Mike Nichols (born Michael Igor Peschkowsky, November 6, 1931, Berlin, Germany) is an Academy Award winning movie director. While attending the University of Chicago in the 1950s, he began work in improvisational comedy with the Compass Players troupe (a precursor to Second City) and later started the long-running Midnight Special folk music program on radio station WFMT. He teamed up to form a comedy team with Elaine May, with whom he appeared in nightclubs, on radio, released best-selling records, guested on several television programs and had their own show on Broadway before moving on to other pursuits in 1961. May frequently writes or re-writes scripts for Nichols, including The Bird Cage and Primary Colors.
Nichols moved on to Broadway directing, helming such hits as Barefoot in the Park and The Odd Couple. His first major film direction was the adaptation of another play, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, in 1966, for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Directing. His next film, The Graduate, spoke to a disaffected generation and made Dustin Hoffman a star, and gave Nichols his Oscar.
He followed that up with more successes in Catch-22 and Carnal Knowledge, but two failures in the 1970s, The Day of the Dolphin and The Fortune, tarnished his reputation. Since then, he has moved on to more Broadway productions, and executive producing of television programs, including Family.
- 1994 Nominated Best Picture The Remains of the Day (with John Calley and Ismail Merchant)
- 1989 Nominated Best Director Working Girl
- 1984 Nominated Best Director Silkwood
- 1968 Won Best Director The Graduate
- 1967 Nominated Best Director Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf