Mike Nichols, the director of iconic films such as “The Graduate” and “Carnal Knowledge,” who died Wednesday night of a heart attack, cut a wide swath through the worlds of television, stage and film. From the 1950s, when he and Elaine May formed comic duo Nichols and May, it seems Nichols did not stop working. And although his earlier, revered work such as “The Graduate” seemed to perfectly reflect a generation’s confusion, embodied in Dustin Hoffman’s star-making performance as Benjamin Braddock, Nichols was still involved in film and theater up to his death.
His 2004 film “Closer” (Jude Law, Natalie Portman, Clive Owen, Julia Roberts) echoed his 1971 film “Carnal Knowledge,” (Jack Nicholson, Candice Bergen, Ann-Margaret, Art Garfunkel) with both films exploring the relationships of two couples.
Nichols’ 2007 political satire “Charlie Wilson’s War,” starring Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and Philip Seymour Hoffman, was based on the true story of Texas congressman Charlie Wilson, who had a position on the United States House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense and covertly worked with Afghan rebels in their war against the Soviets.
Nichols turned Tony Kushner's Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes,” which explored the AIDS crisis, into an HBO miniseries in 2003 that earned him a Golden Globe award and Emmy for Best Miniseries.
In 2012, Nichols staged Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman” starring Hoffman, earning himself a Tony for Best Direction.
The last project Nichols was slated to work on was a coming HBO miniseries “Master Class,” an adaptation of Terrence McNally’s Tony-winning script. It was to star Meryl Streep, who starred in his films "Silkwood," "Postcards From the Edge"and "Heartburn."