Hollywood is mourning the loss of famed director Mike Nichols, who died suddenly on Wednesday. Nichols was married to ABC News Anchor Diane Sawyer since 1988. The couple had no children, but Nichols who was married previously has adult children from those marriages. ABC News President James Goldston announced the director’s death via a news statement. Sawyer retired earlier this year, after a distinguished career that spanned more then five decades. Goldston said “He was a true visionary, winning the highest honors in the arts for his work as a director, writer, producer, comic, and was one of the few to win an Emmy, a Grammy, Oscar and Tony in his lifetime. No one was more passionate about his craft than Mike.” Nichols was Jewish and born in Germany. His parents fled Nazi occupied Germany to escape persecution and emigrated to the United States in 1938. Nichols was born Mikhail Igor Peschkowsky. Before he found fame as a director, he got his feet wet in the entertainment arena as a comic, with Second City in Chicago in the 1950’s.
Sawyer was Nichols’ fourth wife, he has three children. A daughter Daisy from his second wife Margo Callas, and Max and Jenny from his third wife Annabel Davis. His career as a director started in 1961 and won him many awards and accolades. Actor Robin Williams who died earlier this year worked with Nichols in the film ‘Birdcage’. During an interview with Charlie Rose, Williams commented on Nichols in 2006 ” He was a great comedy director. He directed by basically saying this works that doesn’t work, it was a real gift for me, getting to work with him.” Nichols won an Oscar for his work as a director of the 1967 film, ‘The Graduate’ starring Anne Bancroft and Dustin Hoffman. He directed other great films including ‘Working Girl’, ‘Silkwood’, ‘Carnal Knowledge’, ‘Closer’, ‘Charlie Wilson’s War’,’Whose Afraid of Virginia Wolfe’.
His films earned a total of 42 Oscar nominations and 7 wins. Nichols met his forth Wife Diane Sawyer,67, at a Concorde Lounge in Paris, she was traveling with her mother. Sawyer was the first female correspondent on ’60 Minutes’. Sawyer said she knew when she first saw Nichols that her life would be forever changed. When the two met, Nichols was going through the final stages of his divorce from his third wife. He was instantly taken with Sawyer, who is originally from Kentucky as is a former President Nixon intern. When the two met, Nichols was quick to admit, that it was a low point for him. He was in the middle of a failed 3rd divorce, his health was not the greatest, he was recovering from minor heart surgery, that was responsible for his addiction to the drug ‘Halicon’ for a sleep disorder he had.” He said he quit the habit, and meeting Sawyer gave him a new lease on life. He said his life began at the age of 54, when he met her. He died of a heat attack at the Manhattan apartment he shared with Sawyer. A private service is being planned by the family.