Mike Nichols, the Oscar-winning director of The Graduate, passed away suddenly Wednesday evening. He was 83.
His death was announced this morning by ABC News President James Goldston in a staff memo, as Nicholas had been married to ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer since 1988.
“He was a true visionary,” Goldston wrote, “winning the highest honors in the arts for his work as a director, writer, producer and comic and was one of a tiny few to win the EGOT — an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony.” In fact, Nichols is one of just 12 to do so.
Perhaps best known for such films as Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Silkwood, Working Girl, The Bird Cage and the aforementioned The Graduate, Nichols was also an acclaimed Broadway director, with credits that include Barefoot in the Park, The Odd Couple, Death of a Salesman and Annie. He won six Tony Awards for direction, more than anyone else.
Nichols also adapted Tony Kushner’s play Angels in America as a 2003 HBO miniseries, for which he earned an Emmy. He was working an another HBO project, an adaptation of Terrence McNally’s Master Class, at the time of his death.
“He is a giver. He’s good at comfort and joy,” playwright Tom Stoppard said in the ABC announcement. “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.”
In addition to Sawyer, Nicholas is survived by three children and four grandchildren. The family plans a small, private service this week, with a memorial to be held later.
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