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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Buddy Beaverhausen Remembers Mike Nichols

Another major loss for the entertainment industry and theater- and movie-goers as Mike Nichols has left the house at age 83. The legendary Broadway and motion picture director died suddenly of currently undisclosed causes.

I briefly exchanged words with Nichols and his wife, Diane Sawyer, and even pressed the flesh one night back in the '90s. I was with a friend at a small theater in the East Village to see the British comedy-cum-drag group, Bloolips. (I wonder whatever happened to them. Guess I was their groupie; even saw them on the fringe in London a couple of times.) Anyhow, Mike and Diane were seated in the row directly behind us in the cramped, little theater. So, I turned around, whispered hello and mentioned I admired them from afar, and they thanked me and shook hands. I think I was a little surprised at the time that they came to see Bloolips, but it only made me realize they were cooler than I had imagined.

I basically grew up with Nichols. I heard -- and loved -- the comedy albums of Nichols and (Elaine) May we had at home. I saw The Graduate in the local NJ movie house the year I graduated high school. I followed and enjoyed most of his films, including Carnal Knowledge, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Silkwood, Wolf, HBO's Angels in America and The Birdcage (that reunited him with Elaine May who adapted the screenplay from the French flick, La Cage au Folles).

Nichols basically discovered Whoopi Goldberg and brought her downtown act to Broadway. With his improv background from his Nichols/ May days, he was able to allow a certain amount of performer improvisation in the films he directed,

R.I.P., Mike Nichols. Your theatrical and motion picture genius will be missed.

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