Friday, November 21, 2014
Mike Nichols, film, theatre and television director, producer and comedian, died yesterday at the age of 83. He is mostly being remembered as a celebrated director and one of a very few who won an Oscar, Tony, Emmy, and Grammy.
From 1961 to this year, he was widely acclaimed for his more than 20 successful films and more than 20 successful Broadway shows, but our recollections of him are mostly of his appearances on television shows in the 1950s with his comedy partner Elaine May.
The comedy skits of Nichols and May were never slapstick, but they were clever pieces of social satire.
Born in Berlin in 1931 as Mikhail Igor Peschkowsky, Nichols attended a segregated school for Jewish children. His father, a doctor, fled the Nazis by moving the family to New York City when Nichols was still a child. May was born in 1932 in Philadelphia, the daughter of the director, writer, and principal actor of a traveling Jewish theatrical company. She caught the thespian bug early, appearing on stage in the roles of little boys.
In 2012 we posted one of their funniest skits, a phone call between Nichols as the son and May as his mother. Just click on the line above to see it again.
Today we're posting another of their classics, The $65 Funeral, a skit they performed on the Jack Paar show. As an extended tribute, we'll be posting a few more Nichols and May routines in the coming days.
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