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June 22, 2021 47 min

Alec’s guest Mark Harris has written a compelling new biography about one of the most celebrated directors of all time, Mike Nichols. Drawn from more than 250 interviews, Mike Nichols: A Life tracks Nichol’s difficult childhood as a German Jewish immigrant growing up in New York City to his college years at the University of Chicago where Nichols found a community of performers, including his life-long collaborator Elaine May. In 1963, Mike Nichols and Elaine May performed more than 300 sold-out comedy shows on Broadway. Nichols then spent decades moving fluidly between directing on Broadway and in Hollywood. His movies include The Graduate, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Silkwood, and Working Girl, and his plays include Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park, Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing, and Monty Python’s Spamalot. Over the course of his lifetime, Mike Nichols’ won every major award in his field and, as Mark Harris movingly chronicles, it took a lifetime for Mike Nichols to learn to be happy. 

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