So sad. Mike Nichols, the Oscar-winning director of ‘The Graduate’ and husband of Diane Sawyer, passed away due to cardiac arrest on Nov. 19. He was 83.
Mike Nichols, a true film visionary, has died. The German director, who helmed films like Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and The Graduate, tragically passed away from cardiac arrest on Nov. 19. Mike had been married to his beloved wife Diane Sawyer, 68, since 1988. He will be missed.
Mike Nichols Dead
Mike died suddenly on Nov. 19. His death was announced by ABC News President James Goldston.
HollywoodLife.com obtained his statement concerning Mike’s death:
I am writing with the very sad news that Diane’s husband, the incomparable Mike Nichols, passed away suddenly on Wednesday evening. He was 83.
In a triumphant career that spanned over six decades, Mike created some of the most iconic works of American film, television and theater—an astonishing canon ranging from The Graduate, Working Girl, and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolff to Closer, Charlie Wilson’s War, Annie, Spamalot, The Birdcage, and Angels in America. He was a true visionary, 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.
No one was more passionate about his craft than Mike. He had recently been immersed in a new project for HBO to adapt “Master Class,” Terrence McNally’s Tony Award-winning play about opera legend Maria Callas. The project reunited him with Meryl Streep, one of his most frequent collaborators. She once said of Mike, “no explanation of our world could be complete and no account or image of it so rich, if we didn’t have you,” in hailing him as one of the essential artists of our time.
One of the world’s greatest playwrights, Tom Stoppard, said, “He is a giver. He’s good at comfort and joy. 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.”
Mike had a sparkling wit and a brilliant mind. Beloved by so many in film, television and Broadway, there was no greater joy in his life than his family, and of course our own Diane Sawyer. A true and beautiful love story, Mike and Diane were married for 26 years. He leaves behind three children—Daisy, Max and Jenny—and four wonderful grandchildren.
I know many of you will want to share your condolences with Diane. The family will hold a small, private service this week, and a memorial will be held at a later date. Until then, please join me in keeping Diane, Mike’s children, grandchildren and their families in your thoughts.
Mike found his calling in directing on both the stage and the screen. He directed Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Working Girl and The Graduate. He would win the Oscar for the classic Dustin Hoffman film in 1968. Mike also directed the two-part miniseries Angels in America in 2003.
He won eight Tony Awards over the course of his career. He won his last Tony for his Broadway revival of Death of a Salesman in 2012.
Mike also helped launch Whoopi Goldberg’s career.
Mike came to the United States at just 7 years old, when his family escaped from Nazi Germany. Even though he was studying medicine, he started to pursue theater while attending the University of Chicago in the 1950s. Mike would end up joining a comedy troupe and became partners with Elaine May. The dynamic duo gained national notoriety together.
He was married to Margo Callas and Annabel Davis-Goff before he met Diane. He married the ABC News anchor in 1988.
Mike is survived by Diane and his three children from previous marriages.
Be sure to watch one of the greatest scenes in cinematic history, which was directed by Mike. Here’s a scene from The Graduate:
Our thoughts go out to Mike’s family and friends during this difficult time.
— Avery Thompson