Born Michael Igor Peschkowsky on Nov.
6, 1931, in Berlin, Mike Nichols' family fled
Nazi Germany when he was 7 years old. Settling in America, he recalled to the
AP in 1996 that at the time, he could say only two things in English: "I
don't speak English" and "Please don't kiss me."
Nichols fell in love with the stage at
15 when he attended "A Streetcar Named Desire" starring Marlon Brando
in 1947. "It was so shocking. It was so alive. It was so real," he
Studying acting in New York and
Chicago, he teamed up with Elaine May at the Compass Players comic troupe (a
precursor to Second City). Their improvisational rapport led to the acclaimed stage show, "An Evening With Mike Nichols and Elaine
May" (1960), and to the Grammy Award-winning comedy recording.