Director Mike Nichols, known for films such as “The Graduate”, died suddenly of a heart attack on Wednesday. He was 83.
Nichols is survived by his wife of 25 years, news anchor Diane Sawyer.
Nichols’ movie career spanned six decades, winning Emmys, Grammys, Oscars, and numerous Tony Awards.
Nichols was married for more than 25 years to TV news anchor Diane Sawyer who he described as bringing him “ultimate happiness”.
The death was confirmed by ABC News President James Goldston on Thursday.
Goldston said the family were holding a small private service this week with a memorial to be scheduled for a later date.
Goldston confirmed his death with a statement, writing, “He was a true visionary, winning the highest honors in the arts for his work as a director, writer, producer and comic and was one of a tiny few to win the EGOT – an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony in his lifetime. No one was more passionate than Mike”.
Nichols had been married three times when he met news anchor Diane Sawyer in the late Eighties.
He was 54 and Sawyer, who was at the time a “60 Minutes” correspondent, was 41. They first met in 1986 in a Concorde lounge at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris.
Sawyer said she knew instantly “that my life was changing” and that “he was the center of the dance”.
Mike previously said, “My ultimate happiness began in 1988 when I married Diane. She is the perfect wife”.
Before meeting Sawyer, Nichols was first married to Patricia Scott from 1957 to 1960. He went on to wed Margo Callas from 1963 to 1974 and had one daughter, Daisy Nichols. He then married Annabel Davis-Goff and had two children, Max Nichols and Jenny Nichols.
He is survived by his wife, three children and four grandchildren.
The director was born in Berlin but came to the U.S. as a child to escape the Nazi Germany. His father set up a successful medical practice in New York and the family settled near Central Park.
Nichols started a pre-med program at the University of Chicago but began skipping classes as he became more involved with the theater.
In 1954, he left the University of Chicago for New York City where he was accepted into the Actors Studio to study under Lee Strasberg.
He won an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for Best Director for his 1967 movie “The Graduate” starring Dustin Hoffman.
The director was also nominated for Oscars for “Working Girl”, “The Remains of the Day”, “Silkwood” and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf”?
His last film was 2007’s “Charlie Wilson’s War” which starred Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts.
Celebrities paid tribute to Mike Nichols on social media after hearing the sad news.
Christiane Amanpour: ‘We mourn the loss of a great, great artist, and a good man. Condolences to Diane Sawyer and his family.’
Katie Couric: ‘So sad to learn of the death of Mike Nichols. My heart goes out to Diane, their families & everyone who marveled in his brilliance.’
Mia Farrow: ‘Funniest, smartest, most generous, wisest, kindest of all. Mike Nichols, a truly good man.’
Jeremy Piven: ‘The great Mike Nichols is gone, he gave us so much brilliant work it’s staggering. We were so lucky to have him, his legacy will live on’
Al Roker: ‘Thoughts and prayers to @DianeSawyer on the passing of her husband, legendary actor/producer/director Mike Nichols.’
George Stephanopoulos: ‘Celebrating Mike Nichols-extraordinary funny & wise man- Tom Stoppard said it:“the best of America” Our thoughts w/ @dianesawyer &his family
Josh Elliott: ‘RIP Mike Nichols. ‘Thoughts and prayers are with you, @DianeSawyer, in memory of your beloved’
Scandal star Tony Goldwyn: ‘RIP #MikeNichols What a gigantic loss!!! The greatest of the great’
Click thumbnails for larger pictures