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Graduate Director Mike Nichols Dies at 83

Legendary director Mike Nichols has died at 83, ABC News reports.

Sadie Gennis

Legendary director Mike Nichols has died at 83, ABC News reports.

ABC News President James Goldston announced Nichols' death Thursday morning. "He was a true visionary, winning the highest honors in the arts for his work as a director, writer, producer and comic and was one of a tiny few to win the EGOT-an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony in his lifetime," Goldston said in a statement. "No one was more passionate about his craft than Mike."

 See other celebrities we've lost this year

A prolific director and producer of stage and screen with a sharp comic edge, Nichols first began pursuing a career in show business while studying medicine in the 1950s, when he joined a Chicago comedy troupe and met performer Elaine May. Together, the pair became a comedy duo known across the country.

Nichols then transitioned into directing and helmed such hits as Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Working Girl, Silkwood, Heartburn, Catch-22, Postcards from the Edge, The Birdcage, Primary Colors, Closer and The Graduate, for which he won the Best Director Oscar in 1968. His last film was 2007's Charlie Wilson's War.

Nichols won nine Tony Awards in his career, including a record six for Best Director of a Play. His Broadway hits include Barefoot in the ParkThe Odd Couple, AnnieThe Real ThingHurlyburlySpamalot and the 2012 revival of Death of a Salesman, for which he won his final Tony.  Nichols also help launched Whoopi Goldberg's career, producing the then-unknown comedian's one-woman Broadway show in 1984.

His television work includes the HBO film Wit, based on the Pulitzer-winning play, and the seminal HBO miniseries Angels in America about the AIDS crisis. He won directing Emmys for both.

One of only 12 people to achieve an EGOT, Nichols has also received an AFI Life Achievement Award, the Kennedy Centers Honor and the National Medal of Arts.

Before his death, Nichols was working on adapting Master Class, Terrance McNally's play about opera star Maria Callas, with his frequent collaborator Meryl Streep, for HBO.

Nichols is survived by his wife, Diane Sawyer, children Daisy, Max and Jenny, and four grandchildren.