A legendary director who helmed classic film after classic film, including one of the most revered movies of the 1960s, has died. The Associated Press reports that Mike Nichols, who won an Oscar as best director on the 1967 classic “The Graduate,” died Wednesday evening at 83.
The cause of death was cardiac arrest, an ABC spokesperson said, according to The New York Times.
Nichols’ death was confirmed today by ABC News President James Goldston. Nichols was married to ABC’s Diane Sawyer.
Nichols was responsible for a string of acclaimed feature films, and also received accolades for his work in television. A Golden Globe winner and a multiple Emmy winner, he was nominated for Oscars for best director four times, including for “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” (1966), “Silkwood” (1983) and “Working Girl” (1988).
On television, he was acclaimed both for his work in series TV — including sharing in an Emmy nomination for outstanding drama series as executive producer on “Family” in 1977 — and for his work in TV movies and miniseries. He won two Emmys for outstanding direction — in 2001 for “Wit” and in 2004 for “Angels in America” — with “Wit” also winning for outstanding made for TV movie and “Angels in America” winning for outstanding miniseries.
Nichols also directed the feature films “Catch-22” (1970), “Carnal Knowledge” (1971), “Biloxi Blues” (1988), “Postcards From the Edge” (1990), “The Birdcage” (1996), “Primary Colors” (1998) and “Closer” (2004), and produced “The Remains of the Day” (1993). He worked extensively on Broadway, winning nine Tonys.
During his 50-year career, Nichols “managed to be both an insider and outsider, an occasional White House guest and friend to countless celebrities who was as likely to satirize the elite as he was to mingle with them. A former stand-up performer who began his career in a groundbreaking comedy duo with Elaine May and whose work brought him an Academy Award, a Grammy and multiple Tony and Emmy honors, Nichols had a remarkable gift for mixing edgy humor and dusky drama,” the AP reports.
In an email, ABC’s Goldston wrote: “No one was more passionate than Mike.”
Nichols said he liked stories about real lives, and the humor that comes out in even the bleakest situations. “I have never understood people dividing things into dramas and comedies,” he told the AP in 2004. “There are more laughs in ‘Hamlet’ than many Broadway comedies.”