Having begun his career doing comedy in collaboration with Elaine May, Nichols transitioned into one of the top stage and film directors in the ’60s, a career that brought us some of the most memorable film classics, stage productions and stage-to-screen adaptations.
After directing a number of hit Broadway productions including the original production of Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple” in 1965, Nichols transitioned to television with the 1967 film adaptation of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? which received 13 Oscar nominations, winning in 5 categories. That was followed by a true classic in 1968’s The Graduate starring a young Dustin Hoffman, which received 7 Oscar nominations with Nichols winning his first and only Oscar for his direction. That was followed by equally influential and controversial ’70s films Catch-22 and Carnal Knowledge. The ’80s brought more Academy Award accolades for Silkwood, starring Meryl Streep and Cher, and Working Girl, starring Melanie Griffith.
Nichols continued to work regularly, directing films, stage plays and musicals, with some of the high points being the HBO mini-series “Angels in America” (itself based on an acclaimed stage play) for which Nichols won two Emmys, directing the popular musical “Spamalot,” for which he won a Tony as he did for directing the 2012 Broadway revival of “Death of a Salesman,” starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Andrew Garfield.
Nichols’ final film was 2007’s Charlie Wilson’s War, starring Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and Philip Seymour Hoffman, who received accolades and awards for his supporting performance.
Nichols, the husband of ABC News Anchor Diane Sawyer, was one of those rare humans who had won multiple Tony and Emmy awards, as well as a single Grammy (way back in 1961 for a comedy album with May) and a single Academy Award for directing The Graduate with three other nominations in that same category.
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