Mike Nichols adds AFI Life Achievement Award to crowded mantle
Director Mike Nichols will be feted by the American Film Institute next summer with a life achievement award. Nichols is the only one of the 10 winners of the entertainment awards grand slam -- Oscar, Emmy, Tony and Grammy -- to be honored by the AFI.
Nichols won a Grammy with then-partner Elaine May for the comedy album "An Evening with Mike Nichols and Elaine May" in 1961, the same year the duo split up the act. Nichols turned to directing and in 1964 won the first of his record five Tony Awards for his staging of the Neil Simon comedy "Barefoot in the Park."
Nichols won three more Tonys for directing Simon's plays -- 1965, "The Odd Couple" (as well as "Luv"); 1968, "Plaza Suite"; and 1972, "The Prisoner of Second Avenue" -- and then another for directing Tom Stoppard's "The Real Thing" in 1984. While Nichols was part of the producing team that shared in the best musical Tony for "Annie" in 1977, he did not win his first Tony for directing a tuner until "Spamalot" in 2005, which also took the top prize.
Mike Nichols earned an Oscar nomination for directing his first film -- "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" -- in 1966 (he lost to Fred Zinnemann, who helmed best pic winner "A Man for All Seasons"). The following year Nichols won the Academy Award for his direction of the box office smash "The Graduate." He contended again in 1983 for "Silkwood" (losing to James L. Brooks who directed best pic winner "Terms of Endearment") and in 1988 for "Working Girl" (Barry Levinson won for helming best pic champ "Rain Man").
Mike Nichols first competed at the Emmy Awards in 1977 as a producer of best drama series nominee "Family" -- the show lost to "Upstairs, Downstairs," which won the third of its three trophies in this race. Nichols became a grand slam champ in 2001 when he won Emmys for both producing and directing his first telefilm, "Wit." He took home two more Emmys in 2004 for his helming and producing of the miniseries "Angels in America."
Photo: Presenter Matthew Broderick and grand slam winner Mike Nichols with his directing Tony for "Spamalot" in 2005. Credit: CBS