Mike Nichols died of a heart attack Wednesday night at 83. The prolific director, whose films “The Graduate,”“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” and "Silkwood," to name just a few, secured his place as a Hollywood legend.
His death was announced Thursday morning by ABC News president James Goldston, who called Nichols a "true visionary."
Nichols had the distinction of being one of few people who had won not only and Oscar but also an Emmy, a Grammy and a Tony.
His 1968 film "The Graduate," starring Dustin Hoffmann and Anne Bancroft with music by Simon and Garfunkel, poetically captured that era's cynicism but also its hope, and went on to earn him an Oscar for best director. "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" depicted a decidedly unglamorous portrait of a disintegrating marriage, and Nichols coaxed incredible performances from its married stars, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, who won the Oscar for her performance.
His stage direction for plays including Neil Simon's “Barefoot in the Park” in 1964 and “The Odd Couple” in 1965, and Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman” in 2012 garnered him six Tony Awards -- more than any other stage director.
Playwright Tom Stoppard described Nichols as "a giver...He’s good at improving the shining hour and brightening the dark one, and, of course, he’s superlative fun. ... To me he is the best of America.”
Nichols had been married to ABC anchor Diane Sawyer for over 25 years.