Film Historian Mark Harris Offers "Mike Nichols: A Life"

Feb 18, 2021

Our guest is the writer and film historian Mark Harris, whose newest book, which he tells us about, is a biography of Mike Nichols (1931-2014). Born Mikhail Igor Peschkowsky in Berlin, the young Nichols, along with his brother and his parents, escaped the Nazis in 1939 by relocating to the United States. Nichols went on to have a long, remarkably creative career in show business, thriving as a film and theater director, actor, producer, and comedian. As a director, he was known and celebrated for helping his actors deliver particularly strong performances. As was noted of this book by Dwight Garner in The New York Times: "[A] crisp new biography.... [Harris has] a gift for scene-setting. He's at his best in 'Mike Nichols: A Life' when he takes you inside a production. His chapters on the making of three films in particular -- 'The Graduate,' 'Silkwood,' and 'Angels in America' -- are miraculous: shrewd, tight, intimate, and funny. You sense he could turn each one into a book.... [Nichols] was a man in perpetual motion, and Harris chases him with patience, clarity, and care."