Clay Aiken: Remembering Mike Nichols

Celebrated director, Mike Nichols, died on Wednesday in Manhattan. He was 83.  James Goldston, the president of ABC News, announced his death. Mr. Nichols was married to the ABC broadcaster Diane Sawyer.

Photo by Tony Cenicola – The New York Times

An accomplished performer and renowned stage director, Mike Nichols is among an elite few who have been awarded all of the major American entertainment awards: a Grammy, four Emmys, nine Tonys, and an Oscar. His other honors include an AFI Life Achievement Award in 2010, the Kennedy Honors in 2003, a National Medal of Arts in 2001 and a Lincoln Center Gala Tribute in 1999.

A child war refugee, Nichols immigrated with his family to the United States to escape the Nazis.  He worked his way through college at the University of Chicago, where he decided to become an actor.

Mike Nichols was the director of Spamalot at the Shubert Theater in New York.  He took a chance and cast Clay Aiken in the musical as the timid Sir Robin.  Mr. Nichols said of Clay:

Clay is amazing, beyond that glorious voice,” said director Mike Nichols. “Turns out he is an excellent comic actor and a master of character. People are going to be surprised by his wide-ranging talent, since the first impression is of great country charm and a singer to remember. This guy is not only a star; he is a lot more. We’re lucky to get him for ‘Spamalot’!”

Clay wrote the following tweet on Thursday morning.

The best of all I’ve gotten to do was the blessing of working with Mike Nichols. Heaven now has one of the most brilliant, funniest angels.

Many words have been used to describe Mike Nichols; urbane, witty, exuberantly versatile, humane.  But above all, Mike Nichols has won the admiration and respect from people who care about theater, movies, laughter, and most important, life!

To Mike’s family and close friends:

Clay Aiken News Network is an unofficial fansite. We are not affiliated in any way with Clay Aiken or his management. This website was made by fans for fans and makes no impression or impersonation of the official site, which can be found under the domain clayaiken.com.

Comments

  1. My sincerest sympathy goes to Mr. Nichols family and friends. Especially his lovely wife, Diane. He sounds like such an amazing man, and I will be forever thankful for him giving Clay the opportunity to be on Broadway. He spoke so highly of Clay, and knew his potential. I will always remember the "Spamalot" days of 2008.

  2. Revisited some of the classic Mike Nichols/Elaine May skits on Youtube – brilliant improvisations. Everyone who ever worked with Mike recognized not only his genius, but his good heart. He was a mentor and inspiration to many, including Clay, and we have a lot to thank him for, especially for bringing Clay's comedic talent into a world spotlight. Mike to wait until he was 54 to find his soul mate, but he and Diane remained obviously deeply in love throughout their long marriage. Heartfelt sympathy to Diane and their family. Lights on Broadway should dim for a good long time in honor of the great Mike Nichols, who leaves a deep void in the entertainment world. Thanks for bringing over this tribute and reminding us once again of his generous appraisal of Clay's enormous comedic talent.

    • Well said, Susie! I can't improve on your words or sentiments, so I'll just say "I second that"…

  3. What an amazing man Mike Nichols was! He will be missed not only by the entertainment community, but by those of us who appreciated his humor, his love of wife Diane Sawyer and enticing Clay to join the cast of Spamalot on Broadway. He lived life to the fullest.

  4. My deepest condolences to Mr. Nichols’ family and especially to his beautiful wife, Diane. The showbiz world has lost a great man. RIP Mr. Nichols.

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