Mike Nichols Poster

Trivia (48)

Back in Berlin, Germany, Mike's father was part of a young intellectual circle that included Russian immigrants such as Vladimir Nabokov's sister and Boris Pasternak's parents.

Fled from Berlin, Nazi Germany with his family in 1939.

One of the Directors Guild of America's annual Honorees in 2000.

Is one of the only 12 people who are an EGOT, which means that he won at least one of all of the four major entertainment awards: Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. The other ones in chronological order are Richard Rodgers, Barbra Streisand, Helen Hayes, Rita Moreno, Liza Minnelli, John Gielgud, Audrey Hepburn, Marvin Hamlisch, Jonathan Tunick, Mel Brooks and Whoopi Goldberg. Barbra Streisand, however, won a Special Tony Award, not a competitive one, and Liza Minnelli won a Special Grammy.

One of 5 recipients of the 2003 Kennedy Center Honors; other recipients were James Brown, Carol Burnett, Loretta Lynn and Itzhak Perlman.

Lost much of his body hair in his early teen years due to a bad batch of whooping cough vaccine.

Biography in: John Wakeman, editor. "World Film Directors, Volume Two, 1945-1985". Pages 704-710. New York: The H.W. Wilson Company, 1988.

Directed Postcards from the Edge (1990), which was written by Carrie Fisher and based on her relationship with her real-life mother, Debbie Reynolds. He later directed Closer (2004), with featured Fisher's on-screen Star Wars mother, Natalie Portman.

Directed 17 different actors in Oscar-nominated performances:Elizabeth Taylor, Sandy Dennis,Richard Burton, George Segal,Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft,Katharine Ross, Ann-Margret, Meryl Streep,Cher, Melanie Griffith, Sigourney Weaver,Joan Cusack, Kathy Bates, Natalie Portman, Clive Owen, and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Taylor and Dennis won Oscars for their performances in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966).

According to Jack Nicholson's April 1972 Playboy Magazine interview, Nichols asked Nicholson and other cast members not to smoke marijuana while filming Carnal Knowledge (1971) on location in Vancouver, British Columbia, where cannabis was easily available. Nichols thought that it dulled an actor's performance.

Worked at the Howard Johnson's restaurant in New York's Times Square when he was 17 years old.

Father of Daisy Nichols (born in 1964), Max Nichols (born in 1974) and Jenny Nichols (born in 1977).

From the early 1960s until his death, he was a well-known figure among Arabian Horse fans - as a breeder of over 400 registered Arabians, including owning and breeding many US National Champion horses.

Received the first straight $1,000,000 director's salary for Catch-22 (1970). When percentages were figured in, Nichols was the first director to earn $1,000,000, combination salary and percentage of net or gross, from a single film, for The Graduate (1967).

He was awarded the American National Medal of the Arts in 2001 by the National Endowment of the Arts in Washington D.C.

Two of his films are on the American Film Institute's 100 Most Inspiring Movies of All time. They are Working Girl (1988) at #87 and Silkwood (1983) at #66.

Was interested in directing First Blood (1982) with Dustin Hoffman as John Rambo.

Attended the University of Chicago where he became close friends with fellow student Susan Sontag (then Susan Rosenblatt).

Became a naturalized US citizen in 1944.

Formed a comedy team with Elaine May, appearing in nightclubs, on radio and television and most notably at President Jimmy Carter's inauguration gala.

Taught occasionally at The New Actor's Workship in New York City.

Son, Max Nichols, is married to ESPN reporter Rachel Nichols.

When he won his Oscar as Best Director for The Graduate (1967), the statuette was presented to him by actress Leslie Caron.

Recovering from heart bypass surgery in New York hospital [July 17, 2008].

Was the last person to have won a best director Oscar prior to 1972 still living as of January 2009.

In April 2009, Nichols told The New York Times that when he came to the U.S. from Germany (in 1939, at age 7), he could speak only two English sentences, which were, "I do not speak English" and "Please, do not kiss me.".

He is one of 9 directors to have won the Golden Globe, Director's Guild, BAFTA, and Oscar for the same movie, all for The Graduate (1967). The other directors to have achieved this are Milos Forman for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), Richard Attenborough for Gandhi (1982), Oliver Stone for Platoon (1986), Steven Spielberg for Schindler's List (1993), Ang Lee for Brokeback Mountain (2005), Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire (2008), Alfonso Cuarón for Gravity (2013), and Alejandro G. Iñárritu for The Revenant (2015).

Through the television series Faces of America with Henry Louis Gates Jr. (2010), he learned that he was a distant relative of actor Meryl Streep. A few years later on a different Gates show, Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (2012), he also found out that he was related to Albert Einstein.

Mike Nichols was the original choice to direct the 1976 film The Last Tycoon (1976). He left the project because of creative differences with actor Robert De Niro.

Was a member of the Democratic Party.

Was at one point going to direct The Public Eye (1972). See the trivia page for the film for more information.

Recipient of the Producers Guild of America's Visionary Award.

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 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.

Won more Tony Awards for Best Direction of a Play than any other individual. His won for "Barefoot in the Park" (1964); "Luv and The Odd Couple" (1965); "Plaza Suite" (1968); "The Prisoner of Second Avenue" (1972); "The Real Thing" (1984); and "Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman" (2012). He also won best direction of a musical for "Monty Python's Spamalot" (2005); and as producer for "Annie" (1977) and "The Real Thing" (1984).

Like Steve Martin, Paul Simon, and Lorne Michaels, Nichols has had his portrait painted by Eric Fischl.

Director of hit Broadway musical 'Monty Python's Spamalot' ("lovingly ripped off from Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975).") [February 2005]

Won a Tony Award for directing. [June 2005]

Was told as a child that he was a cousin of Albert Einstein, and although he never quite believed it, he repeated it to friends as he was growing up. While doing Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (2012) he found out that it was true. They would have been 3rd or 4th cousins several times removed.

Six of his nine Tony Awards were for Best Direction of a Play, a record. He won for "Barefoot in the Park" (1964); "Luv and The Odd Couple" (1965); "Plaza Suite" (1968); "The Prisoner of Second Avenue" (1972); "The Real Thing" (1984); and "Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman" (2012). He also won once for Best Direction of a Musical, "Monty Python's Spamalot" (2005); and twice for producing, "Annie" (1977) and "The Real Thing" (1984). He was also nominated seven additional times for Direction of a Play or Direction of a Musical: musical "The Apple Tree" (1967); "Uncle Vanya" (1974); "Comedians" (1977); "Streamers" (1977); "The Gin Game" (1978, also as producer); and further as producer of "The Play What I Wrote" (2003) and "Whoopi, The 20th Anniversary Show (2005, Special Theatrical Events).

He considered Diane Sawyer to be the love of his life.

In an interview conducted shortly before his death, he admitted that he considered his adaptation of Angels in America (2003) to be the crowning achievement of his career.

His favorite films included A Place in the Sun (1951), Persona (1966) and 8½ (1963).

He was nominated for a 1977 Antoinette Perry (Tony) Award for Best Director of a Play for "Streamers" on Broadway in New York City.

He was nominated for a 1978 Antoinette Perry (Tony) Award for Best Director of a Play for "The Gin Game" on Broadway in New York City.

Presented both Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep their AFI Life Achievement Awards.

He directed three Oscar Best Picture nominees: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), The Graduate (1967) and Working Girl (1988). He was also nominated for Best Director for each film, winning for The Graduate.

Richard Burton, who in his private diaries is frequently scathing about colleagues, writes glowingly about Nichols: professionally, he thought that Nichols was one of only three directors who brought out "something in me as an actor which I didn't know was there", and on a personal level thought him and Noël Coward the only "men of talent" whose company he actually enjoyed ("instinctively and without effort and un-maliciously witty").

He has directed two films that have been selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) and The Graduate (1967). He has also appeared in one film that is in the registry: King: A Filmed Record... Montgomery to Memphis (1970).