Mike Nichols was one of my favorite directors. In college, I wrote several term papers about him and his films. He was incredibly talented, told fantastic stories, and he’s responsible for a few of my favorite movies of all time.
As a film major, I watched movies constantly for class and for fun (sometimes movies you have to watch for class are definitely not ones you would watch on your own time). Mike Nichols’ films stand out above them all, and there are two in particular that I think of often: Working Girl and The Birdcage. And then as most people know, he directed The Graduate, a classic that hugely impacted filmmaking in both its content and filming techniques.
Most recently I saw the play he directed, Death of a Salesman, which of course was intense and powerful and stunning. His talents are obvious, as he is one of the few people to earn an Oscar, a Grammy, a Tony, and an Emmy. I could go on and on and on about how much this director had an impact on film and my own film interests.
To learn more about Nichols, here’s a great piece from the New York Times about him. As his comic partner Elaine May said best, “So he’s witty, he’s brilliant, he’s articulate, he’s on time, he’s prepared, and he writes. But is he perfect? He knows you can’t really be liked or loved if you’re perfect. You have to have just enough flaws. And he does. Just the right, perfect flaws to be absolutely endearing.”