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Director Mike Nichols

The great Mike Nichols—famed director of “The Graduate,” “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” “The Birdcage” and more—on bringing Harold Pinter to the stage.

This April 1, 2013 file photo shows director Mike Nichols at the "Lucky Guy" opening night in New York. Nichols is getting his hands dirty in Harold Pinter's "Betrayal," a play about a love triangle and the pain of loss that stars real-life couple Rachel Weisz and Daniel Craig. (AP)

This April 1, 2013 file photo shows director Mike Nichols at the “Lucky Guy” opening night in New York. Nichols is getting his hands dirty in Harold Pinter’s “Betrayal,” a play about a love triangle and the pain of loss that stars real-life couple Rachel Weisz and Daniel Craig. (AP)

Super director Mike Nichols is as big as they come for the span of a great American directing career.  Stage and big screen.  Classics and work that just keeps coming.

He directed Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”  Directed “The Graduate.”  “Silkwood.”  “Heartburn.”  “Working Girl.”  “Spamalot.”  “The Bird Cage.”  “Primary Colors.”  “Angels in America.”  “Charlie Wilson’s War.”

Last year he revived “Death of a Salesman” on Broadway.  Now, Harold Pinter’s “Betrayal,” with Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz.

This hour, On Point:  the great Mike Nichols, and “Betrayal.”

- Tom Ashbrook


Mike Nichols, multiple-award-winning film and stage director. His films include “The Graduate,” “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,” “Working Girl,” and “Closer.” On stage, he’s directed the original productions of “Barefoot in the Park,” “The Odd Couple,” and “Spamalot.” His production of Harold Pinter’s “Betrayal” opens next month.

From Tom’s Reading List

Associated Press: ‘The most interesting problem in the theater’ – Mike Nichols returns to adultery in ‘Betrayal’ – It’s only 3 p.m. but master director Mike Nichols warns that he’s been through a lot already. ‘I’ll be a little slow,’ he tells a visitor to his rehearsal room at Lincoln Center, where he is readying his next Broadway play. His assistants have been shooed away and he’s given the actors the afternoon off.”

The New York Times: Two’s Company, Three’s a Show – “Mr. Nichols recalls working with the newlywed Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor in 1966 on the first movie he directed, ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’ They were a ‘giant worldwide circus,’ he says fondly, with ‘absolute freedom about using their relationship in the work.’ This is the reverse,’ he says of Mr. Craig and Ms. Weisz. ‘They are completely private. What they have in common is a kind of grace, an adroitness with people. It’s very rare.’”

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  • Jim

    man, i love the Graduate.. even to this day… it is one of the best movies… and i was not bornt in that era.

    • brettearle

      What was your favorite moment?

      • Jim

        many of them.. but the one that stands out is when Elaine and Benjamin went to the bus elated and then… simply died out without saying another word. That is one of the best endings i have ever seen.

        • brettearle

          And, if you recall or do research, the ending was `speculated about’ a great deal.

          The ending WAS intriguing or at least somewhat intriguing.

          In a droll way, the funniest part for me, was a minor sequence, when Norman Fell, the guesthouse landlord, suspected Benjamin of being an “outside agitator”.

          • disqus_fw2Bu1dEsd


          • brettearle

            Easily one of the most memorable words, spoken, in 20th century Film.

  • hennorama

    Mike Nichols sounds a great deal like Paul Newman.

    • brettearle

      How so?

      The older voice, when they both got older?

    • brettearle

      I think Hennorama’s voice sounds like Oscar Levant, Robin Williams, a prime researcher for FactCheck.org, and Randall McMurphy in OFOTCN.

      • hennorama

        brettearle –

        praise unearned thy words be
        nowhere ye and flattery

        Thank you for your very kind words. The comparisons are undeserved, but the sentiment is appreciated.

        • brettearle

          I was trying to make you feel so self-conscious that it would give you writer’s block.

          • hennorama

            blocks ahead blocks behind
            blocks nowhere you shall find
            brett be nimble brett be quick
            hennorama’s ne’er afflict’d

          • brettearle

            Awwwww Shucks….

            And, here, I thought it was the next best thing to tricking you into spelling your name backwards….amaronneh

            ….so that you could go back to your own Dimension, where you belong.

            After all, you know what Bing Crosby said about Sinatra, don’t you?

          • hennorama

            brettearle – I don’t know your specific reference, but I do recall the famous advice Bing publicly proffered to Frank:

            -Don’t neglect your fan mail
            -Hire someone to handle your business affairs
            -Always be yourself (this was of course before the phrase “let your freak flag fly” came into the vernacular, but It’s amusing to think of that idiom in Crosby’s voice)

            Maybe you’re thinking of the rumor that Bing advised Frank to change the original lyrics to ‘My Way.’ Frank had been singing this:

            “I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain
            I’ve lived a life that’s full
            I traveled each and ev’ry highway
            And more, much more than this, I did it my way
            Regrets, I’ve had a few
            But then again, two new dimensions…”

            Bing thought that didn’t make sense, and supposedly suggested a change. The rest, as they say, isn’t history.

            BTW – the reverse of my moniker always reminds me of the pharaoh Amenhotep for some reason, but I digress.

            Thanks for your response.

          • brettearle

            Imagine now, I am not jokin’,
            Had this crooner stayed in crass Hoboken!…

            “I’ll state my case…without much Fla…a…k;
            “I ran that Clan, my…own….Rat Pack;

            “I’ve lived a life….from fabled
            “I was the King of real Lost Wages;

            “And though I had those deep blue eyes;
            “when my discs were on the rise:

            “My voice for you had much more soared:
            For I, WAS, Chair-man….of….. my…. Board;

            My fling with Mia? I’m sure we’ll pardon her
            But not, the same, for Ava Gardner:

            Cause, to my head, I took a gun
            And said to self, “Self, you’re done.”

            But please recall, it was My Way….
            I always had the clout to say:

            “My glory came like Heaven’s Manna
            I could mete out orders to Giancana!

          • brettearle


          • brettearle


  • allen 2saint

    Man is a straight up genius.

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