Mike Nichols (born November 6, 1931) is a German-born American television, stage and film director, writer, and producer. Nichols is one of only ten people to have won each of the major American entertainment awards: an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Award. In 2001, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts. He received the Life Achievement Award from the American Film Institute in 2010.
Nichols was born Michael Igorevitch Peschkowsky in Berlin, Germany, the son of German Brigitte Landauer and Russian Igor Nicholaievitch Peschkowsky, a physician. His maternal grandparents were anarchist Gustav Landauer and author Hedwig Lachmann. He and his Jewish family moved to the United States to flee the Nazis in 1939. He became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1944 and attended public elementary school in Manhattan (PS 87).
While attending the University of Chicago in the 1950s, he began work in improvisational comedy with the Compass Players, a precursor to The Second City, and later started the long-running Midnight Special folk music program on radio station WFMT.