger in a strange land when he and his family fled Nazi Germany in 1939 and immigrated to New York. He was 7. "When he came here, he only knew two lines of English: 'I don't speak English' and 'Please don't kiss me,'" said a good friend, producer Julian Schlossberg ("American...
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LATimes article
Ron Howard's First Steps Into Becoming a Hollywood Director
Huffington Post - about 1 year
We were thrilled to have director and actor Ron Howard on the show, who's just released his newest film, In The Heart Of The Sea. Ron has had an amazing career in television and film, as both an actor and as an Academy Award-winning director. Ron chats about what made him want to direct this movie, how he prepared his actors, and the real secret for of being married 40 years. Ron's first steps towards becoming a Hollywood director Believe it or not, Ron's first step towards becoming a director actually happened while playing Opie on the Andy Griffith show. "On the 2nd episode of the 2nd season," a 7-year-old Ron Howard offered an acting suggestion to the director on how his character should say his line. The director took it, and it was there, on the first piece of professional advice he'd ever had taken, that Ron stood "frozen, and overjoyed" with the notion of affecting how stories were told. "It was so empowering," he recalls, and his infatuation grew from there. Aided by the fa ...
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Huffington Post article
Happy 60th birthday, Whoopi Goldberg! Our Favorite Quotes from the Actress
Huffington Post - over 1 year
On November 13th, Whoopi Goldberg turned 60. The actress, producer and The View co-host got her first Oscar nomination when she made her film debut in The Color Purple. And she's one of those rare people to have won the Academy Award (Ghost), Golden Globe (the Color Purple, and Ghost), Emmy (Beyond Tara: The Extraordinary Life of Hattie McDaniel), Daytime Emmy (The View), Grammy (for her comedy album "Whoopi Goldberg") and a Tony (for producing Thoroughly Modern Millie). "I've never seen anyone like her,'' said the late Mike Nichols, who produced and supervised her one woman show on Broadway in 1984 and was a great force in launching her career. ''What moves people so much, aside from her talent, is her spirit. "{She is} one part Elaine May, one part Groucho, one part Ruth Draper, one part Richard Pryor and five parts never before seen." Celebrate Whoopi Goldberg's 60th birthday with some of her great quotes. "I am where I am because I believe in all possibilities." "My fir ...
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Huffington Post article
Microsoft: A 'vast majority' of Xbox One Kinect owners still use peripheral
Yahoo News - over 1 year
Kinect certainly isn't the integral part of the Xbox One it was at launch, but it remains an active part of how owners of the camera and microphone array interact with the console, Microsoft tells Polygon. "Overall, we don't break down how many console users have Kinect and how many don't," said Mike Nichols, chief marketing officer for Xbox. "I can say that the people with Kinect still make up a very, very sizable portion and that those people do use it quiet frequently.
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Yahoo News article
The Steve Jobs Movie: A Requiem for a Narcissist
Huffington Post - over 1 year
Despite being the villain of his own hero's journey, the Steve Jobs of his eponymous movie "Steve Jobs" gets a chance at redemption in its final moments. Far from being Father of The Year of any of the 15 years that span this three-act film (more in theatrical terms than cinematic), he's finally able to come forward with the ultimate gift idea for his daughter Lisa, who seems never to part with her clunky Walkman. "I'm gonna put 100 songs in your pocket. No, 500. I'm gonna put between 500 and 1000 songs in your pocket." Always innovating and calculating but this time a shade closer to fathering (in a denouement that feels earned but stretches its plausibility), the Jobs prototype of the earlier parts of the movie now seems to be playing slightly against type. Older and with a more palpable case of FOMO, he recognizes that his daughter has advanced academically and socially despite his negligence. The father of innovation, prone to loving the product more than the person meant to ...
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Huffington Post article
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Mike Nichols
  • 2014
    Age 82
    Nichols died of a heart attack on November 19, 2014, at his apartment in Manhattan.
    More Details Hide Details During the 87th annual Academy Awards ceremony of February 22, 2015, Nichols was featured in the anchor or "hammer" position of the In Memoriam feature. Awards Nominations
  • 2013
    Age 81
    In April 2013, it was announced that he would direct Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz in a Broadway revival of Harold Pinter's Betrayal.
    More Details Hide Details The play began its limited run on October 1 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, opening on November 3 through January 5, 2014. Nichols was also in talks to direct a film adaptation of Jonathan Tropper's novel One Last Thing Before I Go. The film was to be produced by J.J. Abrams, who previously wrote the Nichols-directed film Regarding Henry (1991).
  • 2012
    Age 80
    In 2012, Nichols won the Best Direction of a Play Tony Award for Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman.
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  • 2010
    Age 78
    In 2010, at the AFIs "Life Achievement Award" ceremony, May gave a humor-filled tribute to Nichols.
    More Details Hide Details After the professional split with May, Nichols went to Vancouver, B.C. to work in the theater directing a production of Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest and acted in a revival of George Bernard Shaw's St. Joan.
  • 1999
    Age 67
    When he was honored by Lincoln Center in 1999 for his life's work, Elaine May—speaking once again as his friend—served up the essence of Nichols with the following: "So he's witty, he's brilliant, he's articulate, he's on time, he's prepared and he writes.
    More Details Hide Details But is he perfect? He knows you can't really be liked or loved if you're perfect. You have to have just enough flaws. And he does. Just the right, perfect flaws to be absolutely endearing." In the 2000s Nichols directed the films What Planet Are You From? (2000), Closer (2004) and Charlie Wilson's War (2007), a political drama that was ultimately his final feature film. What Planet Are Your From? received mixed reviews from critics, while Closer and Charlie Wilson's War received generally positive reviews and were both nominated for Academy Awards, BAFTA and Golden Globe awards. Nichols also directed widely acclaimed adaptations of Wit (2001) and Angels in America (2003) for television, winning Emmy Awards for both of them.
  • 1988
    Age 56
    His fourth was to former ABC World News anchor Diane Sawyer, whom he married on April 29, 1988.
    More Details Hide Details Nichols' grandfather, Gustav Landauer, was a leading theorist on anarchism in the early 20th century. According to research done by Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., of Harvard University, for the PBS series Faces of America (2010), Nichols is related to Albert Einstein, who was a third cousin on his mother's side. Among Nichols' personal pursuits was a lifelong interest in Arabian horses. From 1968 to 2004, he owned a farm in Connecticut and was a noted horse breeder. Over the years, he also imported quality Arabian horses from Poland, some of which later resold for record-setting prices.
    Later in 1988, Nichols directed one of his most successful films, Working Girl starring Melanie Griffith, Harrison Ford and Sigourney Weaver.
    More Details Hide Details Working Girl was a huge hit upon its release. It also received mostly positive reviews from critics with an 84% rating at Rotten Tomatoes and a 73 metascore at Metacritic. It was nominated for six Academy Awards (including Best Director for Nichols) and won the Academy Award for Best Song for Carly Simon's "Let the River Run". At one point in the 1980s, Nichols—who was prone to bouts of depression—reported that he had considered suicide, a feeling apparently brought on by a psychotic episode he experienced after taking the drug Halcion. In the 1990s, Nichols directed several more successful, well-received films including Postcards from the Edge (1990) starring Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine; Primary Colors (1998) starring John Travolta and Emma Thompson; and The Birdcage (1996), an American remake of the 1978 French film La Cage aux Folles starring Robin Williams, Nathan Lane, Gene Hackman and Dianne Wiest. Both The Birdcage and Primary Colors were written by Elaine May, Nichols' comedy partner earlier in his career. Other films directed by Nichols include Regarding Henry (1991) starring Harrison Ford and Wolf (1994) starring Jack Nicholson and Michelle Pfeiffer.
    In 1988 Nichols completed two feature films.
    More Details Hide Details The first was an adaptation of Neil Simon's autobiographical stage play Biloxi Blues starring Matthew Broderick, also receiving mixed critical reviews.
    Also in 1988, Nichols made the film Heartburn starring Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson, which received mixed reviews.
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  • 1986
    Age 54
    His third marriage, to Annabel Davis-Goff, produced two children, Max Nichols and Jenny Nichols; they were divorced in 1986.
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    In 1986 Nichols directed the Broadway premiere of Andrew Bergman's Social Security and in 1988 directed Waiting for Godot, starring Robin Williams and Steve Martin.
    More Details Hide Details Williams cited Nichols and May as among his early influences for performing intelligent comedy.
  • 1984
    Age 52
    Nichols quickly followed this success with the Broadway premiere of David Rabe's Hurlyburly, also in 1984.
    More Details Hide Details It was performed just two blocks away from the theater showing The Real Thing. It was nominated for three Tony Awards and won Best Actress for Judith Ivey. In 1983 Nichols had seen comedian Whoopi Goldberg's one woman show, The Spook Show and wanted to help her expand it. Goldberg's self-titled Broadway show opened in October 1984 and ran for 156 performances. Rosie O'Donnell said that Nichols had discovered Goldberg while she was struggling as a downtown street artist: "He gave her the entire beginning of her career and recognized her brilliance before anyone else."
    In 1984 Nichols directed the Broadway premiere of Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing.
    More Details Hide Details The New York Times critic Frank Rich wrote that "The Broadway version of The Real Thing - a substantial revision of the original London production - is not only Mr. Stoppard's most moving play, but also the most bracing play that anyone has written about love and marriage in years." The play was nominated for seven Tony Awards and won five, including a Best Director Tony for Nichols.
  • 1983
    Age 51
    Returning to Hollywood, Nichols' career rebounded in 1983 with the film Silkwood, starring Meryl Streep, Cher and Kurt Russell, based on the life of whistleblower Karen Silkwood.
    More Details Hide Details The film was a financial and critical success, with film critic Vincent Canby calling it "the most serious work Mike Nichols has yet done." The film received five Academy Award nominations, including a Best Director nomination for Nichols. Later that year Nichols and Peter Stone helped to fix up and rewrite the musical My One and Only just days before its Boston premiere. The show eventually went to Broadway and ran for 767 performances, winning Tony Awards for Best Actor, Best Choreography (both for Tommy Tune) and best Supporting Actor (Charles "Honi" Coles).
  • 1980
    Age 48
    Nichols then directed two unsuccessful shows: Billy Bishop Goes to War, which opened in 1980 and closed after only twelve performances, and Neil Simon's Fools, in 1981, which closed after forty performances.
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    In 1980 Nichols directed the documentary Gilda Live, a filmed performance of comedian Gilda Radner's one-woman show Gilda Radner Live on Broadway.
    More Details Hide Details It was released at the same time as the album of the show, both of which were successful.
  • 1977
    Age 45
    Later in 1977, Nichols directed D.L. Coburn's The Gin Game.
    More Details Hide Details The play ran for 517 performances and won a Tony Award for Best Actress for Jessica Tandy.
    In 1977 Nichols produced the original Broadway production of the hugely successful musical Annie, which ran for 2,377 performances until 1983.
    More Details Hide Details Nichols won the Tony Award for Best Musical.
    They later reconciled and worked together many times, such as on the unsuccessful A Matter of Position, a play written by May and starring Nichols. They appeared together at President Jimmy Carter's inaugural gala, in 1977, and in a 1980 New Haven stage revival of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? with Swoosie Kurtz and James Naughton.
    More Details Hide Details May scripted Nichols' films The Birdcage (1996) and Primary Colors (1998).
  • 1976
    Age 44
    In 1976 Nichols also worked as Executive Producer to create the television drama Family for ABC.
    More Details Hide Details The series ran until 1980.
    Nichols then returned to the stage with two moderately successful productions in 1976; David Rabe's Streamers opened in April and ran for 478 performances.
    More Details Hide Details Trevor Griffiths's Comedians ran for 145 performances.
  • 1973
    Age 41
    In 1973 Nichols directed the film The Day of the Dolphin starring George C. Scott, based on the French novel Un animal doué de raison (lit.
    More Details Hide Details A Sentient Animal) by Robert Merle and adapted by Buck Henry. The film was not successful financially and received mixed reviews from critics. Nichols next directed The Fortune (1975), starring Warren Beatty, Jack Nicholson and Stockard Channing. Again, the film was a financial failure and received mostly negative reviews. It was Nichols' last feature narrative film for eight years.
    In 1973 Nichols directed a revival of Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya on Broadway starring George C. Scott and with a new translation by himself and Albert Todd.
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  • 1971
    Age 39
    Nichols then returned to Broadway to direct Neil Simon's The Prisoner of Second Avenue in 1971.
    More Details Hide Details The play won Nichols another Tony Award for Best Director.
  • 1968
    Age 36
    He then directed Neil Simon's Plaza Suite in 1968, earning him another Tony Award for Best Director.
    More Details Hide Details He also directed the short film Teach Me! (1968), which starred actress Sandy Dennis. Nichols' next film was a big-budget adaptation of Joseph Heller's novel Catch-22 (1970) followed by Carnal Knowledge (1971) starring Jack Nicholson, Ann-Margret, Art Garfunkel and Candice Bergen. The latter film was highly controversial upon release because of the casual and blunt depiction of sexual intercourse. In Georgia, a theatre manager was convicted in 1972 of violating the state's obscenity statutes by showing the film, a conviction later overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in Jenkins v. Georgia.
  • 1967
    Age 35
    Combined with his second film, The Graduate, in 1967, the two films had already earned a total of 20 Oscar nominations, including two for Best Director, and winning it for The Graduate.
    More Details Hide Details Nichols was able to get the best out of actors regardless of their acting experience, whether an unknown such as Dustin Hoffman or a major star like Richard Burton. For his first film, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, each of the four actors was nominated for an Oscar, with Elizabeth Taylor and Sandy Dennis winning. Burton later said, "I didn't think I could learn anything about comedy - I'd done all of Shakespeare's. But from him I learned," adding, "He conspires with you to get your best." However, it was Taylor who chose Nichols to be their director, because, writes biographer David Bret, "she particularly admired him because he had done a number of ad-hoc jobs to pay for his education after arriving in American as a seven-year-old Jewish refugee." Producer Ernest Lehman agreed with her choice: "He was the only one who could handle them," he said. "The Burtons were quite intimidating, and we needed a genius like Mike Nichols to combat them." Biographer Kitty Kelley says that neither Taylor nor Burton would ever again reach the heights of acting performance they did in that film.
    Nichols had previously returned to Broadway to direct The Apple Tree, starring Second City alumna, Barbara Harris. After doing The Graduate, he again returned to the Broadway stage with a revival of Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes in 1967, which ran for 100 performances.
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  • 1966
    Age 34
    The film was critically acclaimed, with critics calling Nichols "the new Orson Welles", and a financial success, the number 1 film of 1966.
    More Details Hide Details The film was considered groundbreaking for having a level of profanity and sexual innuendo unheard of at that time. It won five Academy Awards and garnered thirteen nominations (including Nichols' first nomination for Best Director), earning the distinctions of being one of only two films nominated in every eligible category at the Oscars (the other being Cimarron), and the first film to have its entire credited cast nominated for acting Oscars. It also won three BAFTA Awards and was later ranked #67 in AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition). His next film was The Graduate (1967), starring Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft and Katharine Ross. It became the highest-grossing film of 1967 and one of the biggest grossing films in history up to that date. It was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, with Nichols winning as Best Director. In 2007, it was ranked #17 in AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition).
    By 1966, Nichols was a star stage director and Time magazine called him "the most in-demand director in the American theatre."
    More Details Hide Details Although he had no experience in filmmaking, Warner Bros. invited Nichols to direct a screen adaptation of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.
    It was also a box office hit and became the number 1 film of 1966.
    More Details Hide Details His next film was The Graduate in 1967, starring then unknown actor Dustin Hoffman, alongside Anne Bancroft and Katharine Ross. The film was another critical and financial success, becoming the highest-grossing film of 1967 and receiving seven Academy Award nominations, winning Nichols the Academy Award for Best Directing. Among the other films he directed were Catch-22 (1970), Carnal Knowledge (1971), Silkwood (1983), Working Girl (1988), Wolf (1994), The Birdcage (1996), Closer (2004), and Charlie Wilson's War (2007). Along with an Academy Award, Nichols won a Grammy Award (the first for a comedian born outside the United States), four Emmy Awards and nine Tony Awards. Nichols is one of only two people who can claim a PEGOT, having received Peabody, Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards. He was also a three-time BAFTA Award winner. His other honors included the Lincoln Center Gala Tribute in 1999, the National Medal of Arts in 2001, the Kennedy Center Honors in 2003 and the AFI Life Achievement Award in 2010. His films garnered a total of 42 Academy Award nominations and seven wins.
  • 1965
    Age 33
    In 1965 he directed another play by Neil Simon, The Odd Couple.
    More Details Hide Details The original production starred Art Carney as Felix Ungar and Walter Matthau as Oscar Madison. The play ran for 966 performances and won Tony Awards for Nichols, Simon and Matthau. Overall, Nichols won nine Tony Awards: including six for Best Director of either a play or a musical, one for Best Play, and one for Best Musical.
  • 1964
    Age 32
    This began a series of highly successful plays on Broadway (often from works by Simon) that would establish his reputation. After an off-Broadway production of Ann Jellicoe's The Knack, Nichols directed Murray Schisgal's play Luv in 1964.
    More Details Hide Details Again the show was a hit and Nichols won a Tony Award (shared with The Odd Couple).
  • 1963
    Age 31
    In 1963, Nichols was chosen to direct Neil Simon's play Barefoot In The Park.
    More Details Hide Details He realized at once that he was meant to be a director, saying in a 2003 interview: "On the first day of rehearsal, I thought, 'Well, look at this. Here is what I was meant to do.' I knew instantly that I was home". Barefoot in the Park was a big hit, running for 1530 performances and earning Nichols a Tony Award for his direction.
    His debut Broadway play was Neil Simon's Barefoot in the Park in 1963, with Robert Redford and Elizabeth Ashley.
    More Details Hide Details He next directed Luv in 1964 and in 1965 directed another Neil Simon play, The Odd Couple. Nichols received a Tony Award for each of those plays. Nearly five decades later, he won his sixth Tony Award as best director with a revival of Death of a Salesman in 2012. During his career, he directed or produced over twenty-five Broadway plays. In 1966, Warner Brothers invited Nichols to direct his first film, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. The groundbreaking and acclaimed film led critics to declare Nichols the "new Orson Welles". The film garnered 13 Academy Award nominations, winning five.
  • 1960
    Age 28
    In 1960, Nichols and May opened the Broadway show An Evening With Mike Nichols and Elaine May, directed by Arthur Penn. The LP album of the show won the 1962 Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album.
    More Details Hide Details Personal idiosyncrasies and tensions eventually drove the duo apart to pursue other projects in 1961. About their sudden breakup, director Arthur Penn said, "They set the standard and then they had to move on," while talk show host Dick Cavett said "they were one of the comic meteors in the sky." Comedy historian Gerald Nachman describes the effect of their break-up on American comedy:
  • 1958
    Age 26
    In Chicago, he started doing improvisational routines with May, which eventually led to the formation of the comedy duo Nichols and May in 1958, first performing in New York City.
    More Details Hide Details They performed live satirical comedy acts and eventually released three records of their routines, which became best-sellers. They also appeared in nightclubs and were on radio and television. Jack Rollins, who later became Woody Allen's manager and producer, invited them to audition and was most impressed: "Their work was so startling, so new, as fresh as could be. I was stunned by how really good they were, actually as impressed by their acting technique as by their comedy... I thought, My God, these are two people writing hilarious comedy on their feet!
  • 1957
    Age 25
    Nichols was married four times. The first three ended in divorce; the last ended upon his death. His first marriage was to Patricia Scott; they were married from 1957 to 1960.
    More Details Hide Details His second was to Margot Callas, a former "muse" of the poet Robert Graves, from 1963 to 1974; the couple produced a daughter, Daisy Nichols.
  • 1955
    Age 23
    He was invited back to join Chicago's Compass Players in 1955, the predecessor to Chicago's Second City, whose members included May, Shelley Berman, Del Close, and Nancy Ponder, directed by Paul Sills.
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  • 1953
    Age 21
    In 1953, Nichols left Chicago for New York City to study method acting under Lee Strasberg, but was unable to find stage work there.
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    While in Chicago in 1953, Nichols joined the staff of struggling classical music station WFMT, 98.7 FM, as an announcer.
    More Details Hide Details Co-owner Rita Jacobs asked Nichols to create a folk music program on Saturday nights, which he named "The Midnight Special." He hosted the program for two years before leaving for New York City. Nichols frequently invited musicians to perform live in the studio and eventually created a unique blend of "folk music and farce, showtunes and satire, odds and ends," along with his successor Norm Pellegrini. The program endures today in the same time slot. Nichols first saw Elaine May when she was sitting in the front row while he was playing the lead in a Chicago production of Miss Julie, and they made eye contact. Weeks later he ran into her in a train station where he started a conversation in an assumed accent, pretending to be a spy, and she played along, using another accent. They hit it off immediately, which led to a brief romance. Later in his career, he said "Elaine was very important to me from the moment I saw her."
  • 1950
    Age 18
    In 1950, he enrolled in the pre-med program at the University of Chicago.
    More Details Hide Details He later described this college period as "paradise," recalling how "I never had a friend from the time I came to this country until I got to the University of Chicago."
  • 1944
    Age 12
    He became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1944 and attended public elementary school in Manhattan (PS 87).
    More Details Hide Details After graduating from the Walden School, a private progressive school on Central Park West, Nichols briefly attended New York University before dropping out.
  • 1940
    Age 8
    His mother eventually joined the family, escaping through Italy in 1940.
    More Details Hide Details The family moved to New York City on April 28, 1939. His father, whose original Russian name was Pavel Nikolaevich Peschkowsky, changed his name to Paul Nichols, Nichols derived from his Russian patronymic. He had a successful medical practice in Manhattan, enabling the family to live near Central Park. Nichols' youth was difficult because by age 4, following an inoculation for whooping cough, he had lost his hair, and consequently wore wigs for the rest of his life.
  • 1939
    Age 7
    In April 1939, when the Nazis were arresting Jews in Berlin, seven-year-old Mikhail and his three-year-old brother Robert were sent alone to the United States to join their father, who had fled months earlier.
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  • 1931
    Born on November 6, 1931.
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