Mike Nichols (born Mikhail Igor Peschkowsky; November 6, 1931 – November 19, 2014) was a German-born American film and theatre director, producer, actor and comedian. He began his career in the 1950s with the improv troupe The Compass Players, predecessor of the Second City in Chicago, and as one half of the comedy duo Nichols and May, along with Elaine May. May was also in the Compass. In 1968 he won the Academy Award for Best Director for the film The Graduate. His other films include Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Catch-22, Carnal Knowledge, Silkwood, Working Girl, The Birdcage, Closer, Charlie Wilson's War (his final picture), and the TV mini-series Angels in America. He also staged the original theatrical productions of The Apple Tree, Barefoot in the Park, Luv, The Odd Couple and Spamalot.