Mike Nichols has been one of the America’s leading directors for more than 30 years. One of only twelve winners of all the major American entertainment awards (Oscar, Grammy, Emmy and Tony), Nichols’s productions focus on the absurdities of modern life as revealed in personal relationships. Though his career began in improvisational comedy, Nichols went on to direct a series of commercially and critically successful Broadway plays, many written by Neil Simon. His first film Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), was followed by The Graduate (1967), a landmark film about the generational conflicts of 1960s for which he received an Academy Award for best director. Other notable films include Catch-22 (1970), a macabre look at warfare; Working Girl (1988); Postcards from the Edge (1990); Wolf (1994); The Birdcage (1996); and Closer (2004). Nichols received Emmy Awards for his work on the made-for-television adaptations of Wit (2001) and Angels in America (2003).
Mike was born Michael Igor Peschkowsky in Berlin, Germany in 1931 to Jewish parents, Paul and Brigitte Peschkowsky. In April 1938, as the Nazis were arresting Jews in Berlin, seven-year-old Michael and his three-year-old brother Robert were sent alone to America to meet up with their father (who had fled months earlier). Mike’s mother eventually joined the family, escaping through Italy in 1940. The Nichols family tree is filled with illustrious and accomplished individuals. His grandfather was one of the leading theorists on anarchism in the early 20th century and a cousin on his mother’s side was none other than Albert Einstein.