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'Graduate' director Mike Nichols dead at 83

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Mike Nichols
Everett Collection

Mike Nichols, the Oscar-winning director of such films as The GraduateWorking Girl, and The Birdcage, has died at the age of 83. 

ABC News President James Goldston announced the death of Nichols, who was married to ABC anchor Diane Sawyer, in a note to ABC News staff this morning. “No one was more passionate about his craft than Mike,” Goldston wrote. Nichols died Wednesday night from cardiac arrest, Good Morning America reported.

Nichols’s work garnered him the coveted EGOT—four Emmys, a Grammy, an Oscar, and eight Tony Awards. His first major award came in 1961, when he and Elaine May won the Grammy for Best Comedy Performance for their album An Evening With Mike Nichols And Elaine May. Nichols won an Oscar in 1967 for directing The Graduate.

Nichols, who was born in Germany in 1931, reminisced to EW about his career in 2012. “I remember everything about getting on the boat in Germany in 1939,” Nichols said. ”I was 7, my brother was 3, and my father was already in New York setting up his practice as a doctor. German Jews couldn’t leave the country, but we had Russian papers. We had somehow miraculously walked through the flames and landed on West 70th Street. At the time, I almost felt guilty. My father was waiting for us on the dock, and the first thing I saw was a kosher deli and in the neon sign were Hebrew letters. I said to my dad, ‘Is that allowed?’ And he said, ‘Here, it is.’ Unbelievable luck. Undeserved luck. Life-shaming luck.”

Nichols had been planning to reunite with Meryl Streep on an HBO production of Master Class at the time of his death. The two legendary artists had previously collaborated with HBO for the Emmy-winning Angels in America.