Mike Nichols' Tony has plenty of company on the mantel

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 3: (AFP OUT) Mike Nichols and Diane Sawyer arrive for the formal Artist's Dinner honoring the recipients of the 2011 Kennedy Center Honors hosted by United States Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at the U.S. Department of State on December 3, 2011 in Washington, DC. President Barack Obama will host the five recipients of the 34th Kennedy Center Honors at a White House reception Sunday before attending the evening gala at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The 2011 honorees are actress Meryl Streep, singer Neil Diamond, actress Barbara Cook, musician Yo-Yo Ma, and musician Sonny Rollins..(Photo by Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images) Pool

Mike Nichols arrives for the formal Artist's Dinner honoring the recipients of the 2011 Kennedy Center Honors on Dec. 3, 2011, in Washington.
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(CBS News) It was deja vu for director Mike Nichols when he took the stage Sunday night to accept the Tony Award for directing the revival of Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman."

"I've been here before," the 80-year old stage and screen director said. Audience members thought he was alluding to his eight previous Tonys and his many other awards.

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But, no. Nichols was referring to the stage of the Beacon Theater, which he said was his old neighborhood movie theater and the site of his childhood victory at a pie-eating contest.

"That was nice," he said, then paused, grinned and added, "but this is nicer."

On winning, Nichols said Miller's 63-year-old play gets truer as time goes by and has a special meaning for actors. "There's not a person in this theater that doesn't know what it is to be a salesman - to be out there in the blue riding on a smile and a shoeshine," he said. "As we know, a salesman has got to dream. It goes with the territory."

Nichols is one of those rare people who have won a Tony, Grammy, Oscar and Emmy.

He won his first Tony in 1963 for directing Neil Simon's "Barefoot in the Park." He also won Tonys for directing Simon's "The Odd Couple"(1965), Simon's "Plaza Suite" (1968), "The Prisoner of Second Avenue" (1971), the musical "Annie" (1977), Tom Stoppard's "The Real Thing" (1984) which netted him two Tonys, and "Spamalot" (2005).

Nichols won his Oscar in 1968 for "The Graduare." He won two Emmys for directing the HBO miniseries "Angels in America" in 2003 and the made-for-TV movie "Wit" in 2001. Nichols, who started his career as a comedian, won a Grammy for best comedy recording with comedy partner Elaine May in 1962.

The German-born Nichols is married to TV anchor Diane Sawyer, his fourth wife. He has three children by his previous wives.

  • CBS News Staff

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