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Mike Nichols – director of such beloved films as The Graduate, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and The Birdcage – passed away last night away at the age of 83.

Nichols leaves behind three children, as well as his wife of 26 years – iconic television journalist Diane Sawyer.

Born Mikhail Igor Peschkowsky in Berlin in 1931. Nichols’ family fled to America when the Nazis began arresting Jews when he was just eight years old.

Al Matthews in Aliens

Nichols first made a name for himself as one half of the comedy duo Nichols and May. Shortly thereafter, he became one of the most in-demand theater directors on Broadway.

In 1966, Time magazine published a piece praising Nichols’ talent and charisma. The article prompted Warner Bros. to hire Nichols for the film adaptation of Edward Albee’s play Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, thus kicking off one of the most successful careers behind the camera in the history of Hollywood.


Never content to look back on his accomplishments, Nichols remained active right up until his death.

In the 2000s, he directed such critically acclaimed works as Closer, Charlie Wilson’s War, and the Emmy-winning HBO miniseries Angels in America.

The 2010s saw Nichols working as a contributing blogger for the Huffington Post and collaborating on an unfinished film project with J.J. Abrams.

Nichols’ death was reportedly sudden, and his family as not yet spoken publicly about his passing.