One of the great directors of our time, Mike Nichols, has passed away at the age of 83. The news was announced in a statement from James Goldston, News President of ABC where Nichols’ wife, Diane Sawyer, was news anchor.
The filmmaker’s works include such masterpieces as Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and Working Girl, but he will best be remembered for the 1967 hit The Graduate, which, besides raising the pulses of many a teenage boy, put a little-known actor by the name of Dustin Hoffman on the road to superstardom.
As expected, the tributes have been flooding in. Tom Hanks, star of Nichol’s last film Charlie Wilson’s War, said: “”‘Forward. We must always move forward. Otherwise what will become of us?’ said Mike Nichols, who changed the lives of those who knew him, who loved him, who will miss him so.”
Playwright Tom Stoppard once said of Nichols: “He is a giver. He’s good at comfort and joy. He’s good at improving the shining hour and brightening the dark one, and, of course, he’s superlative fun… To me he is the best of America.” When you also take into account the fact that he is one of an elite band of twelve to have an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony to his name, you begin to realise how big a hole he leaves behind.
Nichols talents were not just limited to the screen. In fact, it was after switching from the music business to the stage when he was first exposed to directing, making his Broadway debut with Barefoot in the Park starring Robert Redford. So it came to pass in 1964, a mere two years after success at the Grammy Awards, that he bagged the first of nine Tonys. It was also a case of beginner’s luck as recently as 2005, when he walked away with what proved to be his last Tony for his work on Spamalot, his first venture into musicals.
A natural, you might say. Mike Nichols, we salute you.