Mike Nichols, entertainment legend and husband of ABC News Anchor, Diane Sawyer has died at the age of 83. James Goldston, the President of ABC News, announced his passing. Goldston said Nichols was unparalleled in passion for his craft and described him as a “true visionary.”
He was born in Berlin, Germany in 1931. His family fled the country in 1938 when he was seven years old and settled in New York. Years later, in 1944, Nichols became an American citizen and went to college with a desire to become a doctor. However, he abandoned that career choice and dropped out of the University of Chicago in 1954 after developing an interest in theater.
After moving back to New York, Nichols was accepted by the Actors Studio where he studied under the supervision of Lee Strasberg. In 1955, he joined the Compass Players, a comedy group that included, Shelley Berman, Elaine May, Nancy Ponder and Del Close.
In 1958, Nichols and Elaine May teamed up and together, they were a hit quickly becoming best-sellers appearing television and radio shows as well as nightclubs. The dynamic duo went on to open the Broadway show An Evening with Nichols and Elaine May, which ran for more than 300 performances.
In the sixties, he went on to pursue a career as a director, where he continued to excel in the industry. In all, his career in the entertainment business spanned more than 50 years and his steadfast work in both theater and film brought him many accolades for projects as a comedian, writer, director and producer, including eight Tony Awards, the EGOT Emmy, an Oscar and a Grammy. He was popular throughout the industry, so much so that actors eagerly awaited the opportunity to work with him.
Many of his projects both in film and on stage revolved around the same theme, cheating and adultery. Nichols admitted in 2013 that he kept coming back to this theme time and time again because he considered it the “most interesting problem in theater.” However, the entertainment icon explored other topics, which among others included courtship rituals in the film Carnal Knowledge, and gay relationships in the film The Birdcage.
He was dedicated to the entertainment business and continued to work up to the time of his death. His most recent project included an adaption for HBO of Terrence McNally’s Master Class, an award-winning play about the life of opera singer, Maria Callas.
Nichols was married four times, first to Patricia Scott from 1957 to 1960. In 1963, married Margo Callas and the couple had a daughter, Daisy before divorcing in 1974. His third marriage was to Annabel Davis-Goff and they had two children, Max and Jenny before divorcing in 1986. Nichols married current wife, ABC News Anchor Diane Sawyer in 1988. They did not have any children together.
Nichols passed away suddenly on Wednesday, November 19, 2014. Further details surrounding his death have been linked to cardiac arrest according to an ABC representative. He is survived by his wife, Diane Sawyer, three children, Max, Jenny and Daisy and four grandchildren.
By Donna W. Martin