1. Mike Nichols was a German-born American film and theatre director, producer, actor and comedian.
2. He was noted for his ability to work across a range of genres and an aptitude for getting the best out of actors regardless of their acting experience.
3. Nichols began his career in the 1950s with the comedy improvisational troupe, The Compass Players, predecessor of The Second City, in Chicago.
4. Their live improv acts were a hit on Broadway resulting in three albums, with their debut album winning a Grammy Award.
5. After Nichols and May disbanded their act in 1961, Nichols began directing plays.
6. He soon earned a reputation as a skilled Broadway director with a flair for creating innovative productions and the ability to elicit polished performances from actors.
7. He next directed Luv in 1964 and in 1965 directed another Neil Simon play, The Odd Couple.
8. Nearly five decades later, he won his sixth Tony Award as best director with a revival of Death of a Salesman in 2012.
9. During his career, he directed or produced over twenty-five Broadway plays.
10. The groundbreaking and acclaimed film led critics to declare Nichols the “new Orson Welles”.
11. His next film was The Graduate in 1967, starring then unknown actor Dustin Hoffman, alongside Anne Bancroft and Katharine Ross.
12. 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.
13. Along with an Academy Award, Nichols won a Grammy Award , four Emmy Awards and nine Tony Awards.
14. Nichols is one of only two people who can claim a PEGOT, having received Peabody, Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards.
15. 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.
16. Mike Nichols was born Mikhail Igor Peschkowsky His father was born in Vienna, Austria, to a Russian Jewish immigrant family.
17. 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.