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Film director and comedy innovator Mike Nichols was born Mikhail Igor Peschkowsky in Berlin on this date in 1931. At the age of 7 he was sent to the U.S. along with his 3-year-old brother to rendezvous with their father, who had already fled Germany; their mother would catch up in 1940. At age 4, he became completely hairless because of the auto-immune condition, alopecia. Nichols began to study acting at the University of Chicago, where he became close to Elaine May. As a comic duo between 1958 and 1961, NIchols and May became nationally known and adored. Nichols’ films include The Graduate, which won the 1968 Academy Award for Best Director, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Catch-22, Carnal Knowledge, Silkwood, Working Girl, The Birdcage, Closer, and Charlie Wilson’s War. Nichols also directed the original theatrical productions of Barefoot in the Park, Luv, The Odd Couple, and Spamalot. He’s one of only twelve individuals (some sources say fourteen) to have won all four major entertainment arts awards: the Emmy, Oscar, Tony, and Grammy. To see him performing with the great Elaine May, look below.
“Never let people see what you want, because they will not let you have it. Never let anybody see what you feel, because it gives them too much power. You’re probably better off not showing weakness whenever you can avoid it, because they’ll go for you.” —Mike Nichols