Nichols, Mike

Nichols, Mike,

1931–2014, American actor and director, b. Berlin, Germany, as Mikhail Igor Peschkowsky. His family immigrated to the United States in 1939, and he studied (1950–53) at the Univ. of Chicago. A founder of The Second City, the comedic and improvisational group, he and fellow member Elaine May formed a satiric duo (1957–61) and together scored a Broadway hit in 1960. Nichols debuted as a director with the Broadway production of Barefoot in the Park (1963) and subsequently he was a successful stage and screen director, noted for his intelligence and his ability to draw the best from his actors. His early work concentrated on light comedies, often written by Neil SimonSimon, Neil
(Marvin Neil Simon), 1927–2018, American playwright, b. the Bronx, New York City. His plays, nearly all of them popular with audiences, if not always with critics, are comedies treating recognizable aspects of modern middle-class life.
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. Nichols won Tony awards for Barefoot and for Luv (1964), The Odd Couple (1965), Plaza Suite (1968), The Prisoner of Second Avenue (1971), and The Real Thing (1984). Later Broadway directorial credits included Hurlyburly (1984), Death and the Maiden (1992), and the musical Spamalot (2005). His films frequently portray dramatic human relationships and often cast a wry or sardonic cinematic eye on the tensions of modern American society. He began his movie career directing Edward AlbeeAlbee, Edward
, 1928–2016, American playwright, one of the leading dramatists of his generation, b. Washington, D.C., as Edward Harvey. His most characteristic work constitutes an absurdist commentary on American life, often conveying psychologically probing observations
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's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) and won an Academy Award for his next film, The Graduate (1967). Subsequent films included Catch-22 (1970), Carnal Knowledge (1971), Silkwood (1983), Working Girl (1988), The Birdcage (1996), Primary Colors (1998), Closer (2004), and Charlie Wilson's War (2007). Nichols, who had occasional acting roles, was also an Emmy-winning television director and a successful screenwriter and producer.


See A. Carter and S. Kashner, Life Isn't Everything (2019).

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Nichols, Mike (b. Michaael Igor Peschkowsky)

(1931–  ) stage/film director, writer, comedian; born in Berlin, Germany. Brought to the U.S.A. as a child to escape the Nazis, he emerged out of the cross-fertilizing of the university and the improvised theater of Chicago in the 1950s; he first came to national attention with An Evening with Mike Nichols and Elaine May (1960), with its wry spoofs of everyday and unusual relationships. He went on to direct numerous stage plays—including Barefoot In the Park (1963), and The Odd Couple (1965)—and films, including The Graduate, which won an Oscar as the year's best in 1967. In later years he earned a reputation as a "doctor" who was often brought in to rescue stage or movie productions in trouble.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
References in periodicals archive ?
(Back row) Ron Baldwin, Eric Nichols, Mike O'Hara, Keith Walkden, Keith Redding and Andrew Gray.
Wirral District Football Association Sunday Amateur Cup Finalists Saddle Club (Tom Hodson (2), Kevin Morgans, Chris Aldcroft, Marc Askew, Jonty Sowery, Alex Nichols, Mike Watkins, Adrian Mercer, Carl Ygaratua and Vinny Hall) registered an 11-0 win at Saughall to stay in pole position.