Mike Nichols, Graduate Director, Dies at 83…

Mike Nichols, who won an Oscar for directing the 1967 film The Graduate, has died aged 83.

The German-born US director was also Oscar nominated for his work on Working Girl, The Remains of the Day, Silkwood and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Nichols was one of only 12 winners of all four major US entertainment awards – an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony.

His last film was 2007′s Charlie Wilson’s War, starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts.

The director was married to ABC News presenter Diane Sawyer – his fourth wife – whom he wed in 1988.

An ABC spokesperson said Nichols died of a cardiac arrest on Wednesday.

ABC News president James Goldston describing him as “a true visionary”, adding: “No one was more passionate about his craft than Mike.”

“In a triumphant career that spanned over six decades, Mike created some of the most iconic works of American film, television and theatre.”

Nichols had been working on an HBO film adaptation of Master Class – the Terrence McNally play about opera star Maria Callas – starring Meryl Streep in the lead role.

The film was to reunite the director with Streep, having previously worked together on 1983′s Silkwood and on stage in a 2001 production of The Seagull.

Nichols began his career in the late 1950s as part of a comedy duo with Elaine May.

The pair released three best-selling records, one of which won the Grammy for best comedy album in 1962.

Switching to directing, he made his Broadway debut with Neil Simon’s Barefoot In The Park, starring Robert Redford. The show was a hit and earned Nichols his first Tony award in 1964.

The following year he picked up Tonys for productions of Simon’s The Odd Couple and Luv.

Moving to the big screen, his first directorial project was 1966′s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. Starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, the film brought Nichols his first Oscar nomination.

A year later saw the director win his first Oscar for directing The Graduate, featuring Dustin Hoffman in what was to be a breakout role.

Nichols continued his success on both the stage and screen for the rest of his career, covering a diverse range of genres.

He once said: “I never understand when people say: ‘Do you do comedy or tragedy?’ I don’t think they’re very much different. They both have to be true, and there isn’t a great play in the world that doesn’t have funny parts to it.

“The whole idea is to reflect life in some way, which means surely you have to have both.”

His other movie successes include an adaptation of Joseph Heller’s cult novel Catch-22, Silkwood, ’80s hit Working Girl, The Birdcage and 1998 political comedy Primary Colors – purportedly a riff on Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign.

He also directed 2004 film Closer, which saw its stars Clive Owen and Natalie Portman nominated for supporting acting Oscars.

His last Oscar nomination was for 1993′s The Remains of the Day, which Nichols produced and was nominated for best picture.

On stage, the director also tried his hand at musicals, winning a Tony in 2005 for his work directing the Monty Python musical Spamalot on Broadway.

He won his ninth Tony in 2012 for his Broadway production of Death of a Salesman, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Andrew Garfield.

On television, Nichols won his first Emmy for the 2001 TV movie Wit, starring Emma Thompson.

He won a second two years later for the HBO miniseries Angels in America, about the Aids crisis. The cast included Thompson, Streep and Al Pacino.

Besides Sawyer, Nichols is survived by three children. ABC said his family have planned a small, private service this week with a memorial to be announced at a later stage.

First Issue of Sathipola Presented to Basil!

Sri Lanka’s first business weekly, ‘Sathipola’ was launched at a ceremony in Colombo with the participation of Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa on Thursday November 20. Senior journalist Nimal Weeratunga is the editor of Sathipola which is being published to empower the rural business community.

Today Sri Lanka has 481 main Sathipolas (weekly fairs) which have been set up as barter centers for products from towns and villages. This trading system has been a part of Sri Lanka’s culture linked to her economy since ancient times. Eighty percent of Sri Lanka’s population live in the rural and plantation areas. A recent study revealed that 90 percent of villagers visit these weekly fairs.
‘Sathipola’ was launched under Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa’s direction at the Mahaweli Centre Auditorium, Colombo, where large number of people, both the clergy and were present. The event was presided over by the Sabaragamuwa University Chancellor, Ven. Prof. Kamburugamuwe Vajira Thera. ‘Sathipola’ Publisher W and W creation house chairman Udaya Walisinghe presented the first issue of the weekly to Minister Rajapaksa.

Addressing those present Media Ministry Secretary Charitha Herath expressed his gratitude to the Sathipola Editorial staff for identifying one problem which hundreds and thousands of self-employed persons faced in not having business information they required in Sinhala. He pointed out that national development means developing the country economically.

‘Sathipola’ Publisher Udaya Walisinghe stressed the necessity of Sathipola fairs not only for bartering products from rural areas but also as a market for products brought from outside thus making it a centre for customers to buy items at reasonable prices.

‘Sathipola’ Editor Nimal Weeratunga said that the launch of the new weekly is the outcome of Minister Rajapaksa’s efforts to modernise Sathipolas at a national level to ensure food security and self-sufficiency in food for all citizens.

Minister Rajapaksa presented Victor Hettigoda Chairman of the Siddhalepa Group of Companies with an award in appreciation of his contributions to the business sector.Several other members of the clergy and laity also spoke.

Happy Birthday Steven Curtis Chapman!

American Christian music singer, producer, and actor who has won five Grammy Awards and 58 Gospel Music Association Dove Awards.

He started singing and playing guitar as a child and spent some time as a pre-med student at Georgetown College in Kentucky before moving to Nashville to pursue a career in music.

He received an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Anderson University on May 7, 2011.

He married Mary Beth Chapman in 1984, and the couple has three biological children and three adopted children.

He is a Christian singer like Michael W. Smith.

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