Mike Nichols: American Masters

Air date: 01/29/2016

THIRTEEN’s American Masters Launches 30th Anniversary Season with First Documentary about Legendary Director Mike Nichols Premiering January 29, 2016 on PBS

 

Directed by Elaine May, featuring new interviews with Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, Dustin Hoffman, Alec Baldwin, Paul Simon and others

 

Winner of an Oscar, a Grammy, four Emmys, nine Tonys, three BAFTAs and many other awards, director, actor, writer, producer and comedian Mike Nichols (November 6, 1931 – November 19, 2014) was an artistic trailblazer. As the legendary comedy duo Nichols and May, Nichols and his partner Elaine May revolutionized comedy in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Now, May has directed the first documentary about her former partner, Mike Nichols: American Masters, premiering Friday, January 29, 2016, at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings) to launch the 30th anniversary season of THIRTEEN’s American Masters series.

With charm and wit, Nichols discusses his life and 50-year career as a performer and director. Mike Nichols: American Masters features new interviews with his friends and colleagues, including Meryl Streep, Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Dustin Hoffman, Alec Baldwin, Paul Simon, Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane, Bob Balaban, Tony Kushner, Neil Simon, Frank Langella, James L. Brooks and many others, conducted by film, TV and theater producer Julian Schlossberg (Bullets Over Broadway, American Masters — Nichols & May: Take Two, American Masters: The Lives of Lillian Hellman). Schlossberg also conducted an exclusive interview with Nichols for the film. The documentary features insights and highlights from Nichols’ acclaimed films, including The Graduate, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Catch 22, Silkwood, Biloxi Blues, Working Girl, Angels In America and Charlie Wilson’s War, as well as his theatrical productions Barefoot in the Park, Luv and The Odd Couple.

“Producing this special was a labor of love. Working with Elaine May was a nightmare,” says Schlossberg, who has produced many of May’s plays, including Relatively Speaking, Power Plays and Death Defying Acts.

“Julian Schlossberg was very nice and he really seemed to like me,” says May.

“Elaine and Julian can joke about each other because they’ve known each other 40 years, and their work together has been so successful. What seems to unite them in both humor and friendship is a deep love and respect for Mike Nichols and his legacy,” says Michael Kantor, executive producer of American Masters. “They are the perfect team for this documentary.”

After Mike Nichols, the series’ 30th anniversary season continues with new documentaries about music legends B.B. King (February 12), Carole King (February 19), Fats Domino (February 26), Loretta Lynn (March 4), Janis Joplin (May 3) and The Highwaymen (May 27).

Launched in 1986, American Masters has earned 28 Emmy Awards — including 10 for Outstanding Non-Fiction Series since 1999 and five for Outstanding Non-Fiction Special — 12 Peabodys, an Oscar, three Grammys, two Producers Guild Awards and many other honors. The series is a production of THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC for WNET and also seen on the WORLD channel. To take American Masters beyond the television broadcast and further explore the themes, stories and personalities of masters past and present, the series’ companion website (http://pbs.org/americanmasters) offers streaming video of select films, interviews, photos, outtakes, essays and more.

Mike Nichols: American Masters is a production of Jumer Productions Inc., Witnesses Documentary Productions LLC, and Bennington Productions Inc., in association with THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC’s American Masters for WNET. Elaine May is director. Julian Schlossberg is producer. Roy Furman is executive producer. Michael Kantor is executive producer for American Masters.

Funding for American Masters is provided by The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Rosalind P. Walter, The Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation, Rhoda Herrick, Michael & Helen Schaffer Foundation, Vital Projects Fund, Rolf and Elizabeth Rosenthal, Lenore Hecht Foundation, The André and Elizabeth Kertész Foundation, The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, Ellen and James S. Marcus, Judith and Burton Resnick, and public television viewers. Additional funding for Mike Nichols: American Masters is provided by Harold and Ruth Newman, Chase Mishkin, Daryl and Steven Roth Foundation, Andrew Tobias, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

 

 

About WNET

As New York’s flagship public media provider and the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to more than 5 million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend, Charlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings available on air and online. Pioneers in educational programming, WNET has created such groundbreaking series as Get the Math, Oh Noah! and Cyberchase and provides tools for educators that bring compelling content to life in the classroom and at home. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Reel 13, NJTV News with Mary Alice Williams and MetroFocus, the multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. WNET is also a leader in connecting with viewers on emerging platforms, including the THIRTEEN Explore App where users can stream PBS content for free.

 

 

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Photos
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Mike Nichols (right) and his mother (left). Credit: Courtesy of the Nichols family

Mike Nichols. Credit: Courtesy of the Nichols family

Mike Nichols, circa college. Credit: Getty Images

(l to r) Elaine May and Mike Nichols on stage. Credit: Getty Images

(l to r) Elaine May and Mike Nichols on stage. Credit: Everett Collection

(l to r) Elaine May and Mike Nichols cracking up during recording. Credit: Look Magazine 6.21.60

Mike Nichols. Credit: Magnum

Mike Nichols on the set of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf?” Credit: Bob Willoughby – MPTV

Mike Nichols. Credit: Everett Collection

Mike Nichols with his Academy Award for Best Director for "The Graduate" in 1968. Credit: Everett Collection

Mike Nichols (left) acting in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf?" Credit: Martha Swope - New York Public Library

Mike Nichols (2nd from left) acting in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf?" Credit: Martha Swope - New York Public Library

Mike Nichols on location, circa “Charlie Wilson’s War.” Credit: Everett Collection

Mike Nichols. Credit: Everett Collection

Meryl Streep and "Mike Nichols: American Masters" producer Julian Schlossberg. Photo courtesy of Jumer Productions, Inc.

Steven Spielberg and "Mike Nichols: American Masters" producer Julian Schlossberg. Photo courtesy of Jumer Productions, Inc.

"Mike Nichols: American Masters" director Elaine May. As the legendary comedy duo Nichols and May, Mike Nichols and Elaine May revolutionized comedy in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Photo courtesy of Jumer Productions, Inc.

Dustin Hoffman and "Mike Nichols: American Masters" producer Julian Schlossberg. Credit: Photo courtesy of Jumer Productions, Inc.