The weekend preceding Thanksgiving ended sadly with the Manhattan funeral services of renowned director, Mike Nichols, his wife Diane Sawyer tearfuly came out for the first time since her husband Mike Nichols’ death on Thursday to attend a church service.
Mike Nichols a former Chicago native and one of the founders of the Compass Players, which has been a proving ground for comic talent for more than four decades the original predecessor to the Chicago-based comedy troupe Second City. As a performer with Elaine May in the late ’50s and early ’60s, he took comedy into places it had seldom gone before, bringing an improvisational comedic edge to improve simplistic stand-up joke-telling to taking the spotlight to sketch comedy involving familiar modern day situations.
The grieving Mrs.Mike Nichols, walked into the Unitarian Church of All Souls in New York,with her stepson Max Nichols, from her home on Saturday. Meryl Streep, Natalie Portman and Jon Hamm arrived at the news anchor’s Upper Eastside penthouse for a memorial service Whoopi Goldberg and Gayle King were among first guests to show up.
Other mourners, included Caroline Kennedy,Candace Bergin, Ellen Barkin and Diane Sawyers fellow news anchors Lesley Stahl and Cynthia McFadden. Later Meryl Streep, Natalie Portman and Jon Hamm arrived at the news anchor’s Upper Eastside penthouse for a memorial service .
Emma Stone was at the wake between her two performances in the Broadway hit Cabaret. Along with her actor boyfriend Andrew Garfield led her by her hand to a waiting limo. SNL TV executive Lorne Michaels and Pulitzer prize winning playwright Tony Kushner were among the last to arrive on Saturday afternoon.
All to pay their respects to the late Nichols, who was also an outstanding theater director. At one point in 1967, he had directed four plays running on Broadway, including two by Neil Simon, “Barefoot in the Park” and “The Odd Couple”. Later spear hitting Tom Stoppard’s “The Real Thing”in 1984 ,“Monty Python’s Spamalot” in 2005 and a 2012 revival of “Death of a Salesman” starring the late Philip Seymour Hoffman. Mike was a go-to director for stage works until the end of his life,
But Mike’s probably best known for his movies, including the groundbreaking “The Graduate” in 1967,the Oscar-nominated “Silkwood” in 1983 and box-office smash “The Birdcage” in 1996. Mike Nichols was a “actor’s director,” one able to pull strong performances from his ensemble and capable of seeing things others didn’t.
Dustin Hoffman 5 years ago, remembered Nichols’ ability at an American Film Institute tribute. Thanking Nichols for casting him a short, 29-year-old, unknown actor with a prominent nose to play Benjamin Braddock,” Hoffman said. “God bless you, sir. You’re more than a great director.You’re a real artist down to your toes, because you’re insanely courageous.”
But thats who he was Mike Nichols born Michael Igor Peschkowsky in Berlin in 1931. He attended college in Chicago and later headed back to New York. He studied acting under famed teacher Lee Strasberg. He returned to Chicago, where he started up a comedy troupe and met Elaine May. The pair would go on to form a partnership that would later take Broadway and Hollywood by storm.
Mike Nichols a shing light that will shine for an eternity….oh except for the marquee lights Broadway theaters dimmed Friday night in memory of Mike Nichols, a nine-time Tony Award winner…….
Mike Nichols May You R*I*P!