He was in love with the world


His closest friends this week marveled at the depth of the impression he made on all whose lives he touched. “He’d make you feel you were better than you believed—smarter, funnier, more alive…” A friend noted something else: his unbounded excitement about life, his ability to retain a freshness, an innocence. “It was always possible that this was going to be the best dumpling, the best conversation, this play was going to have a moment in it we’d never forget. . . . He was in love with the world. He was in love with Egg McMuffins ! He took such joy in what was. Maybe the Buddhists have it wrong, maybe the great livers are the ones who love things, too—that book, that painting, the McDonald’s breakfast.

A thing that distinguished Mike professionally is that he thought he had to know things. He came up in a generation that thought to know the theater you have to know the theater. They read. He read, all his life. He knew the canon—his Chekhov, Ibsen and Molière, his Shakespeare, Tennessee Williams and Tom Stoppard…

…To make great art you have to know great art. And so his learned, highly cultivated mind. He dropped out of the University of Chicago and sought to teach himself through great books and smart people. Great writers and directors have to start as great readers or it won’t work, nothing needed from the past will be brought into the future, and art will become thinner, less deep, less meaningful and so, amazingly, less fun, less moving and true.

~ Peggy Noonan, on Mike Nichols

Read entire opinion article here: The Pleasure of His Company

Mike Nichols, 83, died on November 19, 2014. He was a German-born American film and theatre director, producer, actor and comedian. He won the Academy Award for Best Director for the film The Graduate. His other films include Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?Catch-22Carnal KnowledgeSilkwoodWorking GirlThe BirdcageCloserCharlie Wilson’s War (his final picture), and the TV mini-series Angels in America. He also staged the original theatrical productions of The Apple TreeBarefoot in the ParkLuvThe Odd Couple and Spamalot. As well as winning an Academy Award, Nichols won a Grammy Award, four Emmy Awards and nine Tony Awards. He was one of a small group of people who have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Award.

Image Credit: jewishcurrents.org


  1. He made one of my favorite movies ever, ‘the graduate’. What a fantastic and loving approach to life he had, embracing it fully. He will be missed by many.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. His sketches with Elaine May will forever be etched in my mind – my parents laughing so hard, the punch lines would often get lost. His curiousity was evident in his approach to his work – it was so alive, so nuanced and the hand so deft regardless of the topic matter (even ‘Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Wolf’ had an element of disbelief…What a talent.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. To be a great leader one must know a great leader. Add humbleness to ones knowledge, to learn and hone from ones mistakes to become the greatest leader which will allow the next to become even greater. So often we want to walk in only our shoes which short changes our life. David – another great post.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. He was a man for all seasons, within and outside the theatre, a rare talent for life and the creative spirit.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Linnea Priest says:

    He was so funny! They played his routines with Elaine May on “The Midnight Special” on WFMT in Chicago. I remember the routine where he tells his mother he knows what he wants to be, and they build up to the punchline after a bunch of stuff about work, sacrifice, and expense….you think it will be doctor, but it’s “a registered nurse”. I heard this at least 45 years ago and the memory still makes me laugh.


  6. He left us with a lot of wonderful memories. Great talent does not last forever but what a gift when it is here.

    Liked by 1 person

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