'The Graduate' Director Mike Nichols Has Died

Mike NicholsREUTERS/Mike TheilerTV News anchor Diane Sawyer (R) and her husband director Mike Nichols pose for photographers on the red carpet as they arrive at the U.S. State Department for a gala dinner for the 2011 Kennedy Center Honorees in Washington December 3, 2011.

Diane Sawyer’s husband Mike Nichols, who earned the Oscar for Best Director for “The Graduate,” has died. He was 83.

Nichols’ death was announced in a statement by ABC News President James Goldston.

Here is that memo, in full:

Team —

I am writing with the very sad news that Diane’s husband, the incomparable Mike Nichols, passed away suddenly on Wednesday evening. He was 83.

In a triumphant career that spanned over six decades, Mike created some of the most iconic works of American film, television and theatre — an astonishing canon ranging from The Graduate, Working Girl, and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf to Closer, Charlie Wilson’s War, Annie, Spamalot, The Birdcage, and Angels in America. He was a true visionary, winning the highest honours 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.

No one was more passionate about his craft than Mike. He had recently been immersed in a new project for HBO to adapt “Master Class,” Terrence McNally’s Tony Award-winning play about opera legend Maria Callas. The project reunited him with Meryl Streep, one of his most frequent collaborators. She once said of Mike, “no explanation of our world could be complete and no account or image of it so rich, if we didn’t have you,” in hailing him as one of the essential artists of our time.

One of the world’s greatest playwrights, Tom Stoppard, said, “He is a giver. He’s good at comfort and joy. He’s good at improving the shining hour and brightening the dark one, and, of course, he’s superlative fun…To me he is the best of America.”

Mike had a sparkling wit and a brilliant mind. Beloved by so many in film, television and Broadway, there was no greater joy in his life than his family, and of course our own Diane Sawyer. A true and beautiful love story, Mike and Diane were married for 26 years. He leaves behind three children — Daisy, Max and Jenny — and four wonderful grandchildren.

I know many of you will want to share your condolences with Diane. The family will hold a small, private service this week, and a memorial will be held at a later date. Until then, please join me in keeping Diane, Mike’s children, grandchildren and their families in your thoughts.

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