Emmy® Nominee “Mike Nichols: American Master” Is Available Today On DVD And Blu-Ray

August 16, 2016 — Elaine May, the one-time partner, long-time friend and frequent collaborator of Mike Nichols, said of him, “So he’s witty, he’s brilliant, he’s articulate, he’s on time, he’s prepared and he writes. But is he perfect? He knows you can’t really be liked or loved if you’re perfect. You have to have just enough flaws. And he does. Just the right, perfect flaws to be absolutely endearing.”

Gracious praise. But descriptions of Mike Nichols tend to be fulsome. His combination of talent and success is practically unique in the world of entertainment.

After all, o
nly two people have ever scored a PEGOT — winning a Peabody®, Emmy®, Grammy®, Oscar® and Tony Award®. Those two people are Barbra Streisand and Mike Nichols.

His professional life started out with nearly immediate success. He began as a performer, doing improvisational comedy and he had the extreme good fortune to team up with the brilliant Elaine May. Their comedy routines were immensely popular, quickly landing them on Broadway in a hit show. The very first Nichols and May album won them a Grammy award®. They disbanded as a comedy duo in 1961, but people still describe them as one of the greatest comedy teams of all time.

When Nichols left performing for directing, his first Broadway show was Barefoot in the Park (with a then relatively unknown Robert Redford). The next play was LUV, with Alan Arkin, Eli Wallach, and Anne Jackson, followed by The Odd Couple. All were major hits and he won a Tony Award® as Best Director for all three. In all, he would win nine Tonys and would helm plays and musicals as disparate as Death of a Salesman, Annie, Plaza Suite, The Gin Game, Uncle Vanya and Spamalot.

The first film he directed was Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. It became the number 1 box office hit of 1966, was nominated for 13 Academy Awards® and won 5. Defying the premise of sophomore slump, he followed that with The Graduate, with a then-unknown Dustin Hoffman. No one expected the film to become the top-grossing film of 1967, with 7 Oscar® nominations; Nichols won for Best Director. At this point people were calling him a second Orson Welles, but in fact, he had more directorial successes than Welles, including Carnal Knowledge, Silkwood, Working Girl, The Birdcage, Wolf, Primary Colors, Angels in America and Charlie Wilson’s War.

He was also a three-time BAFTA Award-winner and was honored with a Lincoln Center Gala Tribute, the National Medal of  the Arts, the Kennedy Center Honors in 2003 and the AFI Life Achievement Award.

Mike Nichols: American Master is aptly named. Few artists were more in command of their craft, few had more talent. Elaine May has directed this fascinating look at an extraordinary life. The film includes appearances by Steven Spielberg, Meryl Streep, Dustin Hoffman, Tom Hanks, Nathan Lane, Alec Baldwin, Matthew Broderick, James Brooks, Frank Langella and Paul Simon. It has been nominated for an Emmy® Award as part of the acclaimed PBS American Masters series.

Mike Nichols: American Master is available in DVD and Blu-Ray. The DVD and Blu-Ray versions will contain footage that was not included in the PBS-broadcast version, including interviews with Bob Balaban, James L. Brooks, Tommy Tune and Robert Osborne.

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