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Golden Globe Winning Director Mike Nichols Dies at 83

Golden Globe-winning director Mike Nichols has died at the age of 83. Nichols was nominated for six Golden Globes, winning in 1968 for The Graduate and in 1997 for The Birdcage. Born Michael Igor Peschkowsky in Berlin in 1931, Nichols got his start as a stage performer, and in the 1950s co-founded the Chicago-based comedy troupe Second City, which honed comedians including John Belushi and Bill Murray. As recounted in the book “Faces of America,” a young Nichols arrived in the United States knowing only two phrases: “I don’t speak English” and “Please, don’t kiss me.” The family changed its last name to Nichols after settling in New York City, where the family patriarch established a medical practice. His directorial debut was Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf? in 1967 which brought him his first Golden Globe nomination. A year later he had another critically acclaimed film The Graduate which catapulted Dustin Hoffman into stardom and earned Nichols his first Golden Globe win. A string of highly successful movies followed over the decades, from Catch-22 and Carnal Knowledge, Heartburn, Postcards from the Edge to his final picture Charlie Wilson’s War in 2007. Nichols also staged the TV mini-series Angels in America and theatrical productions of Barefoot in the Park, Luv, The Odd Couple, and Spamalot. Despite his stellar reputation as a director Nichols never forgot his roots in comedy. While paying tribute to Nichols during his 2003 Kennedy Center Honors, Meryl Streep and Candace Bergen read Nichols’ “Five Rules for Filmmaking”: 1: The careful application of terror is an important form of communication. 2: Anything worth fighting for is worth fighting dirty for. 3: There’s absolutely no substitute for a genuine lack of preparation. 4: If you think there’s good in everybody, you haven’t met everybody. 5: Friends may come and go, but enemies will certainly become studio heads. Nichols was ailing in recent years which led to a heart bypass operation in 2008. He died on November 19, 2014, of a heart attack. Nichols who was married four times is survived by his wife, TV news anchor Diane Sawyers, and his children, Daisy, Max, and Jenny Nichols.